The power that engulfs a woman’s brain in the peri-menopausal years is sort of like the gravitational pull that occurs between the earth and the sun. Or is it the moon? I can’t remember, because I have to remember 39,792 other things in a single day and you know what? I carry zero guilt about what is forgotten, misplaced, or missed. And I seriously don’t give a shit that I have forgotten a few things I learned in elementary school that have no bearing whatsoever on my life today. Like the other day when I accidentally referred to Canada as a state. My kids climbed all up my ass. So sue me. Who cares. I have grey pubic hairs coming in.
I’m here to let everyone know that if your significant other was born with ovaries and you weren’t, and for one second you think that the woman in your life between the ages of 40 and 50 purposely forgets things, you are wrong. Unless, of course, she doesn’t really like being with you. In that case, my advice is to sleep with one eye open, because you, my friend, are what therapists in a clinical setting refer to as “double fucked.”
Listen, I don’t want to belabor the point I’ve already forgotten that I’m making, but I will say this: Has anyone seen my keys? I’ll also say this: Hormonal fluctuations of peri-menopause, which defined is, “The time of life when a woman still looks halfway decent in good lighting, still has periods, and really wants to kill things,” is just a roller coaster of horrifying badness. Over the course of one month, a peri-menopausal woman spends one week doing each of the following four things: bleeding; mentally preparing to bleed (also known as eating); wanting to make someone else bleed; or calmly sipping wine and cooking something delicious on the stove. It’s that simple. There is no escaping the fact that all four of those mental states happen; they may not be a week long, but they will strike, and they will change quickly—so quickly, in fact, that yet another clinical term has been developed to describe it: the nasty ass switcheroo.
The nasty ass switcheroo works like this: A woman, say between the ages of 45 and 49, is sitting at the counter in her kitchen, enjoying a Sunday morning crossword puzzle, and perhaps a Jack & Coke. She’s feels like making pancakes, bacon, eggs, maybe even some cinnamon rolls for her family, whom she is having a surge of affection for as she sits in her kitchen, alone, enjoying her coffee and/or Jack. Suddenly, the spidey hairs on the back of her neck perk up; she senses that someone, somewhere upstairs is waking, which means her solitude is about to end, before she says it can end. This is the crucial factor that triggers the nasty ass switcheroo. Instantly, the ovaries, like the abandoned, crusty-on-the-outside and barely-damp-on-the-inside-sponges that they are, in tandem with their passive-aggressive sidekick, the uterus, sputter to life. The loving thoughts that were JUST THOUGHT ONE SECOND BEFORE are abruptly replaced with, “The first person to step into this kitchen will be missing a face when they leave.”
So for those of you still farming fresh eggs, one little note of advice: Please, whatever you do, don’t roll your eyes at women my age. We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got, because what we once had—a flat tummy, cute tits, and the ability to metabolize hard alcohol is waving bye-bye to us in the rear view mirror. If you can look at us and try to see the twenty-something who regularly exclaimed, “Oh my god, I look hot in all of them” when we tried on bikinis so long ago, bless you. As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn’t compassionate, and I feel kinda crappy about that now. I rolled my eyes at women like me, usually as they tottered into one of my college classes and spent the next fourteen minutes trying to adjust themselves into their seat, yank their shirt down over their back fat, hunt for their reading glasses and then chuckle self-consciously as they patted the top of their head and found them, fan their sweaty faces with their hand (at 8 a.m.), and look around like they had never before been out in public and seen people sitting in chairs, quietly.
And significant others, give up on thinking we’re just careless with our facts and figures, where we left the keys or checkbook, or whether we wear underwear and shoes when we leave the house. I swear, I’ve always enjoyed knowing what’s going on around me, except after a few glasses of wine, when the world goes away. Until the last handful of years, I’ve always tended to keep track of things, like appointments, birthdays, and anniversaries. That’s a lie. I don’t do any of that stuff and I’ve been terrible at it all my life. Now I’m worse. I really can’t even say I forget important dates because I don’t know most of them in the first place. I’ve got a pretty good handle on my immediate family, but that’s about it. I feel no guilt about this, either. It’s a birthday. I’m not seven anymore and neither is anyone else my age. Or your age, whatever that is. I haven’t bothered to keep track.
Plus, the amount of money wasted on greeting cards is practically immoral.
Let’s do the math: According to some random blog that I found online, approximately 11,000 people celebrate a birthday each day in the U.S. Let’s multiply that by the average greeting card price: $3.50, which is probably a conservative figure. This means that approximately $40,000 is spent every day if each one of those 11,000 people receives ONE card. Now, I don’t know about you, but I got five cards last year on my birthday. Based on the fact that I can’t be bothered to remember people’s birthdays, which means a lot of people in my life have decided they can’t either, five cards is probably lower than what an average, thoughtful person receives. But let’s go with five as an average. If those 11,000 people each received five birthday cards at $3.50 each, it means that on any given day of the year, $192,500 is spent on a piece of paper that says, in effect, “happy birthday.” That is $70,262,500 million spent on birthday cards each year. And that, if my calculations are correct, which would be a miracle, is perfectly stupid. But Hallmark, Fresh Ink, American Greetings, et al., sure do think it’s necessary.
Which is why I’m declaring July 24 National Non-Birthday Day. That’s right: I’m donating my birthday to charity. Everyone with a birthday on this day must ask all of their friends, co-workers, loved ones and cellmates (for those convicted peri-menopausal murderesses who may be reading this) to save their money and instead, send it to the charity of their choice, donate it to their local food bank, animal shelter, or whatever. It’s their choice. Just put the money to better use than buying one piece of pretty paper for $3.50, which will get tossed into the garbage can as soon as a gift card doesn’t fall out. And don’t “pay it forward” by buying a coffee drink for the car behind you at Starbucks.
I urge you to take this effort viral. Give your birthday away to charity today.
Just to show you how evil hormonal fluctuations can be, I haven’t even published this and I’m already thinking about changing my mind about how I feel about giving my birthday away to charity because it’s making me sad. And that makes me angry. Which mean that someone is about to be missing a face.