Stop Me Please, I'm Speaking Jibberish- 07.19.99

I think that the first time I remember being really conscious about sweat and body odor was when I was about a freshman in high-school (hey, stop laughing). I mean, I always wore deodorant and anti-perspirant, but I didn't really give it a thought until one day my freshman year during physical education class when I thought that I actually smelled myself. Sure, I had made fun of old stinky guys before while out shopping or something, but that day in class, I caught a whif of my own odor and about flipped my lid.

After class, I showered almost as well as I ever had in my life, then slathered on the deodorant like there was no tomorrow. The rest of the day, I was constantly worried about whether other people could smell me, or whether it was going to be something that I'd be made fun of behind my back for. As it turned out, nothing of the sort happened, and after a couple days, I really didn't worry about it. It was possibly out of that one incident, though, that I got somewhat of a complex about perspiration, though. I got to a point where I really hated to sweat, then realized I couldn't control it, so then I really just hated to sweat outside of physical activities.

During summers, air-conditioning was my best friend. If I was dressed anything near decent, a vicious circle began any time that I started to sweat. I'd feel it coming on, then worry about trying to stop from perspiring in my decent clothes, then would become so nervous about it that I'd sweat even more. It was pretty wacky. My junior year, I went so far as to shave off all of my armpit hair (something I do to this day) because I read that it cut down on bacteria and odor in ones armpit.

This cycle continued for the rest of high-school and even into college. I was convinced that I had hyper-active sweat glands (and I think that I probably do) and would be really uncomfortable in situations where I was around a lot of people if it were really warm. It was weird, but it was something that became so engrained in my head that it was hard to do anything differently.

Finally, this summer I think that things are finally starting to change, partially because I'm making a conscious effort to make them do so. One thing I've tried to do is sort of aclimate my body to getting less cool than it's used to. Whereas before, I would run my air conditioner constantly, I've cut back to only using it when absolutely necessary. If I'm sitting around in my apartment by myself, it no longer bothers me if I'm sweating a bit in the clothes I'm wearing (yeah, it used to be an issue).

One thing that I've also really gotten into this summer is using sweat as a cleanser for my body. I haven't read anything on the subject, and I'm not going to start spouting off new age body remedies, but I've found that when I push my body to a point where I'm on the edge of dehydration, the time spent recuperating is almost a high and the next day my body feels not only lighter, but better.

I think that the first time I realized that I enjoyed getting this way, I was out at the club dancing. I had went down with a friend at about 10:30pm and we had started dancing right away. With only a few short breaks for water (I don't want to push it too far and pass out), we danced straight through until 1:15am when the place closed. The place was packed body to body on the dancefloor and the temperature was probably well into the 90's with a high humidity. On the way back to the car, I actually stopped and took off my shirt. Just to be gross, I wrung it out on the ground and got a sizeable puddle. Yeah, nutty.

When I woke up the next day, I felt awesome. Not only did I get some good exercise, but my pores and skin felt as clean as it ever had. This last week, the temperatures have been in the 90's, and so I've went out rollerblading and tried to accomplish the same thing. When I got home each time, I was almost completely drenched and I ingested nearly 2 liters of water within the first 15 minutes of being home. As the night progressed and my body leveled out a bit, I again had the same feeling that I had when I went dancing. My body felt like it had been in a sauna and had a good workout at the same time. Dropping the new age lingo, it was physical harmony.