I’ve never been a particularly sweaty person.
I mean, I’m no delicate flower or anything. Believe you me, I’ve dampened the underside of a bra. I’ve generated an ample amount of flop sweat on a first date. I’ve felt a serious prickling in the pits while
walking up a short flight of stairs working out at the gym as I so often don’t. But for the most part, I haven’t found myself in too many perspiration situations that an extra swipe of deodorant couldn’t resolve.
About a year ago, something in my body changed. Something gross. Something chemical. Something that caused every exertion, no matter how small, to bring forth a sheen of sticky, smelly perspiration. And I’m talking EVERY exertion:
- Running to the mailbox? Drenched in sweat.
- Hauling out the trash? Drenched in sweat.
- Applying tricky eyeliner? Drenched in sweat.
- Sitting on the couch in my underwear while watching daytime television and eating a McRib? Drenched in sweat.
I’m sure you get the idea.
At first I was confused and disgusted by my body’s sudden decision to go from Soft & Dri to Damp & Nasty. I tried everything I possibly could to mitigate this new and clammy state of existence — different deodorants, 100% cotton underwear, sitting motionless for 10 hours on top of an air conditioning vent — but nothing worked with any consistency. The whole situation had me down, out, and on the verge of eating ten more McRibs, when it suddenly came to me:
I was becoming an Oldie.
That’s right. An Oldie. I’ll wager that most of you are already acquainted with the term, but just in case you aren’t, here are a few ways with which to assess whether you’re on your way to becoming one:
- Bending down to pick something off of the floor has become The Most Dreaded Activity of Every Day.
- Your hair is falling out, your arteries are clogging, and your bladder just boarded up the windows, slapped on a ratty fedora, and jumped a cargo train heading West with a hearty “Screw this. I’m over it.”
- Every meal is a traumatic experience of barf-burps, heartburn, and back-door emissions that smell like one or more of the following:
• Wet cat food
• Rotten eggs
• Fermented fish
• Corpse bloat
Also, little-known fact — becoming an Oldie often means a significant spike in perspiration, particularly if you’re overweight, out of shape, or on the brink of menopause. (Overweight? Yup. Out of shape? Oh yeah. Menopause? Check.) What’s worse, there’s not much to be done about it, except maybe shed some of that extra poundage or work on your cardio. And I’m sad to say that both of those solutions are non-starters for me.
My apologies to healthy people everywhere, but “diet” and “exercise” are two concepts that slide off my brain like delicious salted butter off of an ear of corn. So if you’re like me, and getting healthy is NOT in your game plan, I highly recommend going ahead and just embracing your inner Sweaty Betty. Why the hell not? I say have fun with it:
• Pit stains? Tell people that they’re intentional. They’re a fashion statement! They’re all the rage on the Continent.
• Body odor? The way I see it, you’re the one doing people a favor here. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like the smell of a warm, greasy Italian sub.
•Cosmetics melting down your face? Everyone digs the “Receptionist Who Got Drunk and Cried at the Office Christmas Party” look. Trust me. It’ll work if you work it.
• Damp clothing? Damp clothing… or built-in cooling system? I know my answer.
So what are you waiting for? Own your new-found perspiration. Give in to the Damp Side. Get sweatin’ with the Oldies and let that funk flag fly!
An earlier version of this piece was published in October 2014 on humor site Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.
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