It all started when I was having champagne with Captain Darcy.
He was a handsome man, and we had talked many times over the two weeks of the cruise. I was not surprised I’d been invited to the Captain’s dinner. The Captain’s guests gathered for champagne and conversation before dinner, and while I was chatting with the couple from New York, Darcy took the club chair next to me. He touched his glass to mine and smiled.
Then someone turned a propane torch on under my derriere and my core temperature rocketed into the stratosphere.
I looked at the circle of people sitting around me, sipping their wine and talking.
As my makeup began running down my face in rivulets like Vincent Price’s skin in the House of Wax, I thought — they all seem so normal — how are they standing the 900°F temperature change?
I considered going to the bar and asking Reynaldo if I could stick my head into the ice machine.
Instead, I excused myself and went to the restroom to dab my makeup into some semblance of normal.
Yes, it had happened to me. Menopause came calling. Sooner or later it comes for all women.
I was warm-natured already. But oh, dear lord, I had no clue what hot was!
Want to understand what this feels like?
To the guys, sons, daughters, and younger women whose friends, moms, wives, and significant others are going through menopause . . . empathy is such a great thing. Duplicate the experience, and I promise your understanding will improve.
Instructions: Get seven heating pads, and warm them up to full throttle. Tie the pads around your chest, abdomen, butt/thighs. The seventh is for your head. Sit like that for twenty minutes.
Oh, and this is key. Be sure to pick a really public time to do it — like a boardroom presentation or a business lunch.
Entering the Combat Zone
After a year of suffering with this, I am taking my life back! I’m sporting a new, shorter haircut — I mean, I spent a year with my mane clipped to the back of my head . . . why keep it?
I’ve found a natural supplement with black cohosh to be helpful. I’m using a product called Estroven, and after about three weeks of taking this it’s helped, I have fewer flashes each day, and they aren’t as extreme. There are many different black cohosh supplements out there, so look to see what seems to suit you.
And yes, I know foregoing coffee and red wine would also help, but there is no way in hell I’m giving up either. You’ll pry my cold, dead fingers off of my coffee cup and my glass of red wine.
Of course it’s not just menopause – people suffer with hot flashes for many reasons including medication side effects, cancer, and auto immune disorders.
There are a number of products on the market that may help combat the discomfort caused by hot flashes.
Connie Sherman describes making a necklace of plastic ice-cubes — then having the idea to make necklaces of cold pearls filled with non-toxic freezable gel. And voila! Hot Girls Pearls were born.
The pearls are big. I mean REALLY big. They have to be to hold enough cooling gel to stay cold for an hour.
For me this is a problem because I don’t wear chunky jewelry. The Hot Girls Pearls are so large that I’d feel self-conscious wearing them, but hey — each of us has different preferences here. For women who wear bold statement jewelry, they might be just the ticket.
My first encounter with a cooling scarf was the Austin City Limits festival last the fall. My sister’s good friend, Annette, brought scarves for each of us, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was a revelation.
There are many of these on the market, styled for outdoor and exercise activities. Okay, that’s great for canoeing, music festivals, and gardening — but there’s no way I’m wearing one of these when I’m dressed up and in a business meeting or out on the town.
The “fashion” version of the scarves have bandana prints on them. Really? This is fashionable? — What planet do these people live on? Cue Dueling Banjo music while I’m giving a boardroom presentation.
I found something hopeful when I was searching for better looking cooling scarves- a scarf insert that you can hide inside your own scarves when the sport scarf look just won’t cut it. Secret Scarves is a new product from a female entrepreneur; you can see her demonstrate her scarf insert on the Secret Scarves Facebook page.
I ordered one from Amazon and have tried it out a couple of times. It works, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind here. Since you wrap it it in another, more attractive scarf, the cooling power simply isn’t as strong as the cooling sports scarves. Also — obviously, you should use either a cotton or a polyester scarf since the water will likely stain and ruin your silk scarves.
Changing the type of makeup I use has prevented another House of Wax episode. I’ve switched to a Mac Cosmetics product called Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation which I apply with a flat makeup brush. I’m able to wear it without powder — and it has not sweated off of me. I’m sure there are other similar products in most pro makeup lines.
Talking about makeup brings up another topic: trying to put the makeup ON after I’m all hot after a shower and blowing my hair dry. Only two things I can say here: time and cold water. Plan enough time in your dressing routine to sit for a minute, drink cold water, and cool down before you start your makeup. Rushing causes stress. Stress triggers hot flashes. This might also be the perfect time to wrap one of those cooling sports scarves around your neck.
The three things that help me the most: drinking cold water, having something to fan myself with, and keeping my sense of humor.
Ladies — here’s to being hot — on OUR terms.
Continue the conversation . . .
In the comment section, please share funny flash stories, along with tips and products you’ve found that you think might help the sisterhood out here. Once we get a few tips and product share going, I’ll add a table with the information.
I grew up in Mississippi and New Orleans, have lived in both Seattle and Manhattan, and finally moved back to Texas in 1990’s.
I have a darling teenage daughter who heads off to university in the fall of 2017. I have been divorced and am now widowed. Finally, I am a colon cancer survivor.
I am now writing and traveling full time — what a wonderful thing!
This website is a forum for many things. I want to talk about life, in all of its rich, wonderful and terrifying forms. I want to share my travels, my thoughts on life, and my experiences as a woman and a mom. I want to talk about the nature of reality and the meaning of life, and to celebrate being alive.
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