Monday, August 27, 2012

After Sweat

I am a relatively large man, tall and just under 200 pounds. Not as large as my brother, but a large man nonetheless. I am also a hairy and sweaty man. (Thanks, I know, I am attractive). Every now and again I get it into my head that I should go for a run. I hate running, but it seems to be a good way to pretend to be active.

The other day, I did just that. It was hot. And humid. And three in the afternoon. Not exactly the ideal time to run. But along with being large, I’m somewhat dumb and stubborn. So damn it, I was going to run despite the conditions. And run I did. Or try to. I made it a solid 2.5 miles and was gassed. And sweaty. Real sweaty.

I came home, took a very cold ten minute shower, dressed, and hurried off to a presentation that I was attending. Before leaving I downed some water – you know, because water is the body’s temperature regulator or some nonsense like that. I was feeling good. Not too hot. Not too sweaty. I arrived at the room where the presentation was being held and stepped inside.

Shit. So hot. No windows open. So hot. Sun pouring in. So hot. I took a seat towards the back hoping that no one would sit near me. And that’s when it started. Eftersvett. After sweat. It can be used as a verb too, as in Jag eftersvettas. It’s a glorious Swedish word that describes that phenomenon of sweat pouring down your forehead nearly an hour after you’ve stopped exercising. Nearly half an hour after you’ve taken your shower.

The next 40 minutes consisted of me trying to discreetly lift my undershirt to my head and wipe all the sweat away, while not soaking the people next to me as it dripped off my head. It was disgusting. The three people sitting next to me probably assumed I was going through withdrawals. I even had to awkwardly put my hands to the side so they wouldn’t rest on my khaki-colored shorts because my dripping wet forearms had also soaked my pants. (Seriously, I know, I am super hot).

Finally, mercifully, the presentation ended at around the same time as my eftersvettning ended. I walked out of there with two arm-sized sweat stains on the legs of my shorts, a soaked collar, and the classic sweaty-back design on my t-shirt. Eftersvett had struck again. And won. Once I peeled my sweaty shirt from my sweaty back, all I could think of was that I wish there was a term for this in English.

Welcome to Sweden. And Swedish words that should exist in English.


  1. In English, we would call that 'wear more absorbent clothes' perhaps, the same material used for ShamWows?

  2. LOL. That was a very funny story :-D


    Walter Pandiani eftersvettas (is after sweating) at a press conference after a game.

  4. @Salamanda - genius. Someone needs to create a shamwow line of workout clothes.

    @Debbie - and kind of a gross one...

    @anonymous - Im not alone!