Incredible as it seems to me now, there was a time when a wolf whistle was annoying. A man would shout something approving from a scaffold and I would harrumph about my privacy being invaded, my gender not being respected, my dignity as an intelligent woman being violated. Then I got old and a wolf whistle made my day.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that I knew I had turned a corner, gone over a hill and started to slip down the other side, so far as age was concerned, when I first heard a wolf whistle from a scaffold and, instead of feeling outraged, felt the sweet surge of hope. I remember standing there looking pathetically up at the builder in question, like a forlorn budgie, beseeching him to whistle at me again. Or, even better, shout something offensive about my rear end. He didn’t. It doesn’t work that way. They only shout something about your rear end if you harrumph.
But you know you are getting really middle-aged when you explicitly thank the wolf whistler. I was walking down the road with the spaniel only this week, for example, when a gorgeous guy who looked every inch a personal trainer jogged past and shouted at me. I had sunk so far into a state of mid-life mortification that for a second I really did imagine he had yelled, ‘What a minger!’ But a split second later, when I saw he was leering, I realised he had shouted, ‘What a figure!’
I stopped dead and as he jogged away, still looking back at me, I heard myself shouting, ‘Thank you! Oh, thank you so much! Thank you!’ Cydney looked at me as if to say, ‘You’re milking it now. It’s embarrassing.’ ‘It’s alright for you,’ I told her. ‘You’re always getting admiring comments. You have dogs throwing themselves at you on a daily basis. Me, I need to reel ’em in.’ I looked at what I was wearing and made a mental note to dress in this slightly too small Chelsea FC Aertex and Asda stretchy jeans every day for the rest of my life.
I don’t think it’s that I usually look unattractive, per se, it’s just that lately I tend to walk about flinging off layers. You would think men would like women to rip off all their clothes in the street but they don’t seem to. I suppose it gives the game away, casting off garments until you’re standing there in a vest cursing about how hot it is when it’s pouring with rain, blowing a gale and barely 10 degrees.
It’s a bit early, I know. But I’ve always been precocious when it comes to inconvenient things happening to me. As the GP read me the doom-laden test results, I was stoical. Do not women nowadays simply slap on a patch and march on to empowerment and glory? How wrong I was. Turns out there is a Catch-22 when it comes to treating the M word.
A bureaucratic double lock specifies that a concern that one might be menopausal is the process of a non-menopausal mind. A woman can, in theory, be given a patch. All she has to do is ask; but as soon as she does ask, she is considered way too rational to need it and so she is sent back out to maraud through Sainsbury’s then almost leave without paying for a basket full of crazy shopping — e.g., six bars of Lindt salted chocolate, a bottle of evening primrose oil and a fluffy cobweb-dusting stick.
Even if my doctor had wanted to override this powerful double lock, she couldn’t. The computer would not let her type out a prescription until I attained the age it deemed appropriate to need it, which was not less than 45, and, most suitably, 52.
‘So, what you are telling me,’ I said to the GP, ‘is that you can’t offer me any kind of help now, but you will be able to help me in three to ten years’ time when this will be over?’
‘Yes,’ she said, looking embarrassed because even she realised this was mad when you said it out loud. Then she added, ‘Wait. Maybe there is something I can do.’ She tapped at her computer again and announced, ‘Yes, there is a clinic you can go to where there are other women like you.’ The way she said ‘like you’ left me in no doubt that this clinic would involve me getting told off.
‘There is a waiting list, though, of six months. Where are you going?’ I hadn’t got six months. I hadn’t even got six seconds. I was flinging off my jumper and hurtling back into the street. Maybe I can refine the striptease to elicit a wolf whistle.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10