I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Ever heard the term “sweater girl”? It’s OK if you haven’t; it hasn’t really been used since the ‘40s. Basically, it means a busty lady who wears tight sweaters--a description for which I qualify. However, I’ve given it a second, less attractive meaning with the ridiculous amount of perspiring I do.
I could be in a setting that everyone else has deemed totally comfortable temperature-wise, and I’ll have sweat beading above my lip (I call it a "sweatstache"). Unless I’m freezing, my scalp is damp. My internal temperature just doesn’t adjust like everyone else’s, and it’s REALLY annoying.
I’ve bought about a dozen colorful folding fans from Pearl River Mart, the Chinese superstore down in Soho, and I keep at least one with me at all times--and I don’t just mean in the summer. When I interviewed for this job in November, I self-consciously whipped one out during my interview with Jane and Emily (who assured me it was fabulous). And I frequently fan myself on the subway, even if it’s snowing above ground.
I get some really weird looks when I fan myself on the train, even when it’s warm (like, everyone-agrees warm). An older woman sat next to me once and shrilly asked, “Are you hot?” No, lady, I’m doing an ancient mating ritual and you’re totally clamjamming me right now--YES, I’M HOT.
Speaking of the subway, I’ve been even sweatier on the train lately because there’s this one cute guy I see almost every day and I’ve been thinking about introducing myself. He’s a tall, impeccably dressed dude with slicked-back hair and an I-don’t-care-if-you-think-I’m-gay-based-on-how-stylish-I-am nonchalance. We stand near each other on the platform and get onto the same car on a regular basis, but I haven’t said anything.
One day, I took a completely different route/train home at a weird time, and there he was in my car! He definitely noticed the coincidence, too, so I totally had an opening, but did I carpe the diem? I did not. I didn’t even smile! (Neither did he, but I chalk it up to the aforementioned nonchalance.)
I’d love to give this guy my number, but the last time I attempted a number hand-off on the train, it didn’t go well. Right before my stop, I motioned with my card to a cute guy. He looked at me like I was giving him an envelope of anthrax.
“What is it?” he said, in the rudest possible tone.
“Just my number,” I said.
He reached for it so slowly that I was sure I was going to have to throw it at him in order to get off the train before the doors closed.
Once I exited, I realized I had sweated all the way through my coat. That’s not just heat sweat. That’s stress sweat. FUN FACT: Stress sweat comes from a totally different gland, and it's full of "sweat food" that causes bacteria to make it smell stinkier. Awesome.
I also realized he was wearing hot pink socks, so I’m thinking maybe he had a girlfriend and threw on her socks that morning. But I digress.
Since then, I’ve seen lots of cute guys on the subway, but I’ve been even shyer about giving any of them my number because of that sour reaction. Also, I don’t want to gain a reputation for being the weird girl on the R train who gives everyone her number.
When Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response became an xoVain sponsor, I have to admit, I took that as a sign to stop being such a coward and give this giving-someone-my-number-on-the-subway thing another try.
I got ready as I usually do, but instead of the antiperspirant I usually put on, I applied Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response, but not before excessively inhaling the “serene citrus scent.” Delightful!
I swear, it has a bit of a psychosomatic effect. I totally felt a little braver with this stuff under my arms.
I walked to the train with my friend Sonny, who not only lives in the building next to mine, she also works in the building next to the XO offices, at the Museum of Sex. She and her girlfriend, Alissa, are two of the coolest, non-cowardly people I know, what with their fancy facial piercings and whatnot, so I made her give me a pep talk.
Despite her words of encouragement, and despite the fact that it was 39 degrees and on the verge of flurrying, I could feel the sweat starting right above my eyebrows. Armpit sweat couldn’t be far behind, right?
As expected, the cute dude was in his normal spot, lookin’ all cute. I could’ve given him my card right then and there, but where Sonny’s company had been encouraging a few blocks ago, I was now embarrassed to have her see me make a move.
I’d previously seen him exit the train just two stops away, so I had to move quickly. I carved out a spot for myself at a pole close to the door he stood against, and Sonny made herself inconspicuous.
Just as we pulled into the stop he usually gets off at, I put my hand in my pocket, where I’d been keeping a solitary card. I held onto it in my palm for just a few seconds, which was long enough to dampen it ever so slightly.
He turned to exit, and I touched him on the arm. When he looked back, I sort of smirked and handed him the card. Unlike pink-sock guy, he sort of smirked back and actually took it just as the doors opened, and he left for his transfer waiting across the platform.
My mission accomplished, Sonny moved a little closer to me, and I asked her the obvious first question: “Do I smell like I have B.O.?”
She assured me I didn’t.
The even bigger test of the Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response came when I got to the office and took off my coat. There, in the armpit of my sheer, sky-blue blouse, was nothing but blouse. No wetness, no whiteness.
In the office full-length mirror, in clear view of everyone, I even double-checked and took a sniff. Serene citrus!
I’ll let you know if I hear from the guy, or if I notice him standing way down on the other end of the platform in an effort to avoid me. But either way, it’s good to know that I won’t sweat more than usual if I decide to give my number to another guy on the train.