You Have That…Different Kind of Smell

Ah, genetics. And antidepressants. Thank you both for making me the sweaty girl I am today. What would I do without you.

Well, probably not spend my days thinking, “do I stink? I am SO sweaty. I wish it were hotter out so I could justify the amount of back sweat I have right now. I bet I stink.”

One part is genetics. My Mom tells an adorable story about how when I was little I’d sit next to my Dad when he got home from work and exclaim, “Dad? You have that…different kind of smell.” Now, that’s me. Thanks Dad.

Then there’s Justin. He sweats. Obviously. Justin works out a lot, and he sweats. And then he smells…like…deodorant. Even when he worked at Ranger School and would spend most of his summers NOT wearing antiperspirant OR deodorant (something about stinky students not being allowed to have either, and the need to sweat because of heat stroke, which is a very real thing in the summer in Georgia when you spend 24hrs outside in ACUs and boots and a hat, with a giant backpack full of whatever Army guys fill their backpacks with–super important cool stuff, obviously, since they don’t even call it a backpack–it’s a “Ruck.” Whatever, it’s a backpack). EITHER WAY, Justin would come home, sweaty, covered in mud, or whatever other gross he had traipsed through in the last 24 hours before coming home. He would take off his top, hand me his t-shirt and say, “ok, for real. I STINK. Smell this.” And I would. Because that’s what wives do. Well, maybe not all wives, but that’s what I do. Because I’m weird like that. And his shirt would stink–like laundry detergent. His sweat actually activated the laundry detergent! What in the world!? I walk to the mailbox and back and Justin will tell me I stink, and I probably do. Or maybe he’s just mean. But mostly it’s that I probably, definitely stink.

Add to the mix my antidepressants. My “thanks for making me not want to yell at everyone, or spent the rest of my life curled up in a ball on my couch under a blanket watching Netflix and eating ice cream,” antidepressants. Side effect: May Cause Excessive Sweating. The first weekend I was on it (years ago. While Justin was in “Handstands,” as Shea adorably referred to Afghanistan), Shea had been invited to a birthday party of a girl in her dance class. Fabulous. A get-together with people I don’t know. We of course show up, and the guest list includes the grandparents, and the mom’s best friend. And us. A random girl from dance. Everyone knew everyone. And I was sweating so much. SO MUCH. It didn’t help that it was a hot weekend. But seriously, the sweating wouldn’t stop. Hostess mom kept asking if I was OK, and if I’d rather we sit inside. “What?! No! It’s a beautiful day!” A beautiful, sweaty, awkward day. Hostess Mom’s husband didn’t speak, except to whisper things to her, and then they would giggle and she would share it with the group. Her parents chain smoked and stared at the awkward sweaty girl no one knew. Her best friend also stared at me in a bizarre way–who knows, maybe it was all in my head. I was only a couple days into my new meds. So the paranoia could’ve been in full swing still. I tried to think of things to say to get some sort of random conversation going: “The trees on this side of post are beautiful! They are so big, and old, and provide so much shade! We have no big trees where I am.” She asked where that was, and when I told her, it was conversation: over. Because Army Wives are weird like that. Not all of them–but a good chunk. Ladies and gentlemen, being an Army spouse is not at all like any silly tv show you have ever seen. It’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and I can count on one hand the wife friends I have made along the way. This was not an encounter that would lead to any amount of friendships. In fact, here it is nearly 4 years later, and I could not tell you a single name of anyone who was there. I CAN tell you that I got home and immediately read the label on my antidepressants and thought “maybe it’s time to cut back on the coffee.”

For the amount I sweat on a daily basis, you would think I’d be a twig. Not so. But I am forever asking, “is it hot in here? I am so hot right now!”

I’m always hot. And I’m always sweaty. Even when I’m cold, I’m probably sweaty. At an appointment, the Nurse Practitioner who prescribes my drugs asked if I had issues with any side effects: “just the sweating.” She told me to drink lots of water and wear less clothing. I spent 50% of my day in a bathing suit! I can’t wear any less than that without being horribly inappropriate!

The ever-adoring Justin told me this past weekend that he’s smelled Afghani women who stank less than me. I’m assuming because of the burka and the lack of deodorant and running water. Thanks dear, I love you too. In my defense, I had just come back from a run, but I doubt that made any difference. If sweating releases the “toxins,” I am, without a doubt, the least toxic person you’ve ever met. Unless I’m just covered in sweaty toxins, which in that case, I’m probably the most toxic person you’ve ever met.

Also, possibly the stinkiest. I’m still blaming genes…and antidepressants. And possibly my inability to remember to shower on a daily basis. Ok, I’m gross, I can admit that. At least Justin still loves me. Because he has to. Because he’s been told he is stuck with me until death. Regardless of how he feels about it. He’s trapped. Because I love him. My little, stink-free, security blanket husband.