“I think I might be going through menopause,” said a 46-year-old friend the other night, somewhat incredulously. “Is that possible?”
Her periods had stopped, and she was having massive mood swings so odds were she was.
“Are you having hot flashes?” I inquired, probably a bit too eagerly. I think I was putting out a tangible ‘misery loves company’ vibe, as I excitedly explained that she could now look forward to boiling from the inside while sweat pools under her eyes for the next (google it) seven to ten years!
My fluctuating hormonal levels have been very strategic for years now, sending waves of searing heat at the most inopportune moments – when I lie down to sleep, when I am having my hair blow-dried, straight after I apply makeup, or when I am about to give a presentation to a large group of people.
I was talking to a group of students last week and before I began my PowerPoint, I grabbed the air conditioner remote. “So, is everyone okay if I set it to 17 degrees?” I said breezily to an astonished audience of 20 years olds in crop tops, who then kindly shivered through the rest of the lesson.
I went into a bottle shop yesterday that had a walk-in freezer, and was lingering blissfully in the varietal wines section with no intention of leaving when the cashier walked in. “This is the happiest I’ve been all weekend” I said to her. She was of ‘a certain age’ herself and gave me that knowing smile of the sisterhood.
“Oh, spend as much time in there as you like, I do too” she replied as she slid the door closed on me.
This is the time of year that the winter fashion messaging starts, while we are in 29 degrees with 100 percent humidity, so I was thrilled if not mildly panicky to receive an email touting 100 per cent merino wool sweaters this morning.
I haven’t felt cold since 2016. I watch Nordic dramas set in snow, I chose to go on holidays to wintry Banff in Canada and the Himalayas before lockdown. I have a wardrobe full of short-sleeved shirts which is something I never thought I would say.
I visited a friend who has relocated from Europe to Sydney and is selling his enviable collection of designer wool and cashmere overcoats. “Would you like to try one on?” he said, flinging open his cupboard doors, as I recoiled at the mere thought of touching wool.
Even linen is the enemy. I look longingly at throw rugs, long cashmere cardigans, jeans, boots.
I fondled a beautiful black wool blazer with a diamante button and velvet collar in a local boutique and wondered how amazing it would be to wear that without perspiration sliding off my nose. We had a family discussion about where we would love to holiday post-vaccine, and I heard myself suggesting Edinburgh in December, Reykjavik in January and Tasmania in July. I’ll just need a light sweater.