This sounds like the sort of mantra you’d see on Pinterest, photoshopped over a picture of a greased-up fitness model wearing an $80 sports bra. But unlike most things on Pinterest, this pearl of wisdom has a nugget of truth to it.
Why are so many women embarrassed to be seen post-gym? Tabloids are constantly hounding after celebrities leaving their expensive Hollywood gyms, head down to avoid having their red, damp face photographed. Just the other day, I was walking with a friend in our workout clothes (not even sweating yet) and she ducked in a panic to avoid being glimpsed by an ex-boyfriend who walked by. It was the most completely ridiculous thing I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ll tell you why.
I’m not some non-sweating, virginal beacon of dryness over here, sitting in my tower and telling you how idiotic it is to be embarrassed of your bodily fluids. I am… a sweater. No, I’m not a cardigan, smartass. I sweat. Just sitting here on my ass writing this post in my comfortable, breezy room, I would be sweating profusely were I not wearing clinical-strength, sport-endurance men’s antiperspirant. I sweat even when I’m uncomfortably chilly. It’s just something my body does. So you can imagine that when I am on the elliptical, my hamstrings burning with effort and my lungs burning for air, I am at my sweatiest. And it is not a pretty sight to behold. I am not one of those girls who gets a light, glowing sheen to them, as though they were dipped in liquid diamonds. No, I pretty much look like I’m giving birth. To a fully-grown man. My Irish complexion turns a delicate shade of Cardiac Arrest Red, and it doesn’t even have the decency to be uniformly red, but flushes instead in patches around my cheeks and mouth, while my forehead and nose remain the sickly white of a carp’s underbelly. The sweat tends to pool at my hairline and then proceeds to run into my eyes so that I squint and blink a lot like someone who has lived in a cave their entire life and is seeing the sun for the first time. If I’m really working hard, it drips off the end of my nose and hair. THAT is what you call sweating.
I work out with my boyfriend at least once a week, and I sweat. I used to care that he was seeing me at my least hygienic – after all, out of everyone in existence, his opinion of me is probably the most important to me, other than my own. But now I don’t give a fart in a high wind that he sees my sweat, for several reasons, and not just the fact that I have value other than my appearance – that’s a given here.
Sweat is sexy because when the object of your desire sees you sweating after a tough workout, they are seeing the fruits of your labors. The wetter you are, the harder you worked. Laziness is unattractive and certainly not ladylike. Indeed, hard work is a great quality to have in a mate. Think about it – which is sexier, a man sitting in a La-Z-Boy watching a Sam Adams commercial and eating a bowl of Froot Loops, or a man reshingling the roof of a house, his skin bronzed and glistening with sweat? Why should it be any different for ladies? Even if you’re not in great shape, the fact that you were working out says, “I care about my body,” “I am dedicated to the things I do,” and “I’m not afraid of challenges” – all extremely sexy statements to be making.
Sweat is also sexy because it means that you, an already attractive and intelligent woman, were just in the process of getting even hotter. And I don’t just mean you were burning calories – you were building muscle and self-confidence, too. Those things are sexy. Droplets of sweat even draw attention to your body and the awesome gains you’ve been making at the gym. When a guy or girl you’re into sees a little bit of sweat, they probably wonder at least for a second what you’re like in the sack. And who wouldn’t? You look like a total badass.
And if your main concern about sweat is your B.O. – relax. Chances are, you don’t actually smell that bad. As long as you didn’t eat anything super garlicky last night, and as long as you’re wearing a little deodorant, you probably smell OK. So go ahead – next time you’re coming back from the gym and you see someone you’re not opposed to boning, don’t be afraid to go right up and start a conversation with them. You look amazing, I promise. Embrace your sweat. Love it as you love the rest of you. Plus, if you didn’t sweat, you wouldn’t even have to worry about people seeing you, because you’d probably be dead from heat stroke. Real talk.