Hey Big Daddy,
I’m a lobbyist and I have a problem: I have sweaty palms. It’s not that I’m
particularly nervous or anything, it’s just that my palms are naturally
sweaty, even when it’s cold outside. In my business, I have to shake hands
with lots of people and sweaty palms can send the wrong signal. What should
–Betty in Benicia
Dear Sweaty Betty-
There’s nothing like a case of palmar hyperhidrosis to send a woman
scurrying for a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute? to help her figure out
what line of work she ought to be in.
There’s a part of me that’s saddened to hear that nerves or fear is not the
cause of your problem. There was a time when members, as a matter of course,
put lobbyists through their paces to see if they had the smarts and the
skills to stand up to the most severe grilling possible. Survive the
grilling, and your stock–not to mention the stock of your clients–would
rise. But crack under pressure, or get caught stretching the truth by an
experienced chairman who knew the answer to the question before he asked it,
and it was time to turn your attention to the help-wanted ads.
Point being, assuming there is a point, is that your problem sounds
physical, not psychological. Assuming you don’t want to change careers at
this point and become a soccer player or a porn star, you can try keeping a
handkerchief in your pocket. If you know you’re going to be walking into a
legislator’s office, a rag in the bag could help reduce the embarrassing
sweat situation. Of course, this won’t cure the unexpected run in with the
pro tem at the video store, but it may help.
Carry a rosin bag with you and give it a good tap before shaking hands with
someone. Better to be thought of as a quirky baseball fanatic than a crazy
person with sweaty palms. And, you won’t smell like baby powder all day. Or,
try carrying a rolled-up copy of Capitol Weekly in your hand and giving
folks a “shoulder-whack hello” in place of the traditional handshake.
Warning: this one gets real old real fast.
Of course, you always could get hired by the state. The state’s lucrative
pension plan would probably cover hyperhidrosis surgery to get rid of those
sweaty palms once and for all. And, I’ll bet you’d reduce your golf handicap
by a couple of strokes in the process.
Speaking of doctors, you may want to check with yours, just in case.
Sometimes, sweaty palms can be just a social embarrassment. But it can also
be an indication of another, more serious medical condition.
Or, if you’re really desperate, there is a small electrical device that runs
on a 9-volt battery that allows you to “shock yourself dry.” Of course, this
could lead to the embarrassment of disclosing a vibrating, battery-operated
device in your purse every time you go through Capitol security. But, trust
me, you wouldn’t be the first.