After the age of 40 ladies, it all goes downhill. By this point in your life, you’ve long since given up on achieving your pre-baby weight. Can you even imagine wearing clothes with sizes in the single digits? Despite exercising until you’ve lost your ability to bend over and lace up your gym shoes, you can’t lose a pound. Even though you’re watching what you eat, you swear that you can almost hear yourself getting fatter.
Forty is the start of having to have all of the tests that at one time, seemed so far off in the future. Gravity is not your friend as you likely can now tuck your breasts into your pants along with your shirt.
Have you had a mammogram lately? If you haven’t had one, then allow me to describe it for you. Just go out to the driveway, lie down on your side and then have someone slowly back the car tire over your breast. Keep in mind, that once you’ve survived that unpleasantness, you get the thrill of doing it all over again on the other side. Little cars are recommended for this demonstration.
Men may get the dreaded jellied finger probe to check the condition of their prostate, but the pap smear that we women endure on a yearly basis seems almost barbaric. Never could a man begin to imagine the humiliation of donning a one-size-fits-all gown seemingly made of cheap paper towels (if there’s a roof leak, at least you could stop, drop and roll to soak it up), “saddling” up on the table with your feet stuck in very cold metal stirrups and having the doctor insert into your nether regions what looks like a mini car jack that feels like it’s been in the freezer overnight, all the while trying to carry on a casual conversation as if he/she isn’t staring directly at your fallopian tubes.
On to the mother (no pun intended) of all middle-age womanly woes: menopause. Perimenopause, the joyous period of time preceding menopause can start as early as a woman’s thirties and last as long as ten years. Quoting comedian Rita Rudner: “Male menopause is a lot more fun than female menopause because with female menopause you gain weight and get hot flashes; with male menopause you get to date young girls and ride motorcycles.” Really, is it any wonder that women are irritable by the time menpause hits? Sleepless nights, heart palpitations, severe mood swings, your own personal summers (a.k.a. hot flashes) at any given time – who wouldn’t be crabby? These unpleasant symptoms can last for years and culminate in a your being forever free of periods and therefore free of birth control concerns, thereby rendering you free to have sex like a rabbit. Ugh – is this a joke? Vaginal dryness, an unfortunate side effect of menopause that results in a woman’s southern regions being as dry as the Sahara, makes endless lovemaking sessions highly unlikely.
Wrinkles, eye puffiness and bone loss are a few other joys of aging that we women may experience as early as our forties. X-rays and bone scans can reveal early onset bone loss and there is medication that can help to reverse the effects. Yet, unless you’re willing to undergo cosmetic surgery or wear your hair in a tight ponytail for an instant facelift, you may have to live looking as though a bird has danced on your face. Zucchini slices over the eyes might help for the puffiness.
Or is that cucumber?