Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I stink. To high heavens. There, I've said it. You happy?

Before you get the wrong idea, it's not a 24/7 thing. I'm not stinky the way Zac Efron has been accused of being -- although I've been known to occasionally not shower immediately after working out -- or the way my friend Deirdre and I used to presume that some Hollywood stars have to smell. Stinky or Not? That was our favorite game to play whenever we got bored at work.

Who knew that one day I would make the dreaded stinky list? I've been on the Dean's List, guest lists and shit lists, so perhaps it was just a matter of time.

It all came out today before my pilates class, when Claudio, who works at the studio, and I found ourselves with a few moments alone. He said he had to talk to me about something, but he didn't want to offend me. I had no idea what he could possibly have to say that didn't involve the sexuality of Hollywood celebrities (yes, he's the one who loves that particular subject), but I knew it couldn't be good.

I told him to go for it. He started beating a very slow path around the bush. He talked about how being guys, sometimes when we work out in the gym we sweat like pigs. But it's normal there, and gyms -- at least decent ones -- are wide open spaces. I think I knew where this was going.

"Yes, I know, I have a problem," I said, feeling as if we were mid intervention. I've always been a sweater, and sometimes I go a little crazy, thanks to the intense pilates regimen of Pamela, my excellent instructor. It's embarassing, so before each class, I load up on paper towels to keep myself as dry as possible. It doesn't help that the classes are full of women, who always seem to be cold, no matter how hot it is outside. And when the AC goes off, my sweat glands rush into overdrive.

But alas, my sweat wasn't the only problem. It's also the body odor that comes along with it. And not only one person has complained.

Ouch! And ewww!

I handled the conversation with grace. I didn't get flustered. I didn't even get embarrassed. In the back of my mind, I sort of knew this day would come. I had begun showering before each class and using extra deodorant, hoping to ease the pain of my fellow pilates students. In fact, today I smelled so good that I almost invited Claudio to see for himself.

But I didn't. I think I took it all in stride partly because, despite the uncomfortable nature of the conversation, Claudio was so nice and diplomatic about it. I found myself on the verge of inviting him out for drinks, just to prove to him that I clean up well. I don't know many -- any! -- people who can almost charm your track pants off while telling you that you have a stinking problem.

I'm not sure where we go from here. I'll always be a sweater, but I may have to start piling on cologne, which I haven't used since I left New York, and wearing a new t-shirt to every class as a precautionary measure. Not because I care what those crazy, cranky ladies think about my body odor -- the further away from me they stay, the better. (And Rosita, the sweet, older porteña aside, they are now all officially on my shit list.) But because I don't want Claudio to think I'm a stinky pig.

At least I'll never have to worry about having to cheek-kiss any of them goodbye at the end of class. That's one porteño custom that I could really do without. Just to show that there were no hard feelings, as I was on my way out, Claudio told me that he watched Closer again last night. And he still thinks Jude Law is gay.

Update I ended up cancelling my membership to Megatlon Pilates. My final class will be on February 17, which, incidentally is the day I depart from Buenos Aires for an undecided period of time. Claudio wasn't happy to see me go. But he understands. A guy's got a right to sweat like a big and stink like one, too. I mean, how else do you know that the work out is, um, working?
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