Winter is gone, spring was never here, and in its place, summer—or something like it—has arrived. The ugly time is past us, the horny time is here, and if you are a person whose upper thighs touch when you stand, walk, lie down, or get a glass of water, congratulations: you’re in Hell. Welcome to summer thigh season, baby. Are you on fire yet?
There is no cutesy name (unless you count “chub rub,” which I don’t) for what happens in the summer when your thighs touch and sweat as you walk, turning your tender, silky flesh to a battle-scarred, hardened carapace the texture and color of a beloved baseball glove. This phenomenon is something that I have thought about at length over the years, spending precious hours and resources on research and development, in search of a solution.
Bike shorts work, but inevitably cause more sweat. Talcum powder, corn starch, or, in a pinch, face powder that you got as a sample at Sephora but never use, are fine for the three minutes you spend putting your shoes on in the hallway, but disintegrate into a nightmarish slurry not entirely dissimilar to the substance found on the soles of new canvas sneakers worn without socks on the first warm day of the year. Deodorant—the antiperspirant kind that gives you cancer—is fine, but has a short shelf life on your actual body. Swipe your thighs, walk one block, and feel the burn.
I have briefly flirted with Bandalettes, a garter-adjacent lace band that you position around your upper thighs like a very wide but incomplete piece of lingerie. Once your thigh meat is properly ensconced, they do what they’re supposed to do, which is create a physical barrier that prevents your legs from trying to start a fire They work, but you still sweat underneath the lace, creating a clammy sensation that is not entirely uncomfortable, but not great either, and also leaves exposed a very specific slice of your buttcheek/underbutt region which feels somewhat inappropriate.
The only thing that truly works—for me, for you, for everyone, maybe—is Body Glide, a magical balm that comes in a tube like deodorant and is used for people who do not want to chafe. I discovered this solution far too late in life, and am now panicky when I’m without it. (Gold Bond makes an inferior solution that I have as a backup for the pre-summer months, before I’ve trotted to the sporting goods store and forked over $10 for chafe prevention.) It is comfortable. It is easy to use. It has not made me break out in hives or a rash, nor has it aggravated ingrown hairs, shaving concerns, or really anything else that could be happening in that zone. In short, it is a revelation, and I would not dare go anywhere that is not air-conditioned in the summer without it.
The ritual is best performed in the privacy of your own home, as there is nothing particularly graceful about it; you will look like you’re bending over and rooting around in your coochie as if it were a handbag you forgot about, but fuck it, who cares! Swipe one to five smears on the inside of your thighs, finish getting dressed, go about your day. Marvel at day’s end, when you no longer need to fall asleep straddling a bag of frozen peas to soothe your heat rash. Body Glide, bitch. Be free.