Saturday, May 19, 2012

Menopausal Mean

 I'm a pretty likable person. Dependable. Responsible. Compassionate. I'll laugh at your corny jokes just because you think they're funny. I'll let my fettuccine Alfredo congeal while I sit on the phone and listen to your latest family drama that sounds like it was scripted from the Bravo channel. I'll even babysit your pet wolverine and never, ever force you to attend a Tupperware party with me. I'm the loyal friend/wife/mother whom everyone likes to have in their corner.
     But then there are those ominous days when I'm ready to whip out the chain saw, and you'd better start running if you don't want to lose a limb...or something worse. Blame it on the moon, hormonal imbalance or the fact that ABC cancelled Desperate Housewives; I have no explanation for it. There are no warning bells or weather forecasts advising you of an impending hurricane. It just...happens, and that's when I become the Luke Skywalker you never knew---the one who gives in to the dark side. The kids take cover and the husband decides it's time to actually run all those errands I asked him to do six months ago (sorry, but you can't use snow shoveling as an excuse in July). My lightning temper and Medusa gaze will turn you into ashes or stone, so the LAST thing I want you to
do is tell me that someone already ate that last slice of chocolate rum pie in the refrigerator. Or that you accidentally threw my favorite "dry clean only" blouse in the washing machine.
     Years ago when my mother was angry over a perceived injustice in our house, she'd threaten, "Heads are going to roll!"  As a teenager, I thought that was a bit drastic, if not archaic.
     Now I understand. Hot flashes. Insomnia. Mood swings. Weight gain. Bloating. And for crying-out-loud, thinning hair! Little crop circles are forming at my temples from years of ponytail abuse. Suddenly I've morphed into the sadistic Queen Of Hearts shrieking after Alice, "Off with her head!" No Pollyanna sweetness here while I'm in the throes of a menopausal meltdown. You'd better learn to duck, dodge and snap on some protective gear.
     It takes a day or two (okay a week) for my sanity to return. Once I've purged those nasty, ill feelings like an overdose of bad seafood, I make sure that the carnage I've caused has been neatly vacuumed away and peace restored to the kingdom.
     And what about the king? Men rarely get much notice in the matters of menopause. They can "share" in our pregnancy joys and woes, but I don't know any man willing to take on night sweats, fatigue, cellulite or vaginal dryness second only to the Sahara Desert (yes, I said it). They don't ask for these symptoms but they suffer through them anyway, because most women don't want to deal with this stuff alone. Misery loves company after all.
     I know plenty of females dealing with this so-called "awesome" change-of-life experience. And some of them deserve it. But what do the husbands do when their wives switch from sporting a Victoria's Secret wardrobe to wearing large, flower print tarps and fluorescent Crocs?
     For the "maleopause" perspective, I turned to my friend and fellow blogger Kc, and asked him to fill in the gaps here for the bewildered females teetering on the edge of hormonal imbalance.
     The first time I read Kc's blog at  I was hooked. He shoots straight from the hip with blog posts that are witty, raw and opinionated, and I find his honesty a refreshing change in the blogosphere world. His posts make you think, possibly spark a debate or two, but his sharp command of the English language and unique brand of humor keeps me coming back for more...which is why I have asked him to do me the honor here of sharing his perspective on "maleopause."


     I'm honored that Menopausal Mother asked me to write a little something from the male perspective about female menopause. I warn you, I'm not a church deacon, nor am I "ecologically focused." I'm just like all the men you know, but I have a pen. I said a pen!
     Some perspective. Half of me says I'm not worthy; the other half says I have a valid point of view, and the third half says, "run away---danger lieth ahead!" I guess that makes three halves, which explains why I can't do my jacket up anymore. Menopausal Mother is a gifted writer, and her readers mean a lot to her. I hope I don't offend them all!  

     Let me give you a simple primer from the male perspective. As you might suspect (they are going to kick me out of the club for this), men are not that complicated. Our "feelings" are something we show ONLY if we think it might get you to take your shirt off. We have only two emotional states---hungry for food and hungry for...something else.                                          
     But there is a deeper perspective.
     One that we don't talk about in front of you.
     The other truism is that we are all scared, little boys inside. We are afraid that you won't like us; that you will think we are weak and that we can't fix everything(or anything) just by squaring our jaw and forging ahead. We're desperately afraid that you aren't happy, and truth be told, we'd give up anything we have to make you happy. Now, we can't TELL you these things because the first rule of the Fight Club is that you don't talk about the Fight Club, but we really do think about it.
     You gotta trust me on this one.
     We can't fix what you are going through, so we make rude jokes, fiddle with tools, watch sports on TV, give each other high fives and hope that you all don't notice that we are essentially useless. And we men take as a given that we cannot tell you how much we really, really, really care about you. And that is hard.
     Maleopause is a myth. It is punctuated by loud cars, "road trips" and ogling 25 year old waitresses in a ridiculous, compensatory, desperate and flaccid attempt at pretending that we still have relevance in your lives; our own lives are actually measured more by what YOU do, than what we've done.
     Your grace and beauty at this time in your lives is something we can never understand or appreciate or even cope with. So the next time we open a door for you, or pull back a chair at a restaurant or even call you "Honey",  know that it comes straight from the heart, and we mean it. With all our hearts. We're just too weak and scared to say it.
     And every once in a long while if you could forget your shirt, that would be okay, too...


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