I have been wondering about the evolutionary advantage of perimenopause, and I think I have a new working theory. Interestingly, it’s a man who helped me come to this new insight about my womanness. My husband and I were laying in bed, and I was wondering out loud about this question I have. “What is the reason for menopause, evolutionarily, do you think?” He offered that biologically speaking, as we age, pregnancy becomes more dangerous for mothers and babies, we are putting out more genetic abnormalities, less viable eggs after a certain age, and maybe perimenopause and menopause is how our genes tell us to stop making babies, a genetic risk mitigator. “Ok, but why all the mood swings and hot flashes and weight gain and hair falling out? Why all the craziness and suffering, for so many years?” There was a careful pause before he ventured, “...So people don’t want to have sex with you?”
Of course!!! Ah-ha!! Thats it!! The point is for us to be awful to be around while our bodies are adjusting, so that people, especially men, will leave us the f*** alone and we dont risk dangerous or complicated pregnancies! By being anti-social and moody and mad and gaining weight around my middle and losing my hair I am fully aligned with my animal nature. And! Having no libido is the icing on the cake, the one-two punch, the bona fide birth control. I’m not errant and crazy, I am a fully natural woman, doing what nature is telling me to do. My job is not to be pleasing and sexy and make babies. My genes are just saying no! My job is to feel my feelings and forcibly make space for myself to evolve into the menopausal orca whale pod leader that I am becoming. I find all of this incredibly liberating and affirming. And also sexy.
Sexy like swimming alone, naked. Sexy like clean sheets and the bed all to myself. Sexy like a ladybug crawling up my arm. Sexy like the dog curled up behind my knees, not asking for anything from me. This space my body is craving is the effect of telling everyone to back off, don’t check me out because I’m busy molting. It makes me feel deeply alive and fully plugged into the mycelium, encrypted messages pumping through my veins, thousands of years old. And that sh** is sexy to me.
My girlfriend Julie took me to Amy Schumer’s new show the other night. I was prepared for super raunchy jokes, wondering if I would still find it funny in this different time of my life. It turns out, as a 40-something-year-old mother recovering from a hysterectomy this year, her new humor is about being super tired and depressed and lacking empathy and not having hot wild sex with her husband. The sexiest part of her monologue was when she described hijinx with her girlfriends and the text messages they send to each other that sound like lovers… “Text me the second you walk in the door.” “How will I go another week without seeing you?” Sexy like text messaging your girlfriends. She is a gorgeous low-energy wry molting butterfly up there.
Anyway, me and my husband laughed a long time about this new theory he brought to light. I know it might not work for some of you, the celebration of repelling people and the anti-sexual attraction. But if you find yourself craving space to be your most gorgeous horrifying repellant self, I know the perfect place. We’ll be animals with the owls, rabbits and coyotes. We’ll howl in the wood burning sauna and splash around in the soaking tub under the stars. We’ll be quiet and paint or write or take naps together. We’ll eat copious amounts of chocolate and laugh at our absurdities. Come with us this November for our 4th annual Put Some Claws in Your Pause menopause retreat at Aldermarsh Retreat Center, on Whidbey Island in the Salish Sea. Your genes will thank you.