Hollywood Hayes – Sweating

Hollywood Hayes

“Mark, can you stop sweating?”


“You need to stop. It’s showing on camera.”

It’s not on purpose.

“OK, we’re done here.”


“Get out.”

Auditions are some laugh.

In my defence, it was 100 degrees with about 98% humidity. LA is a cauldron.

Same again yesterday. Needed to take a photo for this column. Went up to the top of the Hollywood Hills to pose by the Hollywood sign. Iconic!

“We’ll go at Golden Hour,” the photographer told me, “Perfect light.” Sounds good, later in the day, it’ll be cool by then. How wrong, stupid, dumb.

Get to the sign. 5.30PM. Still 95 degrees. Sun, full blast, right in my face. Squinting. Sweating. Swearing. Come on to Christ, take the photo.

“What are you doing with your mouth?”


“Can you stop? Looks awful.”

No problem, I don’t know how to smile anyway.

“You’re still doing it.”

Turns out I wasn’t smiling; I was licking sweat off my lips because a waterfall was pouring down my face. At least we got the shot. Ahem. (100 photos, 5 were useable.)

LA wasn’t always this hot. Five years ago it was “Oh this heat is nice” but now thanks to global warming it’s more “Oh this heat might kill me.”

Summer is almost unbearable. Passing out. Losing hope. Nearly giving up on life. Leave my house, within five minutes: Headache. Dodgy stomach. Terrorized bowels. I think the problem is that I’m wearing pants.

First time I had a big meeting in Beverly Hills I wore shorts, a sleeveless t-shirt and flip-flops. Might have forgotten to comb my hair as well that day. My friend, who set up the meeting to introduce me to a good agent, looked at me aghast, like I showed up holding a dead rat in my mouth.

“Why did you come looking like a homeless person?” she said, “Never again.”

Since then I make the effort. Pants. Shoes. Socks. Shirt. Combed. Groomed. Dancing. Until I have to step out into the blistering heat and buckets of water start gushing out of me, burst pipes everywhere.

Now I show up to a meeting and greet the person with a wet, sweaty, clammy handshake. Good first impression, well done me. Killing it in this town.

I used to sweat like a baboon back in Ireland too though. One of the reasons I left. Couldn’t hack it any more. Wasn’t the heat, more the humidity, used to humiliate me.

I remember my first year in U.C.C doing BIS. My Dad would drop me off on Grand Parade in the morning on his way to work and I’d have to walk the rest of the way. That twenty-minute walk was the death of me.

College bag on one puny shoulder, gym bag on the other, trudging along, just being a weak man, complaining all the way that the wind, rain and humidity were ruining my precious hair.

By the time I got to the Boole Library for my first lecture I was a complete mess. Sweat dripping, clothes wet from the rain, walking into what felt like a fiery furnace, the old creaky radiators on full blast every single time no matter how warm it already was in the lecture hall. Hair. Day. Ruined.

Thought I’d fare better in America. Thought my body would adapt. Clueless.

First time I was on the west coast and got a case of uncontrollable sweats out at a bar, my buddy Krin and I came up with a plan to hide my sweat patches: Why not wet my entire t-shirt so that the patches blend in and I can cool down? Genius!

After about thirty seconds of trying to cover me with handfuls of tap water we realised how stupid it was and how dumb I looked. So we stopped.

Thankfully my other buddy Jim Bolster did actually have some good advice for me when I arrived in LA (he had been living in New York and was wiser than me). Two words, he said to me, two words that changed my life: Baby powder.

Applying it morning, noon and night to various parts of my body ever since, can’t leave the house without it. Keeps the middle of my body sweat free now at least.

On the rare occasion I do forget to put it on I actually go back home from a night out just to powder up. Can’t function otherwise. I’m addicted. Baby powder is my cocaine. I’ll never give up the white stuff.

Also found a roll-on deodorant that’s made out of some silver-aluminum-metal concoction that surely isn’t good for me (dyes some of my clothes orange) but at least it stops me from getting embarrassing sweat patches under my arms, so that’s nice.

Problem now is the rest of my body. Sweat has to come out somewhere, hence the sweaty head, stomach, feet and knees, all of which come flooding to the fore when I have to do work of any kind. No wonder I haven’t made it big here yet, tut tut.

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