Genetics are kind of interesting, aren’t they? The way one trait is passed down to the children of a family when another seems to skip a few generations. Or when a seemingly “new” characteristic pops up in a sibling or a nephew, when in truth it was probably inherited from a tenth cousin twice removed who arrived in America, travel weary, on the Mayflower. Is that where my brother got his weird earlobes? Joking! All of my brothers have lovely earlobes.
Obviously, as I am a human consigned to the same genetic gamble as everyone else, I did not escape this indiscriminate gifting. And while I am thankful for the height I have and other seemingly neutral attributes, there is one thing that will forever be a thorn in my side. And I do not have to idly wonder if it was my great, great Aunt Penelope who was so kind as to have sent it my way, because I know the source of my bane. My grandmother. We are as alike as twins in our mutual physiological burden: Face Sweating. Now, while she has wrestled with a constant stream pouring all over her face while watching TV, cooking in the kitchen, sitting at a baseball game… I have forever struggled with a distinct stripe of sweat beading on my forehead and upper lip when my body even THINKS IT MIGHT POSSIBLY be the slightest bit hot. Classy, I know. Thank you, gene pool, for THAT.
So, as you can imagine, I am always extremely aware of my temperature. Is it hot? Is it kind of warm? Frick, I should have shoved that ice pack down my bra after all. Should I start fanning myself now? Or wait until I feel the tell-tale tingling around my temples that seems to give the ALL SYSTEMS GO! signal to turn on the faucets? Panic, panic, panic! Here comes the sweat! There are even times when I am quite comfortable, with a light cool breeze ruffling my hair as I stroll with my boy, and yet I can feel a sheen forming across quite specific portions of my face. Lip and forehead. Forehead and lip. And isn’t it just too damn bad that people look at YOUR FACE when they are talking to you? How rude of people to be so polite.
Well, all of this sweat thinking sprung from my commute into work this morning. As I crammed myself, elbows first, onto the first train to arrive after too many minutes of waiting, I found myself literally tucked beneath the armpit of a youngish gentleman who was traveling with his wife and child. As I clung to the handlebar in front of me, Armpit Man had to reach across my face for a grip on the metal bar in an effort to not go flying into the other passengers with each bend in the tunnel. So there we were all snuggly first thing on a warm spring morning. Breathing on each other.
Immediately my heat sensors were up, checking the state of things. Was I going to start sweating? Should I wiggle out of my blazer before Niagara started? Will the people around me start sweating too? Oh no, will someone begin to smell (which is often the case on public transit in the city)? And then as I tried to turn my head to keep from burying my nose further beneath the shoulder of my travel companion, a place I had no desire to be, I realized I was getting a whiff of a refreshingly spring smell. Jasmine. With another discreet sniff, I realized this lovely stranger used some sort of flower scented deodorant. Or was it lotion? Either way, I was simply happy that my senses were saved from assault. I immediately felt like crawling over the other riders in an attempt to hug Armpit Man’s wonderful wife, who I am guessing was the source behind his choice in body products.
So on this bright Wednesday morning, I would like to say THANK YOU to the family of strangers who helped make a bustling, crowded, stressful commute more manageable. And I think everyone should start wearing jasmine deodorant. It really does have a refreshing perfume. And while it may not help my face sweating, at least I will smell divine.