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Posts Tagged ‘Sweat is sexy’

Amy Roe, a fellow runner, one I do not know, recently wrote this for the Guardian:

I was ordering coffee when I noticed a well-dressed woman staring at me.

“You look like you just did a class,” she said, giving me the once-over. I had no idea what she meant so I said nothing.

“Or swimming?” she offered, with a tight smile.

Oh, that. I’d just run 12 miles and the hair sticking out from under my hat was wet. It took me a moment to formulate an answer.

“Um, running,” I mumbled finally. “I just … sweat a lot.”

I took the paper cup of drip coffee and hustled past the condiment bar. Screw the half-and-half; I’d drink it black.

Once safely inside my car, I threw off my damp running cap and flipped up the hood of my sweatshirt in embarrassment. I wanted to dive deep into that Lululemon Scuba and never come back up for air.

Eventually the caffeine kicked in and it hit me: I’d been sweat-shamed. Sweat-shaming is when someone points out your sweatiness as a way to signal disapproval.

Now, maybe it’s that as I get older, I get less tolerant of this kind of bullshit.  Perhaps, because I’m a man, I have gone through life sweat-privileged.  Perchance, there really is a thing called “sweat-shaming”…but this, dear Amy, this, you Special Snowflake, was not that.  This was someone making friendly conversation while she, like you, was waiting for her over-priced coffee (mind you, I love my Starbucks…Italian Roast Clover…zing!).

What you did, Ms. Roe, was what we call “Friendly Conversation Shaming”.  Well, that’s not really a thing either, is it?  Maybe you were “Well-dressed Shaming”…”Observation Shaming”?  I digress.

Had she said, “whew!  YOU stink!” or “Ew.  How can you walk around like that.” you might be on to something, but this:

“You look like you just did a class,” she said, giving me the once-over. I had no idea what she meant so I said nothing.

“Or swimming?” she offered, with a tight smile.

Um, no.

Your reaction was more a reflection on how YOU feel about sweat; how you think others feel about sweat.  It has nothing to do with that well-dressed woman.  She was making small talk.  Perhaps, wanting to start an exercise program of her own, she was inspired by you?  Well, you’ve killed that now, haven’t you?  Maybe she liked your $120 hoodie and wanted to know what brand it was?  Speaking of which, why you felt the need to point out that you wanted to bury your head in your Lululemon Scuba, I have no idea.  It screams, “I’m white, I’m wealthy, I’m privileged and Waaaah!”

It’s possible that she simply was trying to make the world a friendlier place by finding a topic you might have in common (maybe she’s loves taking exercise classes).

Roe goes on to write:

If I were to re-imagine the sweat-shaming incident as a music video, it would play out like this: a spotlight comes down, and maybe a disco ball. Baristas dance back-up around me.

“I don’t think you’re ready for this sweaty,” I belt out, to the tune of Bootylicious.

It’s just a fantasy, but it helps me see how I might react differently. I’ve got another long run this weekend and afterward, I’m going to sit down with my coffee, all sweaty and transgressive.

The stigmas surrounding women’s bodies are powerful, but they’re no match for how powerful I feel after running.

Several things – first off, how old are you?  Seriously!  14?  Because that is how old you sound.  Perhaps you need to look in the mirror and sing “I don’t think you’re ready for this sweaty,” to yourself before doing it to random strangers, even if it IS in your own fantasy.  Second, a better response might have been something along the lines of, “yeah, just did 12 miles.  Tired, obviously,” as you point to your hair, “but totally worth it.”  Third, transgressive? Really?  You’re going to sit with your coffee, all sweaty and transgressive?  Nothing like responding to a perceived wrong, and I emphasize perceived, with an actual wrong.  If you are actually really sweaty after a 12 mile run (I know I always am), don’t sit on the chairs at Starbucks…that’s just rude, and again, you’re revealing your own insecurities and immaturity.  Finally, you say that “the stigmas surrounding women’s bodies are powerful, but they’re no match for how powerful I feel after running.”  Your own post contradicts this.  After a long run, I am generally soaked.  I wear that sweat like a goddamned badge.  I do feel powerful after I run, no matter how tired I am.  And if I walk into a Starbucks after a long run, if anything, I am “You’re-Not-Working-Out-As-Hard-As-I-Am-Shaming” everyone in the place.  Crawling into your $120 Lululemon hoodie does not bring “how powerful I feel” to mind.

Get a grip.

Let’s be clear, you say, “Strong may be the new sexy and fit may be the new skinny but sweaty is as gross as ever.”  Wrong.

Sweat. Is. Sexy.

I give you…

Serena...

Serena…

tn-gnp-sp-0812-rousey-pg-014

Ronda…

Alex-Morgan

Alex…

9524926b80919875b847796f03041e86

Lindsey…

3763076286_2a4f7560b7

Gina…and many, many more.

I rest my case.

Projecting your own insecurities onto others does nothing to move society forward.  Assigning “Sweat Shaming” to “You look like you just did a class,” is immature, insecure and most likely, narcissistic.

Own it, Amy.  You are not a Special Snowflake and not every comment is an attempt to “shame” someone.  This post, however, is.

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