When you have big thighs that touch when you walk, summer is your worst nightmare. Friction creates heat rash, which creates painful, tender bumps that find you laying in front of an air conditioner with ice packs on your thighs, which you then stuff into pants on a 90-degree day because you're waiting for the rash to quiet itself before you put on a dress, and do the whole thing over again.
Chub rub is something nobody really talks about, which is why I thought a recent trip to hot, swampy New Orleans might be the perfect place to test out four chub rub solutions.
Test Product 1: Body Glide
Body Glide is an anti-chafing balm that athletes use to prevent the chafing that can occur when your wicking performance wear Dri-Mesh jersey rubs against your skin as you run a marathon or climb a mountain. I was going to be walking down Bourbon Street with a drink in my hand for like 10 hours — basically the same thing.
The Activities: A day-to-night walking and drinking extravaganza around New Orleans.
I decided to ease myself into this experiment gently by using a product I was already familiar with — Bodyglide. The humidity in New Orleans is no joke. Plus, the summer has been slow to start in New York, so my body is not adequately prepared to sweat at all times. For our first night of walking, drinking, eating dinner, and dancing, I swiped on the Glide — a process that looks like you're masturbating, from afar — and went about my business.
The Results: The Glide has never let me down. When we finally made it home after that very long, very hot night, my thighs were red, but not irritated — no bumps, no tenderness, no pain. You still sweat, of course, but you don't feel like your legs are on fire. It's magic.
Test Product 2: Schmidt's Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Deodorant
The Activities: A swamp tour, fried chicken from Popeyes, dancing at the Hi-Ho Lounge.
Riding high from my victory of the first day and knowing that I’d be spending most of my day on a pontoon boat, seated, I opted for that I thought would work just as well as my beloved Body Glide. It smells medicinal and earthy, with the same consistency as Body Glide. It’s nonoffensive but not something I’d necessarily want my armpits to smell like, either. I dig a nail into the jar and come up with a lot more than the recommended “pea-size” amount, because peas are small and the area meant to be covered is not so much. The stuff crumbles in my hand.
“All of these pictures look like you’re pleasuring yourself,” my friend tells me as we stage a photo shoot in the corner of the Airbnb we’re staying in. He’s not wrong. Eventually I end up mashing it into my skin in clumps and massage it in, as if applying a spice rub to a side of beef.
The Results: Halfway through the swamp tour, I shift positions and I feel my thighs stuck together, clinging for dear life. I do my best to separate them, and it hurts a little, but nothing too painful. It’s just a gentle reminder that they are indeed there, and it is 90 degrees and humid, and I am sitting in a swamp. We head home to eat Popeyes for dinner, and then out to the Hi-Ho Lounge for dancing. It is too hot to dance. I opt to drink Abita Strawberry and gossip. When I get home, I am pleased to see that there is no sign of heat rash. Not bad, natural deodorant. Not bad.
Test Product 3: Shorts and Baby Powder
The Activities: Brunch, crawfish, slowly walking to Audubon Park and down Magazine Street.
I hate shorts. I hate the way they bunch. I hate stopping every few blocks to discretely tug them from the vice grip of my inner thighs. I hate how they are not effortless or casual, but merely something else to worry about. But, I wanted to give my legs a break. Since we weren’t doing anything strenuous, I put on the only pair of shorts I brought. As a precaution against the fact that my shorts would soon find their way up to my vagina, as if my magnetic attraction, I used some Gold Bond, too.
The Results: As you can imagine, the application process for this was less than ideal. I clapped a bunch into my hands and then patted them into my thighs, where it simply disappeared. Halfway through brunch, though, I could tell that if we were going to do anything more strenuous than walking three blocks very slowly, I wouldn’t survive the chub rub. I ducked into a Buffalo Exchange and bought a dress that I changed into in the bathroom of a Smashburger. I was too hot, and the shorts were only exacerbating what was surely a five-alarm fire on my legs.
Test Product 4: Bandalettes
The Activities: Cleaning up the Airbnb, a brief swim in a pool, pho, Game of Thrones
Today was the day we checked out of our Airbnb, so I put on the dress I had bought the day before and wiggled my way into Bandalettes, which are nonslip anti-chafing thigh bands designed to prevent chub rub. We didn’t really do much that day, as our bodies and minds were all exhausted from drinking consistently in the sun for what was almost a week.
The Results: My thighs were protected, because there was an actual layer of fabric shielding them from each other, but the lower quadrant of my butt was exposed, which felt illicit and weird. The sweat that would’ve normally accumulated on my thighs was displaced to the bottom half of each cheek, a sensation that wasn’t entirely pleasant. Wearing the Bandalettes, however, was wonderful. My fears about them falling down my legs at inopportune times was unfounded. They stayed up as if they were glued to my actual body. I loved this option so much that I wore them on the plane home. Praise hands emoji. Two thumbs up. #blessed.