Wednesday, September 17, 2003
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posted by Julie |
It's real pretty
I found myself having one of those great Internet moments fueled by a woman from Texas on the diet boards yesterday.
She was comforting me over my latest fitness fiasco by reminding me that at I've come a long way, fitness-wise. I should look back and enjoy the view. Relax a little. She hasn't started working out much herself yet, because "Breaking a sweat is just not something we proper southern women like to do."
On the one hand, I was amazed once again by the random kindnesses of people on the Internet. Here she was, just starting out on her fitness quest, comforting me in my pout.
On the other hand, I thought, "Southern shmothern!"
Half of my people come from the South and half from the North, and NONE of us likes to sweat. Well especially not the fat ones.
I didn't like sweating when I was fat because it came all too easily for me. Sweating when you're fat, huffing and puffing when you're fat, trying to sit in small places, climb stairs, try on coats, run across a parking lot, buy an ice cream cone, do so many things that medium people do without even thinking about it, are all embarrassing for morbidly obese folks. These are things that underscore our girth, our breathlessness, our scale.
But nothing compares to beading up with sweat when you're big. Or so I thought, felt, feared. I started working out in a pool, thankful that my sweat couldn't be detected.
We women of a certain age, in particular, can be especially freaky about sweat. My bluestocking relatives preferred for their women to "glow," of course. Well, they very much preferred them not to glow. And if they did, they certainly preferred them not to talk about it, show it, leave any evidence of it whatsoever.
There were all manner of armpit guards and underpinnings in our clothes designed to mask, capture, hide the occurrence of extra moisture so that its effects didn't show up on your person or on your clothes. These things could REALLY make you sweat.
Our girls today don't have perspiration hangups, and don't find sweat to be a barrier to beauty. I don't know what we did right. Probably pass Title 9 or something.
At any rate, with the help of young girls, and with the help of fitness magazines and even, help me, advertising -- the force that catalyzes cultural norms -- I've come to see sweat for what it is: Noble. For what it leads to: Health. For how it's earned: Hard work and hard play.
Sweat is pretty.
Sweat is good.
Sweat is the opposite of death.
And, we really should try to do it. To make some. Every day.
I will admit to you here and now that on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I step dripping from my Pilates clothes into my work clothes, without a shower, to blister to work. I wallow in my own salts all day long. On days when I've had to miss classes, I'll take the stairs two or three times between projects, working up a sweat, a little one. RIGHT IN MY CLOTHES.
So I do (that is, HE does) more laundry. My drycleaning bills have gone up a little. Big deal.
Workout sweat, for the most part, doesn't really smell. Stress sweat smells. Armpit sweat smells. But the stuff that runs down your head and back and chest and tummy and legs during a workout? That doesn't smell. This hard work sweat just dries and stays benign for quite a while. You might feel the salt on your skin. But you might not.
At these times, I lick my lips, catching the taste of salty skin hours later, and smile inwardly, remembering how I nailed my pushups that morning. And I do remember how far I've come. I might catch sight of my reddened face in the company bathroom mirror and see that while I'm a little extra pink, it's far preferable to my old pale, pasty self. I don't hide with it. And I don't go running for cover with every hot flash, either.
I've accommodated regular sweat by wearing less makeup, choosing an easier hairstyle, wearing darker clothes, and primarily, by changing my mind about it.
Embrace the sweat. Love the sweat.
And start sweating, already. Even if you're a lady in the South, East, North, or West.
How Sweat Works
The American Association of University Women on Title 9
Cosmo's Rules on Wearing Sweat Suits
11 days left to support JuJus WALK for the Canadian Diabetes Association in the Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon. Every Little bit helps
Uncomfortable donating online? Here are phone numbers and mailing addresses for the Canadian Diabetes Association
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