So, I discover that pretty much all my friends are also menopausal . Me being me, I couldn’t keep my trap shut about it, so have been telling everybody who inquires after my health, male or female.
It’s a right conversation starter, let me tell you. “How are you?” “Oh, you know, fine. Got the menopause the other day.” I try to deliver the news with as much nonchalance as if I were talking about a new hair sofa.
The best fun is telling the blokes (those hormones must definitely be working, because I’m getting my sense of mischief back). Certainly sorts the men from the boys, I can tell you. I suppose most women are quite coy about the m-word, so the poor men are not very used to having it flung in their faces.
Seeing their discomfort only makes it more fun. Besides, it’s good for them to know. Helps with their empathy vacuum.
Besides, I’m incredibly lucky. My husband is very in touch with his inner girl when it comes to matters hormonal. He understands, and sympathises. He’s not embarrassed, either for himself or on my behalf. As far as he's concerned, if it's making me ill it's as much his problem as it is mine. He’s a bloody superhero in that respect.
Some men might be ashamed to discover their wife has officially been reclassified by Mother Nature as an old crone. Not him. Emotionally this means so much to me. It is proof, if you like, that he really loves me. Not that I needed it, but you know what I mean.
Anyway, enough with the soppy stuff. Back to the girls. Turns out at least three of my female friends are in the same boat. And we’re all the same age: well below national average. We’re all being driven half mad by our hormones.
We get together and drink too much and share horror stories. While our symptoms are broadly the same, they vary subtly from person to person. One is afflicted by helpless rage. She’s furious, almost all of the time. She drives like a maniac, scattering pedestrians and cyclists in her wake. She’s taken up smoking again, chugging away furiously as though her life depended on it. She’s quite mad, and hilarious. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she says, as she stands by my back door, frantically dragging on a gasper. ‘Fuck this for a game of soldiers.’
Quite. We all have something else in common: busy, stressful lives, demanding careers. A factor, perhaps? Someone should do one of those double blind studies.
There’s something else, too. At least two of us have added small, cute furry things to the menagerie of our households. I realise now, in retrospect, why I was so desperate to get the new puppy, Muffin. It was my hormones. Even if she wasn’t impossibly adorable, she’s so clearly a baby substitute it’s almost embarrassing. Talk about a cliché.