On Tuesday I went for my annual gynae exam and Dr Scott spent the best part of the appointment asking me if I was experiencing a litany of menopausal symptoms. Dear GOD! The List just went on. There are about 35 of them and they are all horrible shockers. I won't go into them all here; just know they're pretty much covered by the words: irregular, sweats, loss, gain, bloat, exhaustion, dryness, moodiness and just as a kicker – tinnitus.
What? Tinnitus? A roaring or ringing in the ears. Yes, I definitely had this one … it was the sound of my youth disappearing off down the highway on the back of a Big Boy.
Moira's own ears perked up: “You know what tinnitus is? Are you experiencing it?” Sure I know what it is, it's a curse of the music biz … lots of rock stars have it – Pete Townsend, Sting, Eric Clapton, Thom Yorke, Bill Clinton. Standing too close to amplifiers for too long will damage your hearing. (Not sure what happened with Bill, though I suspect Pink Floyd's “Have a Cigar”, on repeat, might have had a hand in it. But I digress.) And no, I don't have tinnitus. Nor any of the other verbs, nouns and adjectives that apparently now define my female self.
Afterwards I limped sadly off to Priya – the genius massage therapist. My hip had started playing up and I needed her to fix it. Could it be, I asked timidly, Symptom no 15? Was this the advent of Osteoporosis?
“Oh, no”, she chortled merrily: “menopause is a Western Thing. It's just another way to pigeonhole women in your society. In India we don't even have a word for this. You're stiff because you overdid it at yoga. Nothing to do with age, everything to do with teacher.”
I skipped home and reread the pamphlet Dr Scott had pressed into my hand as I left. Many of the symptoms seemed equal opportunity: irritability, trouble sleeping, feeling ill at ease, disturbing memory lapses, hair loss, changes in body odour, weight gain, anxiety. Why were these all lumped together as a 'female condition'? I know plenty of guys who experience some, if not all, of them.
Which made me wonder: is menopause just the last in a long line of indignities visited on the female population? Yes our bodies change as we get older. Men's do too. But, for some reason taking little blue pills to deal with decreasing testosterone is simply proof that there's a lot of “go” left in the old boy yet. HRT, on the other hand, signals the end of femininity.
Can we agree to put an end to this nonsense right now? To stop permanently assigning fifty-something women to the red tent and let us get Potenzmittel Cialis Generika jetzt in 20mg und 5mg rezeptfrei… on with being exactly what we are? Capable, experienced, resilient and sick of wearing labels.