It has been said that horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glisten. I would like to add one more subject to this equation: teenage boys drip.
No one sweats more than a teenage boy. I don’t know why: maybe it’s the byproduct of them turning those six pork chops they had for dinner into a two inch overnight growth spurt (in much the same way that twenty tons or so of carbon emission is the byproduct of using coal to power a small city overnight.) Or maybe it’s just excess energy being converted into excess stink. Or maybe it’s an unholy alliance between the teenagers of the world and the laundry soap manufacturers. Regardless of the cause, it’s the effect that bothers me. Because the effect is, to put it mildly, gross.
It doesn’t help that it always catches me off guard. As a lady who barely even glistens, I am just not expecting to be assaulted with somebody else’s fluids on a regular basis. I am not expecting to kiss my son on the cheek over an hour after the end of his dance performance only to have my lips slide right off. I am not expecting to have my son crawl in bed with me for a goodnight hug after practice and have my question of “Did you just take a shower?” be answered with, “No, not yet,” as an absolutely soaking wet head is laid upon my cheek. (I’ve also tried asking if it’s raining, if he was participating in a dunk tank and if there was an earthquake I perhaps missed that left us with beachfront property, but no matter how increasingly desperate my questions get he just won’t take the hint and give me a pity lie.)
It’s not that I’m adverse to the idea of sweat, exactly. Trust me, if Channing Tatum wanted to rub his sweaty head on my cheek after dancing for an hour, I would be completely on board with that. Completely. But when it comes to my son it’s a different matter entirely.
Maybe it’s just a matter of the amount. And I don’t just mean the amount of sweat at any one time (which is actually quite impressive), but the amount of fluid that Clyde has shared with me altogether over the course of his lifetime. Remember, we’re talking about a boy here, and as anyone who has ever changed a baby boy’s diaper can tell you, there are a lot of golden shower moments involved. A lot. Add to that the fact that Clyde was just about the pukiest baby I have ever seen, and what you end up with is me having worn approximately a gallon or so of Clyde over the course of our lives together.
At this point the only way I could imagine another creature topping this record would be if I got a job as a trainer at Sea World and consistently played the straight man in all of those “wacky misbehaving orca” shows. (This is a prospect that is only moderately more appealing than raising children because, apparently, it’s entirely okay to beat the animals at Sea World, while beating your children is generally frowned upon. Even when they sweat on you excessively.)
Perhaps one day I will get to the point where I am as blasé about Clyde sweating on me as I once was about him puking on me—there came a time in his babyhood when neither he nor I would even twitch after the first puke of the day. After all, what’s the point of changing your shirt if you know there’s at least two more puking episodes coming up?
Who knows? Maybe I’ll soon get to feel that way about being used as a sweat towel, too. I can’t wait. On second thought, scratch that: yeah, I can.