Warm summer days in the South are not uncommon and the Dog Days of Summer take things to another level. For the most part, we don’t mind sweat because we know it’s good for us. Sweat is an equalizer for all people…somewhat that is.
I recall a conversation with Ginny Biddle in Conway SC. We were talking about the hot weather and the sweat of summer. She reminded me that horses sweat, men perspire and women glisten. This expression seems to have originated from the Victorian era. I listened as she explained and later I did a bit of research because I know that sometimes etiquette suggest we say things in a politer way, and often, there is good reason.
As it turns out men do in fact sweat or perspire more than women do, by as much as 4-5 times. It is also of interest that horses do have a few things in common with humans and two of those common traits are armpits and sweat. I realize that the horse has legs and not arms, non-the-less the correct expression is armpit and not legpit.
As it relates to sweating or perspiring for men. If you look back in time we will see that the many cultures used the expression that men perspire and animals sweat. But time has progressed and for good or not humans are often classified as sweating. I even asked three of the ladies at the office if they sweat and each answered yes. One even said that her husband glistened far more than she.
So, what’s all this got to do with summer heat, well just about as much as dogs have to do with the Dog Days of Summer. It’s easy to ponder the lazy days of summer with our dogs stretched out and not eager to do anything that requires a lot of energy or at least not for an extended period. We humans can find ourselves feeling a bit the same. It’s just too hot to do much, the heat seems to take away our energy. We spend much of our energy trying to find ways to cool off.
We have established annual traditions that take us high in the mountain for shade and cooler weather or off to the coast we go to play in the waters and then lay in the sun and crisp our skins, which does in fact make us feel cooler when the burn stops.
The Dog Days of Summer are normally the hottest days of the year and last between early July and mid-August. It all goes back to the Greek, Roman and Egyptian ideas and mythology. The star Sirius which is represented by the dog apparently rises with the sun during this time of the year.
It was thought that when joined with the sun, Sirius A which is the brightest of the night stars, and with its smaller counterpart Sirius B creates our hottest, haziest and yes laziest days of the year.
When you consider the geography of Rome, Greece and Egypt compared to the Carolinas, it’s tough to tell if the idea is valid, however it is hard to dismiss the heat of our summer days.
And how can we deny the sweating horses, the perspiring men and the glistening women all surrounded by our beloved lazy hounds of summer.
Please remember to apply sunscreen.