15 minutes before heading to the gym, I realize I have no clean gym clothes. I suspect there’s a cache of crops and leggings imbedded in one of two larger, more dense piles of clothes in my closet. But what comes first and most conveniently is a pair of soft, black, cottony American Apparel shorts.
Not designed for athletic pursuits, but I have 15k on deck and these seem comfortable enough. So I suit up and go. Know what happens after rowing for 90 minutes straight in a pair of soft, black, cottony American Apparel shorts? You look like you pissed yourself, friend. You’re soaked head to toe and there is no pretending that sweat doesn’t accumulate in private lady places.
The situation becomes real when the need for caffeine forces me outside before I’m able to adequately air dry. Ugh. But coffee. So like an embarrassed, new-to-her-body school girl, I tie a sweatshirt around my waist and scootch over to Starbucks.
So tell me. With my Instagram feed stuffed full of athletic brands encouraging me, as a woman, to embrace my sweatiness and like, go after it and stuff, why is this sweat still embarrassing? Is it the placement? The amount?
Or is it that part of me wishes my sweat behaved like those Insta-women, with their dewy shoulders and glistening clavicles?
Back home I mention this on a call to adventure correspondent E. Peabody, who put things into perspective with her usual deftness: “Well, yeah. Our bodies don’t know how to sweat sexy!”
We can’t tell sweat to be more convenient for us. If we could, I’d tell my sweat to give me my goddman glistening clavicle already. I would run errands after a workout looking fresh, energized, and totally committed to being strong and stuff.
But that isn’t how it works. Real, honest sweat comes in buckets and doesn’t believe in art direction. And when you’re in it for athletics not aesthetics, it’s time to let all that nonsense go. Live the athletic life and you will sweat like crazy. You’ll also have callouses and blisters and awkward tan lines. And it won’t bother you one bit.
Will I be wearing soft, black, cottony American Apparel shorts to the gym any time soon? Honest answer, no. I embrace the wicking technologies our forefathers have fought for. But I won’t let any amount of Luon fabric wick away my sweat pride. I will look like a hot mess with an incontinence problem BECAUSE I EARNED IT.