I went for my weekly grocery run this morning. By force of habit I went straight towards downtown instead of turning on Cumberland. (Are you an alcoholic if you instinctively bike towards the bars?) That was a costly mistake, because instead of turning around I decided to turn towards S.Congress and enter HEB that way.
I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the grocery store. It was a greater distance than I thought, and hills to boot. It was pretty cold this morning, but I couldn't get my scarf and jacket off fast enough at the bike rack. I even went to the bathroom to wipe down my temple and neck, but HEB went green and had air dryers. Figures.
I felt very self conscious walking towards the back where the restroom was, I was sweaty and out of breath. My hair I'm sure, was everywhere. But I looked in the mirror and realized I had a healthy glow that was probably pretty attractive. I dried off in no time. It was all pretty much in my head.
Which brings me to this: one of the biggest excuses people have about bikes is that people will smell and be sweaty, therefore it can't be a viable form of transportation. Especially in Texas where its soooo hot. I have a little secret for these people. Everyone sweats in the summer here. No matter what you do. You go outside, your gonna sweat. I can't be the only one that gets out of my car with a sweat stain in the small of my back. I can't be the only one that feels that trickle of sweat down my spine as I wait for my A/C to kick in. I can't be the only one whose legs slide with sweat on my leather seats. You sweat on the walk to the parking lot, and you sweat on the 5 step trek to your front door. It's a part of life here, and I don't think I have ever been offended by someone because they were too sweaty.
Now on to smell. There is a difference between the smell of being outside, or the "puppy dog" smell as my Mom calls it, and the smell of not bathing for several days. I've smelled both, can't mistake one for the other. While one is mildly offensive, the other is a serious detriment to human interaction. One can be wiped away with baby wipes, the other nothing than a full dunk will do. Personally, I would wipe down after a bike ride to work not protect peoples noses but for my own personal comfort. I don't like the feeling of being sticky.
One thing that strikes me as particularly funny about this excuse is that American customs don't really allow you to get that close to people outside of your family. People generally stand three (give or take) feet away from each other. That cuts down on the number of people close enough to smell your distinctive essence. A wipe here and there, splash of perfume, and your good to go in the morning.
I think people are too sensitive when it comes to smell. The evidence I have for this are the ton of girls who wear so much perfume that I can smell it 10 feet away. Or even creepily, when I smell perfume and no one is around. The negative people that scream they couldn't stand to have their coworker come in sweaty from a bike ride need to take a chill pill. Body odor is unpleasant, true, but we all smell things we dislike in our daily lives and we manage to get on with it. It can be managed, and when summer comes around I'm sure I will find ways to deal with it.