Sunday, October 9, 2011

What Not to Wear: The Menopause Edition

No matter the weather, this woman is warm. Flushed. Burning up.
I don’t really get hot flashes, the way other women describe them. That counts for “lucky” in menopause. I do have three temperature stages: a warm, a warmer, and a heck no, you may not turn up the heat stage.
It’s in the 50s at night here; the windows are open, the curtains are fluttering. I’m in shorts and a tank top. I’m feeling fine!
I told a friend I fantasized about icebergs. I do! If I had an iceberg in my back yard, I would so throw down a faux fur blanket--don’t want my skin to stick to the ice--and lie down on that icy little bit of heaven. My heart races to think of it. Or is that just a menopausal palpitation?
Since there is no iceberg in my backyard, I do have my alternative. An industrial size ice gel pack. Yes, instead of the hot-water bottle or electric blanket of the non-menopausal, I cuddle up to my ice pack each night. Ahh, bliss.
Getting dressed for work has gotten complicated. I’m no exhibitionist, but how can I keep cool while maintaining my middle-aged school teacher façade?
The best I can do in fall and winter is a sleeveless shell with a ¾ sleeve open cardigan, paired with loose cottony slacks. While I’m not thrilled with showing my upper arms (there is muscle in there, it just has a little padding on top), I don’t hesitate to whip off the cardigan and show my wings. If someone doesn’t like it, aye carumba, they can look the other way.
Clothing items and accessories that are on my “menopausal what-not-to-wear” list: turtlenecks of any neck style/sleeve length, blazers, boots, scarves, heavy winter coats, fluffy-heavy bath robes, flannel nighties, slankets, snuggies, anything wool.
I’m most sad about the boots and scarves. I love the look of boots on other people, but they are impossibly hot and confining for me. Scarves, so fashionable right now, would do wonders for disguising my middle-aged neck, but I would positively suffocate. As Nora Ephron said in the title of her funny treatise on women at mid-life, “I feel bad about my neck.” But not bad enough to choke myself in a scarf of any kind.
So I soldier on, as do millions of other menopausals, sleeveless through the fall and winter, hatless, coatless, with two spare sticks of Secret antiperspirant in the desk drawer. My portable fan lifting my locks, I soldier on.
That woman you see, running barefoot in the snow, skiing in her skivvies, snowshoeing wearing only a smile? That might be me. Please don’t call 911.
 I’m just having a menopause what-not-to-wear moment.
Do you have any tips for staying cool? Do you fight the battle of the thermostat? Suggestions gratefully accepted!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, I fight the battle of the thermostat> We see to be having an exceptionally mid winter as well and I am drenched in sweat way too often. It's hard b/c the mornings are very cool but then by lunchtime I want to peel all the layers off -- I feel it the worst in the car. I jsut want to blast the air conditioning. ANd winter shoes? they don't work so well this year. I LOVE my boots but not when it gets hot.