Sometimes getting wet is unavoidable; it’s how we act around all the dry people that defines us.
Getting really stinking wet could happen to anyone at any time. Perhaps you were the only person at the zoo who ignored the 100% rain forecast and didn’t bring an umbrella or poncho. Maybe you had to walk five miles in 100º weather after your car broke down and sweated through your outfit. Or maybe some asshat pushed you into a creek while you bent over to get a picture of a frog. Whatever the reason, being the only person in a large crowd who is soaked to the bone can be embarrassing. How do we cope with such situations?
A lot of it depends on where you’re going—church, school, work, hanging out with friends, etc.—but you can bet you’ll get some odd looks if you’re dripping wet. Let’s explore some ways to try to forget your wetness and move on.
Peppi got really wet and then got embarrassed
Everyone from the company was set to meet at a high-end bar, Baxter’s, for happy hour drinks to bid adieu to longtime accounting manager Lee. Ever the cheapskate, Peppi from HR balked at the idea of paying $5 for valet and instead parked pretty far away on a residential street, even though it was starting to sprinkle. By the time she was halfway to the bar, the skies opened up and the rains really started to come down. Holding a purse over her head, she scampered as fast as her little high heels could go down the sidewalk.
When she arrived at the bar out of breath, she was drenched. As she approached the table, someone made snide remarks about a wet t-shirt contest breaking out. Everyone turned and looked. Peppi was so humiliated she considered leaving. How could she face her co-workers, and how would she make it through happy hour as wet as a fish?!
Start by trying to remedy the situation
The first response should be to attempt to dry yourself off and/or fix your appearance as best as possible. No, you’re not going to go from dripping wet to dry and comfortable, but minimizing the wetness should help. It generally comes down to where you are and what resources are available to you, like your car, a suitcase, a private restroom, etc.
- Wring out your clothes, if possible. At your earliest convenience, head to the nearest area of privacy and twist as much water out of your clothing as possible. Clothes will dry much faster if you reduce the moisture in them.
- Try to dry off the best you can. It should go without saying that if you are drenched, you should try to dry yourself off. This could mean anything from wiping down with paper towels in the bathroom to holding your shirt over a vent.
- Change clothes, if possible. If the situation permits, consider changing your outfit. If you’re somewhere that sells clothes, you might consider buying a new shirt and carrying your wet clothes around in a plastic bag. If you’re around familiar people, see if anyone has dry clothes you can borrow. Maybe you even have an old t-shirt in your trunk? Get creative!
- Re-apply makeup, comb hair, etc. Maybe your clothes are screwed, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a total loss. Wipe your face off and fix that mop on your head. You need to have some semblance of having it together.
- Take action with phones, keys, etc. For objects that may fail if they get wet, by all means take a moment to dry off your phone and other items.
Next, consider how you will interact with dry people.
Perhaps you were able to dry off a bit, but if not, don’t fret. The tips that follow pertain to everyone. You’re now ready to face the music and enter an area where you will be seen. Your next objective will be to answer to why you’re so wet. This is oftentimes never prompted, but you might want to be proactive and get ahead of any questioning.
- Explain why you’re so wet. Right off the bat, just let everyone else know that you’re aware that you’re soaked, and give the reason why.
- Tell the truth. Sometimes the truth is best. Whether that’s “I broke through the ice and am freezing and soaking wet” or “I parked six blocks away and didn’t have an umbrella and it started to rain” or simply “I’ve been at a baseball game in 105º weather for the last four hours,” letting people know why you’re so wet will get it out of the way.
- Lie, for the sake of people taking sympathy on you. If the real reason you got so wet and no one else did was because of your own stupidity, you may choose to save some face and make up a sob story. If you slipped and fell in a koi pond, perhaps tell everyone you were pushed in by a mugger. If you were the only person who chose to take off your poncho as the Maid of the Mist approached Niagara Falls, perhaps tell everyone you gave your poncho to a small child whose poncho ripped.
- Don’t explain anything. Showing your annoyance with the situation by not telling people what happened is a good way to get them to shift their focus elsewhere. “Don’t even get me started, Diane. I’m soaked, I’m uncomfortable, I’m humiliated, let’s just move on.”
- Let people know whether or not you’re bothered by being the only wet one.
- If you’re not bothered, people will forget about it. “Hey I just didn’t feel like carrying an umbrella all day. Who cares, it’s just water, right?” This can work out well for people who love being the center of attention at any cost.
- Some people could take this opportunity to laugh at your expense. Announcing that you are bothered by it might make them shut their mouths. “Yes, of course I’m upset, I have to sit on a plane for four hours like this!”
- Try to get comfortable. Assuming you can’t just go grab a towel and throw on new clothes, you’ll need to live with your wet self for some period of time. If you’re wet because of sweating, maybe sitting still in an ice cold AC’d room is just what you need. If you got rained on, maybe warming up is in order. Try to position yourself in a favorable way, or kick off wet socks and shoes to keep your feet from shriveling up.
- Plan how you will eventually get dried off. Maybe you can sit through a movie in wet clothes, but sooner or later you will need to get fully dried off. Figure out when that time will be. If you’re at work, can you run home over lunch break and change? If you’re on vacation, when can you head back to the hotel? You will need a game plan sooner or later to get back to normalcy.
If all else fails and you are unable to cope with being the only wet person, get someone else wet! If someone laughs at you, dump a cup of water over their head and ask them “how do you like it?!”
My Hot Take
I am frequently the only wet person, and it’s usually due to sweating. As a native Midwesterner now living in central Texas, I haven’t acclimated at all to the heat even after seven years. I pack extra shirts with me if I’ll be out and about, full well knowing five minutes of brisk walking outdoors between April and October likely means sweating completely through a shirt. I also never take precautions in the event of rain. I’m almost always of the mindset of “who cares, it’s just water.” Unless I know I’ll have to sit in wet clothes for many hours, I’ll bypass an umbrella and just go with it.