Back on home turf this week, I feel I can speak with some authority about concerns around Boris declaring July 4th as some sort of ‘Independence Day’. As we ‘ease’* from full lockdown, admittedly these concerns are all pretty self-centred, but I will air them anyway: I feel sure that other menopausal women will be vexing with me about Boris’ lack of female consultation before launching into freedoms that leave me and my hot flushes all aglow.
If Boris had taken the temperature of my fifty-something sisterhood even he, through his flaxen overgrown fringe, would have seen a mood change in our hitherto stoic support of his #playyourpart campaign. He was perhaps so giddy about the potential popularity of announcing the reopening of pubs and travel corridors that he forgot to take our hormones into account.
So this week I learn that in theory I can resume plans to holiday abroad with my partner, but when I get to Heathrow, I will be hostage to my hot flushes until I have successfully passed through Temperature Control. By temperature scanning, the authorities aim to sift out anyone with Covid symptoms. It makes sense. However, in the past I have found that Baggage Check-in, Security and Passport Control alone can take my anxiety levels sky high (sorry I couldn’t resist). Now the thought of Favourite Man, acing social distancing and giving me a cheery wave as he walks onto the plane alone – leaving me to explain my melting forehead to the person at the temperature scanner – makes my blood run cold. If I could only be certain of recreating this feeling at the airport, I would feel less anxious about these new travel arrangements.
Any woman who has lain awake at night, wringing out her duvet one minute and asking for a hot water bottle the next, will understand my concerns. To any younger readers (I don’t want to be ageist, but you may want to change your tribe after reading this) the country will probably be back to some sort of normal before you have to stay awake worrying about this with the rest of us insomniacs (I should say, that the menopause doesn’t affect everyone in the sleep department, but He is an erratic and demanding dictator).
Of course, there are uses for a hot flush – the Ministry of Defence often calls me to test out their heat seeking missiles, and before closure for Covid, pub gardens were knocking at my door to hire me as a greener and more sociable alternative to patio heating.
This last point moves me on to my next concern. Anyone battling the menopause will know that along with night sweats and mood swings we also have to campaign to keep our muffin top and back fat from dripping down to our thickening ankles. So while my local pub will probably invite me back of an evening as a warm up act on the patio, they are unlikely to choose me for one of the ten golden tickets that will see me invited into the bar area.
As Boris coaxes us back into pubs to eat and drink, I feel landlords will start demanding an eating and drinking curriculum vitae before choosing who will be allowed into the snug inner sanctum. Forget your digital footprint, now you’ll be forced to large it up about your capacity to hold real ale. I fear this menopausal woman may not make the cut if references are taken.
I love a glass of wine, but sadly it is likely to stay at one glass because these days any more than this sends beads of glow to my forehead and rivulets of perspiration to dampen my blouse and flatten my hair. The landlord’s only hope of profit from me will be if my menopausal brain forgets to either count how many glasses I have imbibed or to collect my change when buying a round. Any licensee wishing to shoot out of the economic flat line of the hospitality industry will need a boat-racing, shot-drinking tank of a drinker, not some midlifer struggling to #stayalert past 9 pm.
If by some fluke I do get invited into pub, I will be less popular still if I take up one of the seats in the landlord’s gastro eating area; my defence is that you are not going to win the war against love handles and relaxed musculature if you eat your way through the whole menu.
Over the last few years I have learnt to make one bread stick go a long way and to look like I am both enjoying it and fully replete. A restaurant owning friend once told me that restauranteurs loathe dieters because their profit can only be made if the clientele eat starter, main and a pudding. Even before Covid, hearing, ‘Just a black coffee for me.’ was enough to set her teeth on edge (she is the the same age as me, so I am worried that if she hears such abstention in the current climate it is likely to send her temperature rocketing and she will be sent home for tracking of her contacts to commence – no small job when she has been taking a front of house role recently).
Said friend is likely to be even more animated when she reads today’s headlines about Boris’ plans to put the country on a diet. Maybe Boris is entering his peri-manopause and this could explain some of his recent decisions. Who am I to judge – I can’t even remember what I am blogging about today or why I have a biscuit in my hand.
Anyway, while others fret about over-crowding in Bournemouth, I have decided to go retro and Stay Home – not because I don’t want to kick start the economy, but because I am worried that if I join them on the beach I may add to concerns about global warming.
*Am I the only one who is finding that anxiety has rocketed since some of the clear guidelines started dissolving, or is this just the menopause as well?