Dear Joan Actually,
I have a really embarrassing issue. Before I meet a date, I get really REALLY nervous and start sweating like crazy. I am a pretty confident guy at work and in most social situations, but for whatever reason, these dates are making me look like I just ran through a sprinkler. No classy lady wants a sweaty guy, right? Any advice on how to break the cycle?
Everybody feels some dating anxiety, especially before a first date. Given the unknowns, it’s completely understandable. You could find yourself trapped with a picky eater who is allergic to everything except terrible commentary, or you could meet the love of your life. The first date has three main purposes:
1) Confirm likeness to profile picture
2) Assess date for compatibility (re: sanity)
3) Determine probability of second date
Between judging your date and getting judged yourself, some extra sweat is par for the course.
I had Dr. Lawrence G. Miller, functional wellness practitioner, give me the scoop on sweating: “When we feel heat or experience emotional stress, the hypothalamus, a part of your brain, will tell your sweat glands to get to work. Since armpits, palms, and soles of your feet have the most sweat glands, you’ll tend to have the most sweat stemming from these places. The armpits are the sweatiest area, however, because the particular type of sweat gland here can produce up to two times the fluid volume as a sweat gland on, say, your leg.”
As for a quick fix, an antiperspirant and deodorant is a must. “The antiperspirant will interact with your sweat to create gel that will plug up the sweat glands,” says Dr. Miller. “The deodorant will kill the odor-causing bacteria.”
Solution Part 1: Relaxing Before The Date
For the real deal on calming nerves, I asked the founder of Ekhart Yoga and YouTube’s largest yoga channel, Esther Ekhart, to show me some relaxation techniques. Here’s what the yoga guru had to say:
1. Breathe. By focusing on the breath, you instantly connect with the body. Keep the awareness of your breath low in your abdomen, on the inhalation imagine a balloon in your belly inflating, on an exhalation it deflates. This calms the body and mind.
2. Feel your feet on the floor and feel how your legs support you. Straighten the back, pull your shoulders back and release them down the back to open the chest. Neck long, as you stretch through the crown of the head. Relax the lower jaw and smooth your forehead.
Because I am quick to dismiss new age-y sounding advice, I guinea pigged Esther’s tips at my desk. You will feel more relaxed–and give up on sit-ups–after the pot belly breathing.
Solution Part 2: Putting it all on the Line
If you’re on the date and feeling soggy, address it quickly and move on. While you’re at it, win yourself some bonus points by attributing the extra sweat to your nervous, yet positive feelings.
“You’re fantastic. And, because I know how fantastic you are, I can’t help but feel nervous and get a little sweaty.”
“You don’t look intimidating, but I feel jittery when I’m around you. I’m just excited to get to know you.”
The sooner you can stop worrying, the sooner you can nix those sweat-related conversations.