Have you been a jerk lately? Easily aggravated? Unkind in your thoughts? (Don't even answer that.) I'm here to tell you that it's not your fault. This is the only time I will ever say this to you. Ever. It's not your fault. (Oh my god, I'm in Good Will Hunting all of a sudden. RIP Robin.) But, seriously, it's not.
We have now entered the period of the summer in which feeling absolutely disgusting between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. is de rigueur. I know that partially because, at least in NYC, no one who says de rigueur is here. It's amazing: You can go to any restaurant in the city and get a table with ease and sit next to someone else without a beach house. Before you accuse me of overreacting: (It's not that hot, we've been lucky this year, aren't you from here, etc.), I know, and I don't want to hear it. I'm way ahead of you, and also you don't have my hair.
These are very tough times, but it is my belief is that we can support each other. (You will never hear me say that again, either.) We can educate ourselves. Knowledge is power. So, here are some of the things that can happen to you between now and the end of summer. None of them are actually dangerous, but they are all scary, and it is best to be prepared. They have all happened to me. I am a survivor.
SFS- Shiny Face Syndrome. Very common. Generated out of some combination of naturally occurring oils, sweat, and deep sadness, your face becomes coated. You glow like a 14-year-old with unregulated sebum and erratic desire. You come home, scrub your face until its pink and good shiny, and it works so well you jump up and down with pleasure. And start sweating again.
HFS- Hard Face Syndrome. The fact that this acronym looks like something out of a government agency or a boat is right on the money. This is DEFCON 3. You're pouring sweat waiting for the train while dodging a heat stroke victim rolling towards you. Moving either way means getting physically close to something disgusting. A strong gust of hot dirty air comes in like a baptism: the train is coming. The doors open and you shove in. It's ice cold. (A good thing.) And while you beam with relief, something very odd happens: your face hardens. Not as in the emotional expression. Like, your face literally hardens, leading me to realize that when sweat and dirty wind hit cold, recycled air, suddenly it turns it to a solid. For those of you ladies who use makeup primers (although my God that seems like a lot in this weather), this is kind of like a second one. You are primed for something truly gross.
TE- Temperature Ennui. This is the low-level, persistent depression that comes of knowing that there are very few places you're not sweating, that any attempt to look attractive is a losing battle, and that you haven't seen your friends because you've all prioritized comfort over love, once and for all. A case of TE sucks, but it is temporary. Temporary ennui. As soon as wearing jeans doesn't feel like your legs are wrapped in heated saran wrap, you'll be back in business.
(Some people get a very intense double hit of FE, in which they are both too hot to move and simultaneously stressing that summer is about to end. It's a terrible weight to carry, and there's not much to do.)
FOUW- Fear of Unidentified Wetness. This is very hard to talk about. This is not, oh my butt is sweaty, you amateurs! We've all been there, and we'll all be there again. This is the something-is-wet-and-is-it-me-or-something-else-and-if-it's-something-else WHAT. IS. IT? Happened to me yesterday. Got up from my seat, and there was something, and I even engaged a third party to look at it and my shorts and it remained a mystery. Perhaps for the best.
BOR- Bursts of Rage. BOR is an unfortunate acronym, since it's almost BRR, which is not the case. BR refers to the rapid escalation of anger that can happen when it is too hot. Something that would normally be irritating is now incensing, even eye poppingly maddening. Since there can be negative consequences to the rage personally and professionally, my advice is to count to ten while sticking your head in the freezer. That is not a metaphor. My father taught me this, which means they did it in Brooklyn back in the days before it became an artisanal mall, and we should all learn from their authentic experience. Stick your head in the freezer and count to ten; you'll be nicer.
I hope this guide helps you through these steamy summer days. I hope you feel less alone, even if you actually are alone because you're hiding in your apartment. And I hope you can look across the train car at someone mouthing FOUW at you and feel a deep well of connection. (However, there's always the chance that the person is saying something else, and a terrifying lunatic, so please be smart.) It's going to be okay; it'll be too cold before you know it.
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