Tanguera Problem Solvers #1 - Tips for Hot Summers/Hot Milongas
Every summer I think how can I possibly make it through another summer in Texas? It seems worse every year. I become a hermit, hiding out during daylight hours and constantly searching for things to make the heat more tolerable. I'm not one of those women who "glows" or "glistens" or any of that. I sweat. I sweat a lot. Dancing in milongas, especially barely-air-conditioned milongas, becomes almost more effort than it's worth.
And you want me to go to an outdoor milonga, you say? Are you kidding me??? Call me when it cools off.
I've been dreading it so much this year that I went to my doctor and asked what I could do to cope with the heat a little better. He recommended first, get acclimated. Stop avoiding being outdoors, but don't overdo it. Eat a few meals outside. Walk more. Work in the yard, play with the dogs, set up the patio or porch so that it's inviting. Focus my activities in the morning and evening to ease into it.
"But what about the sweating?" I asked.
"Well," he answered, "deal with sweating where it is most uncomfortable, and make peace with the rest of it. You have to sweat."
I went to work and came up with a system that makes hot weather much more tolerable, and dancing in warm milongas much more bearable. Here's what works for me - please feel free to add comments, recommendations and suggestions below.
For underarms, nothing has worked better for me than "Certain Dri" , though sensitive skin types may prefer Drysol. (Information about those two, and two other highly recommended options is included in the link below.) There is an "AM" solid refresher stick, and a PM roll-on - and you do have to use both for the system to work. At least I do. If you tend to have sensitive under-arms, the PM stick, which they also make, is less irritating - but didn't work as well for me.
Best Antiperspirants for Extreme Sweating
Another item I keep tucked in my purse is "DermaDoctor's Med-e-Tate" antiperspirant towelettes which are very handy for those days you forgot to apply deodorant or find that it's just not holding up. As a stand alone product it doesn't work as well for me as Certain Dri, but it helps a lot when I'm on the go.
For feet, I splurge a little bit. You can use antiperspirants on your feet, and Certain Dri also makes a couple of products for feet that I've heard work quite well. I don't know about other dancers, but I can't bear the thought of wearing pantyhose, so to keep my shoes from becoming, well . . . funky, I use "Butter London's Kitten Heels Powder Finish Foot Creme" (which is really a gel-powder texture.) It costs more ($30) than the drugstore varieties but works better than anything else I've tried and takes very little product to work. (Shake the tube before opening, because the gel tends to separate a bit if it sits awhile.)
There are loads of salon brand hair powders and dry shampoos, and they're about all the same. My favorite, however, has been around for ages and ages - Pssssst Instant Spray Shampoo. It works great and it's not expensive. The biggest problem I have with it, is that it's an aerosol spray which I would normally avoid. However the performance is so good, I keep going back to it. A close second, mostly because I like the smell, and the power form, is Oscar Blandi's Dry Shampoo.
Another trick I use, and one that has made me pretty identifiable in a room full of dancers, is a decorated, knit headband. (Though every time I put it on, it makes me think of John McEnroe.) It's wide enough to keep my fine bangs out of my face, and also absorbs sweat discreetly. They mostly look like the examples here: I've also found a great selection of them at Ulta - though not many on the website, mostly in the stores. Attach a pin or a flower, and I'm good to go.
Feminine Care (Guys, if you're read this far, feel free to stop reading here. Don't say I didn't warn you.)
For other areas - moisture-wicking undergarments can help a lot. If that's still not enough, I've had good luck with Sweet Spot Labs refreshing towelettes. And, as if we haven't gotten personal enough, if you do end up with heat rash or other discomfort, Monistat Soothing Care Anti-Chafing gel can help get things more comfortable.
That's now my system for coping with hot weather. How do you cope? What products work for you?
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Just adding a guy's perspective.
There's a saying about tango that if you're not comfortable (as a leader) with a woman's breasts against your chest, then don't do tango.
I'd expand it to say if you're not comfortable with a woman's sweat on your face, hand and possibly arms depending on what you're wearing, then don't do tango.
The biggest problem simply seems to be accepting that dancers sweat and that's ok. Much like getting used to close embrace really.
The few things I'd recommend are deodourant, making sure you have plenty of water and possibly some kind of tissue / hankie to wipe your face with, though I accept for a lot of women's tango clothing that's pretty impractical.
It might be worth bringing along spare tops and a towel to change into in the ladies toilets, if for no other reason than because it's quite refreshing to change into a clean dry top.
@Ghost - Thank you so much for your comments. I've always told people (who were concerned about it) that you will sweat in this dance - especially in Texas milongas. It's close-quarters, up-close-and-personal dance, so it's best to make peace with that early on. However, when you have hyperhidrosis- it goes beyond being just uncomfortable to being really embarrassing. I usually have a towel etc - but changing clothes often requires changing an entire outfit, and that's not as practical as I would like it to be, as you noted.
I've noticed most men don't seem to mind a sweaty woman in their arms too much - but it can be uncomfortable for the woman (speaking from experience) so anything that keeps us more comfortable, keeps us dancing longer. :-) :-)
Here are a few things I do/wear for milongas or lessons to keep me cool:
Moisture-wicking technical sportswear: tops, skirts, dresses
Putting your hair up in a pony tail or bun (Goody spin pins make this really easy).
What I haven't tried but heard of:
Botox for excessive armpit sweating
Plus, I always have my own water bottle (sometimes with electrolyte powder in it) since I've found that at some really hot milongas the water can and does run out if there is no water fountain and the organizer has not kept a keen eye on the water situation.
For me two very simple tricks work best.
1. (although this one might not be helpful for you as it only works when it's cold outside at least) Go outside and get some fresh air regularly! The smokers keep making fun of me as they are the ones I usually meet outside. Unlike me, they put their coats on. When it's hot inside I go outside for just as long as it feels comfortable. When I start getting goose bumps, it's time to go back inside to prevent me from catching cold.
2. (and this works when it's hot inside and outside) Go to the ladies regularly and hold your forearms right up to your elbows under running water from the tap, until they start feeling really cold! That's truly refreshing for the whole body and it lasts quite a while. Guys enjoy the freshness. ;)
Happy hot dancing in Texas...
I would just add a health warning to all of these great practical suggestions: be careful in the summertime not to get heat stroke. (You don't have to be outside in the sun to get it.) It happened to me for the first time a couple of months ago while teaching in our studio in the Buenos Aires summer, and I just fainted dead away. Ruben took me to the hospital and I was on an IV for several hours.
So be careful not to get overheated if possible and to drink lots of water.
There's more to being hot and sweaty than just being uncomfortable. Cuidado!
Now I am sooo happy about living and dancing in Baltic states, as summers here are not so hot as in Texas :) Nevertheless, thank you for some nice tips & tricks.
We definitely have this problem in Buenos Aires in January and February -- big time! It gets very hot and humid here and many milongas don´t have very powerful air conditioning. My tip to add to those above: Runner´s Glide. I smooth it onto my inner thighs to prevent sweaty chafing, since I am not a slender waif and my thighs do touch a lot when dancing. I also like to put it all over my feet, as it seems to help prevent blisters which seem to happen much more easily in the hot weather. And I second Cherie´s caution -- I fainted at a milonga once. I don´t recommend it.
There was a time when none of the milongas in BsAs were air-conditioned. One didn't dance every tanda. The old milongueros wore suits for their partners' comfort. They sat out a tanda or two for the last thing they wanted was to perspire while dancing. Many use a handkerchief between dances and have one in the palm of their left hand while dancing.
Today it's quite different in the milongas of BsAs. Most have air-conditioning and fans. Those who perspire will do so whether there is A/C or not, especially during the summer months.
The local women in the milongas would be amazed to read your list of products that are not available here. They bring along deodorant and perfume to refresh during the night. My survival kit is Johnson's baby cornstarch powder. I may get warm after a tanda, but I don't perspire. Summer is definitely a time you need to avoid in BsAs to dance.
If you're planning to stay at Maria's place, you'll be three blocks from my apartment. You can join me at Celia's. Study the photos on Tango Chamuyo so the milongueros will be familiar faces to you.
@Anon - Thanks for the info - and good reminder about water and staying hydrated. I've paid the price for dehydration before and it wasn't pretty!
@Cinderella - I love it in the winter when I can just go stand barefoot in the cold grass (because in the winter we still have grass, it's just 50 degrees out lol). And good tip about the water too.
@Cherie - I've fainted too, that was a very bad time. I try to always have water with me (and remind myself to actually take time to drink it!)
@Diana - You're so welcome!
@Terpsi - thanks for the reminder about runner's glide - forgot about that one.
@Janis - It would be almost impossible for me to recommend geographically specific products on anything, to anyone. I can't even tell you what products are available in Arkansas, let alone Argentina. Alos, I don't even purchase my products locally because nothing seems reliably available anywhere.
I get most everything I need from Amazon.com which conveniently ships to Argentina (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_navbox_596184_tips?nodeId=596202) If I can't find it there, I find an international seller on eBay. (Both options tend to get me much better prices as well.)
Regarding my trip - I hope to make it to Lo de Celia (and meet you) - it's definitely on my list. As I am bad with faces (poor eye sight) and worse with names (just poor memory there), I probably won't be able to learn too many of the milongueros before I get there. :-/
Just one small comment on the deodorants/anti-perspirants: those of us with sensitive skin may find all the products you mention very irritating (I've never used an antiperpsirant that didn't turn my armpits into bright red, itchy, burning blobs of pain). In which case, I recommend using the Crystal Deodorant. You can get it in Buenos Aires, too, at some of the health food stores and at the two branches of L'Occitane de Provence here in the city. It's not cheap, but it lasts for literally years. And it works and won't make your armpits itchy or sore.
I`m from Argentina and.. summer is comming.. but i`d like tango so much that i dont care if the girl is sweating. A nice embrance is enough :). In the other hand, as a leader i sweat much, but i have tissues in my pocket to low down as possible. Abrazo milonguero!
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