Confession: I feel sexy when I sweat

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August 17, 2013 by E.

Let me clarify that.

I’m not talking about the I soaked through my silk blouse in the two blocks it took me to walk from the metro to the office because it’s 97 degrees with 98% humidity kind of sweat.  Or the I’m about to give a presentation to a roomful of stone-faced monsters in business suits kind of stress that cause moisture to pour from armpits and palms.

No, I’m talking about the I just ran 5 miles in this beautiful August weather, the sun is shining, and I feel like I could keep running for days kind of perspiration.  The I conquered this workout kind of glistening.

The other day, I was in a nail salon reading some horribly outdated edition of Cosmo magazine (I figure if I’m already getting pampered, I might as well indulge in a little trashy literature).  As is typical, there was a young, perky celeb on the cover, surrounded by brilliant and vivid headlines such as 10 Ways to Have Sex in Public and How to Quash Your Gag Reflex.

I always read magazines in order, like books, so rather than skip to the interesting sex articles, I skimmed the interview with the cover model, a former kid’s television star, now moving on to bigger, better, sexier, more cleavage-baring roles, and also working on promoting her new pop CD.  Or something.  Anyway, the best part of the celebrity interview, in my opinion, isn’t actually the article, but the short questionnaire the celebrity fills out.  There are typical questions – what’s your favorite color, what would you be if you weren’t an actress/singer/Hollywood socialite, what would your last meal be, etc.  But one question stuck with me.

When do you feel sexiest?

There are multiple choice answers, all of which center around the outfit.  Do you feel sexiest in jeans and a white t-shirt?  Heels and a dress?  Lingerie, perhaps?

But it occurred to me this evening, as I was running through the city, enjoying the wonderfully temperate August weather, face scrubbed clean of makeup, hair slicked back into a ponytail, boobs compressed into a sports bra, Jay-Z rhyming in my ears, that I, in fact, felt sexy.

I’m quite sure I didn’t look it, but that didn’t change the way I felt.  I was happy, I was confident, I was in control, and I was aroused.  And none of that stemmed from my outward appearance.  I wasn’t running in designer butt-lifting workout shorts or a push-up sports bra. I wasn’t flipping my perfectly styled hair like a movie star.

And during that run, I think I finally understood what Nike was going for, all those years ago, with this ad:

Nike Women


I think a lot of women, myself included, get focused on a size, on a number.  On fitting into skinny jeans or short shorts.  On having supermodel measurements.  And although my answer would have been different in high school, if anyone ever asks me if I would rather be skinny than strong, today I know my answer.

I am strong.  I feel sexy when I sweat.

Thunder thighs forever.


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