Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Menopause Day - a holiday we can do without

        At the risk of being a spoilsport, I don't think I'll celebrate World Menopause Day. For one thing, how are we expected to observe it? Air-conditioned party hats? A soy cake with chocolate icing? What about men? Is it appropriate to bring a date to Menopause Day observances? Will there be a moment of silence as thermostats are ceremonially lowered? Should we meet for festive luncheons to compare lipid levels?

        The International Menopause Society is urging nations to join in “honoring all women” Oct. 18. Besides all this honor, the society is hoping to raise awareness. I don't know about Bolivia and Indonesia, which have their own national menopause organizations, but it would be hard to imagine a country more aware than the USA.

        Hundreds of Web sites are devoted to “The Change.” Everything from “Menopause Made Easy” to something called the “Gifts of Menopause.” As if we didn't know what these “gifts” might be. Facial hair. Mood swings. Hot flashes. Weight gains. Memory loss. (Please, Mother Nature, I beg of you. Take me off your gift list.)

        A California travel agency offers “Menopausal Tours. No men allowed.” As if any man who is not employed in pharmaceutical sales would like to get on board that particular fun ship. There's a cartoon character named Minnie Pauz and a theater production, Menopause, The Musical.

        It was bound to happen. And I think we all know why. Baby boomers are turning 50 at the rate of 7,745 per day. Awareness? We baby boomers have always been utterly fascinated with ourselves.

        We thought we invented sex during the '60s, then we sure we invented marriage, so we wrote our own vows. We then invented children and childbirth, taking photographs in the delivery room and discussing mucus plugs at dinner parties. During the '70s, we invented divorce.

        And now we are aging.

        If we'd had enough clout when we were younger, we'd probably have staged World Puberty Day, suggesting everybody mark the event by going into their rooms and slamming the door. We can only be grateful there's not a demand yet for flatulence and incontinence days.

        Dr. Margery Gass of the University of Cincinnati, who Friday takes office as president of the North American Menopause Society, says that as far as she knows, nothing special is planned for Cincinnati Oct. 18 here. But it's just a matter of time.

        Once everybody else gets a Menopause Day, we'll need one, too. We'll have to pass a half-cent sales tax to catch up with the “first-tier cities.” By then, one day will not be enough to accommodate corporate sponsors. We'll need a week: Mood Swing Monday, Tension Tuesday, For God's Sake Open the Window Wednesday, Hormone Therapy Thursday and Fat Friday.

        Frankly, most of the women I know would settle for the “honor” of decent health care at an affordable price.

        Now shut up and leave me alone.

        P.S. Is it hot in here or is it me?

        E-mail lpulfer@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/pulfer.


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