Am I in Hell or is it just summertime?

It not the heat it’s the damned humidity!

You hear that plenty down here in the South. And it’s true! Our close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico means that the air is pretty well waterlogged with tropical moisture. And while this muggy climate is great for your skin, it’s bad for your health. You see the body depends on the evaporation of sweat to cool itself, and when it’s so sticky outside, it takes longer for the sweat to evaporate and you feel hotter. And being the colorful people that we are, there are a few idioms to describe just how much this humidity causes one to perspire:

I’m sweating to death!

We were sweating buckets!

I’m sweating bullets!

He’s sweating like a preacher reading a love letter!

She’s sweating like a whore in Sunday School. (Or, in the alternative, she’s sweating like a whore on nickel night.)

I should pause here to say that in the South, we don’t really sweat. As the old saying goes, “Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glow.” And let me tell you, now that we’re all up into June, I’ve been “glowing” my fanny off, which brings me to the main topic of today’s post — the heat.

The higher the mercury rises in the summertime, the more colorful Southerners get when they describe just how hot they really are. And before you read on, let me put a little warning in right here. Some of these idioms range from slightly off-color to downright obscene. If you are offended by dirty words or references to anatomy “down there,” I’ll give you a clue when to quit reading.

Now, that we’ve gotten that little formality out of the way, when that good old sun is beating down on you, you might say:

I’m burning slap up! (Sometimes it sure does feel like it!)

It’s hotter than blue blazes! (Which we all know is the hottest part of the flame.)

It’s hotter than fish grease! (If you’ve ever fried something and gotten spattered by the grease, you know just how hot this is.)

Hotter than a two-dollar pistol! And sometimes it’s hotter than a two-dollar pistol on a Saturday night!

It’s as hot as all get out! (Not just any get out. ALL get out.)

It’s a hundred degrees in the shade!

It’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk! (Or the hood of your car or truck.)

It’s hotter than Hell and half of Georgia! (As if one or the other isn’t enough!)

Of course, there are the inevitable comparisons to the hottest of all hot places, and if you’ve spent an August in Alabama, you’ll know why. That’s when:

It’s hot as Hell! (Or hotter than Hades if you’re in polite company and can’t say H-E-double-hockey-sticks.)

It’s hotter than the hubs of Hell! (I’ve always wondered just what these “hubs” were. Turns out the word comes from “hob” which is a shelf-like thing at the back or on the side of a fireplace where you’d put something to keep it warm but not burning.)

It’s hotter than forty hells! (This is my go-to, but I’ve heard everything from three to two hundred. Suffice it to say, even one hell is plenty hot.)

It’s twelve degrees hotter than Hell’s dishwater!

It’s hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hell!

If you’re easily offended, you should probably take this opportunity to avert your eyes. But if you want to throw caution to the wind, keep right on reading with your ribald self! When it’s really, really hot, well then:

It’s hotter than Satan’s taint!

It’s hotter than two rats f-ing in a wool sock! (I’ve also heard “two mice making love in a wool sock” and “two squirrels kissing in a wool sock” which I think paints a nicer picture and would work in semi-polite company.)

It’s hotter than a two-peckered billy goat in a room full of nannies!

It’s hotter than forty f-cks! (I don’t know why the number forty keeps coming up, do you?)

It’s hotter than a freshly f-cked fox in a pepper patch! (This one wins the prize for best use of alliteration.)

And there’s one question that always, always gets asked. Now I maintain that it’s probably one of the most pointless attempts at conversation you’ll ever hear, especially when people are hot, and tired, and cranky. No matter. People down here just love to use it anyway. But now that your arsenal is full of new idioms, you’ll always be armed with an answer when someone asks:

Is it hot enough for ya?

(Have you gotten your copy of my new book, They Call Me Orange Juice? If you’re in Birmingham, head over to Little Professor Book Center or Church Street Coffee & Books, and in Citronelle, you can get one at Jeanna’s Flower Shop. Or you can order your copy today!)