Things in Italy That Can Kill You Part 1. Sweat.



Apparently. Sweat. Perspiration. Is a Very Bad Thing.


I have been in parks, on what Brits would call a warm Spring day. Children are bundled up like Michelin men. They are running and playing…it’s a park for heaven’s sake.


They are also being forbidden to sweat. “Don’t you dare go sweating!!!” “If I catch you sweating, there’ll be trouble!!!” “Look at you, you’re about to start with that sweating again!”


I have to stop myself from going up to them, tapping them on the shoulder and asking a) why sweating is so feared b) do they not realise that sweating is a biological function like erm, breathing, and trying to stop a child from doing it is a bit impossible c) have they considered perhaps taking off one of the 34 layers of woollen clothing that everyone, young and old, wears until the 15th June (after which date obviously people have carte blanche to  walk around semi naked for 4 months)


But I don’t. Because I know there would be no point. Sweating (or not) is an Italian obsession. Not many people send their children to the local swimming pool in the winter months….The pool area is heated you see, so they get out of the water, start to sweat, then miss 2 months of school with terrible fevers.


The minute you do start to sweat, you have to be rushed home and showered. Soft play centres are a study in human anthropology and psychology……I love ’em. I sit in a corner, while my unruly child runs round sweating…..(and no, she doesn’t get a shower when we get home, far too knackered…so shoot me) and other mothers run round brandishing hand towels to wipe up that nasty sweat before it does irreperable damage. They all arrive at the soft play with huge beach bags….full to the brim with towels and changes of clothes…because if you don’t get the handtowel round their heads in time, they will obviously need a complete change of clothes. And more than once. And the end……the end of the affair/party sees a rugby scrum with mothers shoving other people’s children to the floor and trampling them underfoot to get little Francesco to the hairdryers first. Yes, hairdryers…..there won’t be any loo roll in the toilets, but there will be a bank of child-head-high hairdryers. (note: using the hairdryer at the soft play does not let you off washing the hair once you get home, rogue droplets of you-know-what might be lurking in those curls, ready to do its worst….)


In the interests of subjective unbiased research I did a bit of googling this morning (reminds self to clear history before husband comes home and thinks have gone completely bonkers googling “sweat hairdryers softplay”) and came up with these interesting results….It’s not just Italians: the Spanish and Turks also share this fear of our bodies’ tried and trusted auto-cleansing method.  There are numerous blog posts scattergunning the web about this medical phenomenon.


We can draw only one conclusion I suppose: Mediterranean sweat must be made of sterner stuff than its northern counterparts.






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