I went through menopause 15 years ago, but if I want to trigger a flashback all I have to do is eat a bacon cheeseburger and chase it with a few shots of bourbon. That metabolism disrupting indulgence can have me wide awake in the middle of the night between damp sheets, remembering the good old days of cannonball mood swings, losing my car keys, and wasabi hot flashes. Now menstruation is getting some good PR with the film Period. End of Sentence. about the social taboo of becoming a woman, and I’m thinking we need a film called End of Period. New Sentence. about the joy of life after menstruation.
Menopause could use some good PR. Modern medicine has characterized the end of menstruation as an illness, but with the help of functional fabric and techno-fashion designers we could spin it as a time of self-expression, wearing our hormone changes like peacocks instead of fussing over sweat stains. Picture yourself in a mood dress of thermo-chromic silk that changes color with your state of mind, or a heat detecting jacket that lights up and blinks before a hotflash, or robotic socks that remember where you were ten minutes ago.
Girls are having parties to celebrate their first period with red decorations, feminine paraphernalia, and red cake. I’m imagining a menopause party where we all wear our mood dresses. First prize goes to the woman who can stay beige the longest. Then we’ll turn off the lights and watch our hotflash jackets blink in the dark. Why hasn’t technology caught up with menopause? There should be an iMenopause ecosystem of apps and apparel, gifs and emojis, virtual assistants and wrist bots.
Menopause is all about managing our biometrics. I want a pair of wired granny panties that come with earbuds to track my pulse, hormones, fluids and temperature. The earbuds would whisper messages like, “Hot flash in 60 seconds. Prepare to peel.” Or “Get out now, before you say something you regret.” Or “Order the salad. Order the salad.” Or in a real emergency, “Leak warning! Your bladder is 90% full. Find a restroom now!”
And about that voice — I don’t want to be bossed around by some young twerp. The smug self-confidence and pseudo cheerfulness of virtual assistants is annoying. I’d like a cranky old lady voice that drips with irony and offers unsolicited advice. When I’m driving down the highway asking for directions to the nearest Burgerville, she would say, “So you don’t need to sleep tonight? Because the last time you went to Burgerville for dinner you were scrolling through Instagram at two o’clock in the morning.” Then at two o’clock in the morning she would say, “I told you to order the salad. Maybe next time you’ll listen.” And, I’ll think yes, yes, of course you’re right, because I’m wide awake now and this is my cheeseburger dream.