Perimenopausal is the New Black

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A few years ago I started noticing jet-black, pubic-like hair on my chin. At the time I was convinced I was either A) turning into a goat; or B) going to grow a penis on my face. You can imagine my surprise when someone let me in on a little secret: black chin hair happens with age. I like the idea of the penis on my face a whole lot better.

Since the discovery I’ve plucked, waxed, and rubbed acid on the little fuckers. But they still come back. Every few weeks.

Recently I started waking up in the mornings in a pool of my own sweat. Well, at first I thought it was pee, and in hindsight I kinda wish it was. Turns out, the sweating is the result of something much worse than an incompetent bladder.

I went to the doctor last week for my yearly well-woman checkup (complete with total rectal violation) and mentioned a few of my odd symptoms: chin hair, irritability, insomnia, hot flashes, and the worst symptom of them all…my unrecognizable vagina. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say this. I don’t even know it anymore. It’s a complete stranger to me. Like someone kidnapped my real vagina and replaced it with a less spectacular version of my vagina. An impostor that’s not as cute or fun or agreeable.

I was sure she was going to write me a prescription for Xanax or suggest I take a month off from parenting (complete with doctor’s note officially excusing me from my duties). But instead she took four vials of blood and said she would check my hormone levels.

“Hormone levels?” I asked, surprised. “But I’m only forty-two!”

She patted me on the shoulder and looked at me with sad puppy dog eyes. “You’d be surprised. But don’t worry, this isn’t the end of the world.”

Breaking News: The end of the world is near.

The nurse called with my blood test results. Cholesterol, fine. White blood count, fine. Thyroid, perfect. Hormone levels, uh-oh.

Long story short, I’m officially perimenopausal. I didn’t even know that was a real word until I googled it. According to, perimenopause is this: the interval in which a woman’s body makes a natural shift from more-or-less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause.

I get it. I’m aging. I’m “of a certain age.” I guess the part that’s distressing and even a little confusing is…I have friends who are in the very middle of their childbearing years. Everyone I work with is either pregnant or nursing, barely out of college and just getting their lives started, or trying to conceive. And here I am with my shriveled up vagina wearing boyfriend jeans and telling inappropriate jokes at the dinner table. It’s all becoming very clear to me. I’m turning into a cliche.

(Pause for sudden and overwhelmingly unsettling hot flash)

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I’m not going down without a fight. Do you hear me Mother Nature? While yes, I’m glad my bleeding, tampon wearing days are over I’m not ready to rid ALL MY ESTROGEN. Not just yet. I’m still young(ish) and viable and don’t have to wear reading glasses yet. So take that, moderate to severe vaginal dryness!


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