The first time it takes possession of your body you’ll be surrounded by people wearing fancy clothes or a suit. You would be in a meeting in winter or in the middle of a room with an air condition close to sub zero and every other person complaining of the “Cold”. Not YOU! You are almost suffocating with a heat wave that takes you by surprise and leaves you sweating like a pig, breathless, with telltales marks on your face, clothes, hair…. You can bet that someone from the group of persons surrounding you is bound to notice. It will be one of the ladies that you can’t stand who is always picking at you or the obnoxious young man who’s always trying to get in the boss’s good graces. With all the fake solicitude they can master they will ask you in their loudest voice, making sure everyone hears: ”Are you feeling well? You’re covered in sweat! Have you got some kind of fever?” People stop talking and you feel that all eyes are fixed on you. You want to be 1000 feet under the ground, disappear in thin air but you can’t. You mumble a few incomprehensible words, put on a brave little smile and dismiss the matter by inventing some lame excuse that doesn’t match the sweaty state you’re in and try to divert the conversation to some other subject.
Finally you can discreetly go to the restroom to be on your own, far from those curious eyes. You’re drenched in sweat, don’t have any other clothes on hand and you try to find a solution to the disaster at hand. You try more or less to hide the crime evidence. You’re in a state of shock and only now starting to understand that you’ve succumbed to a “Hot Flash”. Nothing has prepared you to this invasion. You’re devastated by how much it has affected you both physically and mentally. You can’t be in denial any more; you are officially starting the Menopause era.
Here is the definition of Menopause according to Wikipedia: “Menopause is the cessation of a woman’s reproductive ability…. Menopause is usually a natural change; it typically occurs in women in midlife, during their late 40s or early 50s, signaling the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life.”
This is IT. In this restroom, it feels for you as if it’s the end of the world. The world of the youth, of the most hated monthly menstruations, of the pre-midlife. As with all shocking realities, the effect will decrease and you’ll get used to these moments of discomfort and will be always prepared with a change of clothes just in case. Occasionally a woman will grace you with a knowing eye and you’ll feel a strange bond with a total stranger who’s been there and understands what you’re going through. Eventually you’ll laugh about it with your girlfriends but will be less tolerant with the kids, hubbies and anyone who questions your moods by referring to the M word.
I would recommend the movie “Hot Flashes” starring Brooke Shields. It didn’t make history in filmmaking but it will reflect women’s feelings and “their new world”during that period.