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5 Secrets People With Clammy Hands Will Never Tell You

Eminem's palms got sweaty before his rap battle, but for you, it's no special occasion.

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I arrived into this world with red hair, blue-gray eyes, and clammy hands. One of those things is still true.

For most of every waking day, my palms are balmy at best, and sweaty bogs at worst. Eminem's palms got sweaty before he had a once-in-a-lifetime rap battle, and Ferris Bueller licked his to fake an illness, but for me, it's no special occasion.

Basically, my palms are almost always wet to the touch, covered in a thin layer of shimmering perspiration. Even though I'm a person who tends to be cold, my hands specifically feel like they're a solid 110. It's not a serious medical condition or anything, but it is plenty of fodder for teasing from my sisters, a governing factor for many behaviors, and the basis for some undeniable truths.

Here, a select few:

1. First of all, it's all day, every day.

Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

I know, I know, everyone gets clammy at some point, and lots of people experience it daily. I'm in a state of nearly perpetual clamminess. If I found out one day that my hands are actually encased in invisible saunas, I'd believe it. Sometimes — when it's hot out, when I'm sick, when I'm nervous (more on that later) — it's really bad, but most of the time, things are just...sticky. So, save for a few rare moments when my palms are actually dry (and, let me tell you, it feels weird when that happens) I'm always feeling clammy.

I'm #blessed, in a way. Left to my own devices, I might assume that we all live a clammy-handed existence and unknowingly haunt people with my ~heat~, but when I was little my sisters loved reminding me how gross I was every time I touched them or grabbed their hand. Being called out on my alien trait at a young age set me up for a lifetime of being hyper-aware of the state of my palms. Case in point...

2. The prospect of shaking someone's hand is enough to make you curl up in a ball under your covers and never come out.

Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

My typical nightmare fuel is no different from most people's: accidentally calling someone "Mom," receiving phone calls from my family after 10 p.m., and, of course, meeting new people. But that last one carries with it a special sort of hell: I will probably have to shake someone's hand at some point.

Certainly in the case of an interview or a first date, I'm hella nervous, and for me, nervousness isn't just a state of mind. It's a physical condition, a many-headed beast. My stomach churns, my skin buzzes, and yes, my hands turn into literal swamps, so much so that I marvel at how it's possible for them to be more clammy than their usual extra-moist condition. Heat and moisture just radiate from them; I feel like I could warm an entire studio apartment with their touch. Just thinking about it is making my palm pores leak like broken faucets.

And no matter how many times I wipe them on my clothes, the sweat regenerates! So when I go in for the shake, I keep it firm but brief, hoping that we can silently, mutually agree that we shan't touch hands ever again. (Yes, this is great for my dating life.)

In a perfect world, handshakes — a swift way to transfer germs, in addition to palm sweat! — would be replaced with hugs and fist bumps. I am a strong proponent of both. But until hugging a potential employer upon first meeting them becomes socially acceptable, I'll have to live in handshake shame and fear.


3. Drying your palms is an eternal challenge.

Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

If moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty, then I'm a fucking goddess. But even a goddess needs to air out sometimes, yanno? Most of the time, I just let my humid palms live, but sometimes I reach a breaking point and need a little quick relief. And when I do, I look to the Three Ws: wiping, waving, and washing hands. A brief explanation:

Wiping: You know, just, sliding your palms on your clothes to wipe off any excess moisture. (Not recommended if you're wearing new jeans.)

Waving: Spreading your fingers as wide as they'll go and doing a little T. rex arm–style waving motion. Similar to what you do after using a shitty air dryer in the bathroom.

Washing hands: This is one my mom suggested, and it's the best way to get some slightly more lasting relief. A quick rinse or wash usually guarantees about 15-20 minutes of solid dryness.

(You can also blow on your palms or place a hot hand on a cool surface and relish that sweet, sweet relief. But those don't start with a W.)

Anyway, those are the traditional cures, and they're great because even though they're only temporary, they're cheap. But those aren't the only ways! Not only am I not alone in my clamminess, I am in some good company. Apparently, sweaty palms are a big problem for tennis players, and they sometimes carry around pockets filled with sawdust (?!?!). There's also antiperspirant hand cream and plain old deodorant, and if all else fails, you can get Botox. On your hands.

Of all of these options, Botox is the only one that seems to offer more than fleeting relief, but unless my hands become life-ruiners, I will just complain about it, because that is my go-to coping mechanism.

4. Sometimes, the clamminess can be more than just a little problematic.

Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

As in, more than just kind of nasty and embarrassing. Nine years ago, I was a junior in high school and taking a lovely little test called the ACT. The first time I took it, I bombed the science portion, so I hunkered down and studied hard to do better the next time around. When the next test date came, I felt slightly more confident.

And then. And THEN. I got to the last section — the science section, because of course — and everything changed. I'd noticed my pencil slipping out of my grip throughout the test, because, well, clamminess does that, but this was 17 years into my life and I was used to the old pencil-down-wipe-palms-continue routine that is still instinct.

But! This time, the palm-wiping didn't work. The questions were tricky, and I was getting worried, which manifested itself on my hands. My fingers kept slipping down to the tip of the pencil, no matter how many times I changed my grip. The more I panicked about how slippery my palm was, the sweatier it got. I waved my hands in the air like I really, truly cared, which offered enough temporary relief to finish a few questions, but I didn't finish the section. And given my less-than-stellar science acumen, the questions I did answer were totally wrong. That much was reflected in my score a few weeks later.

All of this is to say that I blame everything bad that's happened to me since that test on my palms. For all I know, a better future literally slipped through my fingers that day. An alternate version of myself, with hands of a milder microclimate, would have passed that section with flying colors, gotten into Hogwarts, and invented a spell to cure sufferers of sweaty palms (as well as one to stop myself from waving back at someone who wasn't even waving at me).

5. But in the end, it's one of those things that bring us all a little closer together.

Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

If I ruled the world, I'd make everyone hold hands in a circle and sing together, if only so we could embrace our mutual clamminess. But that might take a while. So until that happens, I delight in discovering other people who share my trivial affliction. It's not something I typically shout from the rooftops, but sometimes when I comment on the temperature or some such, someone will chime in about how sweaty their hands are and a tiny bell of celebration goes off in my head.

I've had people tell me they strategically use a dollop of Purell before job interviews so that their hands seem wet from cleanliness. Someone told me they stopped going to church because they didn't want to shake hands at the end. Another person said they try to find their reflection in their glistening palms on particularly ~moist~ days. Still others sometimes place their palms on their legs to see how hot things get.

OK, those last two are me. But that's not the point! The point is that in this cold, cold world, my clammy hands bring me closer together with some people — and let me warm up all the others.