by Marcia Kester Doyle
I’ve been living the menopausal dream since I had my first hot flash several years ago. Yeah, that first warm, prickly sensation climbing up the base of my neck like a hoard of fire ants was fun. It left me bathed in sweat, my mascara forming a black mask around my eyes, like a startled raccoon. That was okay, though—smoky eyes were all the rage.
Since then, I’ve experienced a decline in my estrogen production, which may or may not be the reason I transition from Stepford Wife to rabid beaver in a nanosecond. So what? It’s a fair trade for the end of menstrual cycles. I don’t have to break the bank for a box of feminine products, and I can actually swim in the ocean without attracting the sharks.
I’ll admit that I’ve put on a few pounds since this menopause thing started, but it’s not all bad. I went up a bra size and I finally have a Kardashian butt. My stomach, however, has decided to revert to my pregnancy days, which means that I’m stuck carrying a food baby with the longest gestational period on record.
There’s also no denying that sex has been a little more painful lately since my vagina turned into the Mojave Desert (tumbleweeds included). The good news is that I found these wonderful gel lubricants at the drugstore that keep my libido alive and my lady parts working as smoothly as a Slip N’ Slide.
Hot flashes and night sweats are no joke either, but the sudden bursts of internal heat have come in handy during the winter months. Another benefit: the sweat produced from my hot flashes helps me burn off all those extra calories from the pints of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food I consume in the privacy of my linen closet while the kids watch Netflix.
Even though my family accuses me of behaving like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I’m not ashamed of my rapid mood swings—they add more depth to my character….in a Jack Nicholson sort of way. I’ve learned that a happy medium can always be found between good chocolate, a two hour nap, and some extra strength fiber pills.
Forgetfulness is another symptom of menopause, but hey, do I really want to remember what happened in the bathroom after the time I chugged a bottle of Tabasco sauce at the Sigma Nu mixer in 1985?
I have noticed some subtle changes in my skin since I started the “change of life.”—dry patches, wrinkles, and mysterious brown spots that are a reminder of the summers I spent poolside slathered in baby oil. But now I have an excuse to pamper myself guilt-free with expensive creams that have fancy French names so that my skin doesn’t look a potato that’s been left in the back of the vegetable drawer for too long.
As for the fatigue and insomnia that’s associated with menopause, I’ve found that 3:00 a.m. is the perfect time to tackle my to-do list: alphabetizing my spice rack, ironing my husband’s underwear and bleaching the tile grout at the base of my teen son’s toilet.
The BEST part of menopause? I’m no longer fertile! Yay! No more counting the days on my calendar for premium ovulation times or (god forbid) missed periods. Sex is once again spontaneous, which means I can get freaky with my man in the backseat of a minivan in the parking lot at a Back Street Boys reunion concert.
Who says menopause sucks??