To live in Florida is to sweat. If it were up to me, we’d go clothless, as in survival situations where modesty takes second place. That’s why I’m upset with clothes that promise a similar experience, like dry fit.
Dry fit comes in a variety of brands – ClimaCool™, thermaskin, permafrost, silly string – but these clothes exact a cost. I remember buying my first dry-fit shirt in the mid-’90s and the salesman saying that the fabric doesn’t smell. He must have been a hardened criminal because he couldn’t have fabricated less truly about this fabric. An honest person would have said that dry fit smells like Hades.
This putrid, rancid horror has plagued me ever since we moved to Florida. And, I ask you, how in the world am I to keep my shirts from smelling while sweating 50 times a day?! And, and, so far as to the “sweat-wicking” properties of these fabrics, the manufacturers must derive devilish delight in leaving those out!
When I work out, I become a human fountain, and the fabric really comes into its own. Once the fabric is triggered, other sufferers flee the gym clutching bloody noses. My own eyes stream in pain as I scrabble to get the shirt off, but the shirt doesn’t want to leave. It clings to my slippery back like a sucker fish, stretching to impossible distances.
I believe the fabric is part mildew. And now all of my shirts possess a mildew activation point. All that they need to activate is a slight rise in temperature. For me, this could be a look from my wife, saying something like, “Did you really not eat the last of the ice cream?” In an instance like this, I can turn a white shirt into a tie-dye blouse, with accompanying mushrooms and fungi.
And the smell of me is death. I call the smell “skunk envy,” positively not to be sold in stores. I imagine bars could use these shirts for closing time, “Get your free dry fit at 1 a.m.!” They could add a little ditty like this:
At the bar and can’t go home,
Feeling sad and all alone,
Find you a shirt and a smile,
People will smell you for a mile.
Tum-ti-tum-tum, yes-sir wee,
Tum-ti-tum-tun, no-sir woe,
We will turn you out tonight,
Please go out, you smelly blight!
I imagine there being other uses for this horrid fabric, like chemical warfare. But my wife and I started our own futile war to rid this fabric of mildew (preposterous, I know). Our war escalated quickly after multiple lackluster washings. We tried vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, toothpaste, coconut oil, kitty litter, and the kitchen sink. We beat my shirts with sticks, danced wildly upon them, smoked them over a fire, and dipped them in acids. Oh, the vanity! Muriatic acid actually got rid of the smell, though it left us with a small blob of congealed goo.
Turning to goo may be what this fabric wants. At some point, it was deep underground in an oil well, living a perfectly happy life as a slimy little substance. And hey, it smelled great (I’m one of those people that likes the smell of oil). I can see it bobbing around in a state of bliss, dreaming of the day it gets to ignite and blow up the next oil well. It was never meant to become clothing. Something so foreign to its existence must have made its stomach churn. I mean, would you want to become a fabric worn by humans? Doesn’t the idea give you a little gas, too?
Here I must pause for a brief moment and let the thought of the odor clear. I met a man the other day who said he didn’t know what I was talking about. He claimed that his shirts didn’t smell. After checking his pulse to see if he was lying and/or a human being, I realized that perhaps the fabric is choosy. This disturbs me. Why was I chosen? What is it that I ever did to it? And what is its endgame?
While the answers to these questions elude me, I take comfort in the fact there are answers to questions I may not want to know. And I suppose the mystery of the horrid odor that emanates from this insidious fabric is simply beyond humanity’s ability to unravel.