Confessions of a chronic face sweater

June 10, 2015

Summer is here and, for me, that can only mean one thing: face sweat. You all have your sweet spot … be it the small of your back, or hairline or, the most popular, pits, where sweat gathers and glistens in the sauna of the afternoon sun. But until you’ve been a bona fied face sweater through the muggy month of August, you can’t truly understand the pain.


I chalk it up to genetics. My dad drips in dew as the degrees climb. He, in turn, passed the torch on to me, his youngest daughter, in an effort to ruin every outdoor activity for me for the rest of my life. On one particularly disgusting occasion, I took him to a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium. They had the roof open on one of those September days where summer is gasping its last hot breaths. As we wedged ourselves into the “generous” stadium seats, I sighed in relief, observing we’d landed in the shaded section. But as passes flew and the minutes ticked by, I noticed the sundial shifting. We were in our own game now, and it was one against time. We had 10, maybe 15 minutes, before the sun cast her wicked, relentless rays unforgivingly upon us. I looked up at Big Rog, wondering if he, too, saw our impending doom. He glanced toward the nearing horizon and we both knew there were no words. We simply sat in our solitary sweat lodge. The hats we bought couldn’t block it. Beer couldn’t cool it. Shade could not stop our pools of perspiration. We were face sweating like the father-daughter face sweaters we were, and I couldn’t even tell you if the home team won.

My affliction doesn’t just surface on my personal time. Last year, when I was 30 months pregnant with Sloppy Joan, I waddled out to the fancy food truck that came to the parking lot every Tuesday. Fish tacos and fries with aioli; pregnant food porn, for sure. But on that gorgeous day in May, the fish wasn’t the only thing fryin’. I walked into a perfect storm of steam: direct rays + a pond + aluminum + 75 extra pounds + a crowd. Before I knew what hit me, my mug looked like I just surfaced from an abrupt drop in the dunk tank. “Ma’am, you can wait under the awning,” the cook said. “Courtney, we can bring your food in to you,” a friend from the gathering crowd of my non-perspiring peers offered. They all saw it. “I’m a face sweater, guys!” I joked, officially acknowledging the awkward, obvious streaks of embarrassing water racing down the sides of my nose, and giving them permission to do the same.

Well, just last week, when I went to the intense Friday morning class at the gym, at the urging of a close girlfriend, only to realize she is secretly Tina Turbo, it was there. About 3 minutes into the warmup (the most ass-whooping warmup I’ve ever done, I feel inclined to mention), the instructor turned her perky self around, locked in on my face and said, and I quote, “OK! I see some of you sweatin’ out there!” Just me. I’m sweating. I was the only mother mover in that joint dropping that kind of water.


My inner circle knows “the stache” (sweat mustache) will make an appearance when prompted by any of the following scenarios: nervousness, stress, an excess of hot beverages, a car with no air, dancing, exercise, motion sickness or vomiting for any reason, crying, carrying or moving objects, cuddling a baby, intense thought, eating warm meals or setting up for a party. I have learned to dab and deal with it.

But, as a card-carrying member of the club, I beg those not burdened by these inconvenient beads of bullshit to withhold judgment and comment. Let’s make a deal that will live on from this post until forever … I won’t say anything about the spots under your armpits, if you agree to hand me a towel, smile kindly and turn away as I remove the sweat from the sides of my sniffer. There’s no cause for concern. Those aren’t tears coming from under my sunglasses, I swear. They are evidence of a genetic misfortune.

A woman wiping her brow with a handkerchief

A woman wiping her brow with a handkerchief

The next time you get an invitation to join in a backyard barbecue, birthday cookout or, the nightmare that haunts my summer days, the absolute worst, an outdoor wedding, take a moment to appreciate your dreamy, dry face. Remember there are those who immediately panic about the face sweat that will accompany them on that fateful day, and the fact that just the thought of that face sweat, makes their face sweat. Sure, we could inject botox (the only treatment my research revealed), and lessen the liquid, but really, isn’t it better if we just embrace the face and the sweat that comes with it? I’d say so. Bring on the summer stache and cocktails!

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1 Comment

  • Reply libby June 10, 2015 at 3:01 am

    ahhh, the food truck incident!!!!! i’m l-o-l-ing over here!

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