We were reminded of our good fortune this past weekend when various semi-strenuous outdoor activities, culminating with a flat-tire changing in our driveway on Sunday at twilight, caused us to soak through three changes of clothes before nightfall.
We’ve long known that sweat---the body’s air conditioner, they call it---is wholesome. A good sweat always leaves us feeling better, more relaxed, and brings out the deeper shades of our baby blues. Having passed most of our days in the vicinity of the 30th parallel, we find nothing offensive or off-putting in sweat. Nowadays---and this may be a symptom of advancing years---we’d rather sweat a little, or a lot, in our sleep than wake up shivering and stiff in icebox-level temps.
According to Tuesday’s New York Times, sweat’s a much, much bigger deal than we, or even Karl Rove, ever imagined:
“It is plain old unglamorous sweat that has made humans what they are today,” writes Nina G. Jablonski in her recent book Skin. “Without plentiful sweat glands keeping us cool with copious** sweat, we would still be clad in the thick hair of ancestors, living largely ape-like lives.”The Times does not report whether Jablonski’s book addresses the sexiness of sweating, as signified in post-war culture most memorably by Patricia Neal’s lubricious character (whatshername) in Hud and James Brown’s famously strident declaration to the object of his affection, whose mere holding of JB’s hand caused the boy to break out in a cold sweat (the absolute worse kind, especially when you've been drunk for 2-3 days and it's pooled under your collar). Personally, we’ve always thought that a good looking woman never looked better than when coated in a fine sheen of sweat, however acquired.
So quit whining and go sweat: It’s hot ’n’ sexy and another thing Houston’s got going for it. We may feel different about this in 10 or 15 years, though, when 110 in the shade is the new 100 in the shade.
*The only measurable amount of sweat.