Menopause in the movies…

Menopause in the movies…doesn’t exist. Unless, you consider any movie Miss Crawford starred in post 1950. And, do you want to know the reason why? I think it scares men. I don’t think ghosts or gore or ten foot tall limpid blue aliens can hold a candle to a fifty year old woman for sheer, awe inspiring, fear.

Think Joan in, say, 1951 — the harsh makeup, the lacquered hair — all so yesterday. But, the spirit lives on — the steely humorless demeanor, the superficial sweetness masking a cobra strike. Oh yes. Just ask my beloved.

joan in kitchenI was going to post a formal portrait of Joan from that period, but then I saw this and, forgive me for saying so, but I identified… Deeply, deeply, identified. You see, there are days I will rip your heart out over a splash of coffee on the counter or a drop of jam on the floor. Let’s talk dust, better yet, let’s talk baseboards — why is it nobody else but me sees them flocked and teaming with dirt? Are male eyes structurally different than female eyes — that just can’t be… And, if you retort with some particle vs wave theoretical hooey I will smack you.

Brace yourself, a change in tone, some might call it a mood swing, and-oh-my-darlings, they come quickly now. The mister and I have been an item for thirty years. There are days (most days, to be perfectly honest) when I look at him and I think, I am the luckiest girl in the world. Sometimes I look at the kid and I think he’s the most adorable thing on the face of the earth (and let’s face it, he is)… And, yet… Does this afford them any protection? Not really.

I think the male lack of dirt detection is made up for by the Hormonal Danger Zone sensor. I can see it in the set of their shoulders, their primal alacrity, alert, poised to flee – suddenly they decide to go to the hardware store for a useless drill bit or electric doohickey.

“Do you both need to go?”

They exchange a look, leaving dust trails behind.

Thank God for the Swiffer.


  1. George Kaplan

    I think a lot of women – and some men – will identify with this! So accurate. Frankly, I’d like to see more older women on screen in all their variety, perimenopausal, postmenopausal, whatever! It doesn’t last forever – even if to both sides it might feel that way 😉 – and it isn’t all the time. Any men who are *really* scared , aren’t men at all says I!
    I’m a man (last time I checked) but I’m at both extremes, typical laissez-faire man at times, terribly fastidious at others!
    Loved this, Vickie. I sympathize with you – and Mr L and the Kid. It’s all strangely familiar 🙂
    You’re still fabulous!

  2. George Kaplan

    Somewhere a producer just had a eureka moment: a franchise built around gorgeous fiftysomething women who scare men to death. What an audience in the making: women who want to see women; men who appreciate older women; men who are scared of older women; and men who want to experience the delicious terror of the perimenopausal woman’s basilisk gaze when they’ve not done what they should! I smell money! It’ll be bigger than that Saw junk 😉 Ahahaha!

  3. Mr. Lester

    You readers don’t know the terror of it. Maybe 3 days a month where the boy and I have no idea when a bear trap will go off, then Ms. L will say, “Wow, I just realized, I have been in a horrible mood for the last few days. Did either of you notice?”
    We usually say “Oh really! We didn’t notice a thing!” and then we laugh and run away.

  4. This is great…. you are right about the movies…. I can remember only one instance….the Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah movie about the Mermaid…. Splash! Remember the secretary who wore her bra on the outside of her blouse???? Loved that. I have almost done similar things!

    • My favorite past time seems to be setting my eyeglasses down on chair seats, in corners, or hanging from my collar, and running around the house several times to find them – hey, at least it’s exercise 😉

  5. There would be a great market for Joan Crawford masks that we can put on when appropriate to warn the guys who don’t have sense enough to check ahead.

  6. What a fabulous piece Vicki! I have only just put the Hoover away after a vigorous work-out and, I must admit, I always wear lipstick for the job. Sad to say, it gives me more purpose. Love the thought of that Joan Crawford mask!!!

    Do hope the Lester family enjoy a lovely week-end!

  7. Maybe God gave us the eyes to see the dust because he knew we would need to burn additional calories since our metabolism would effectively shut down? Lol! It’s a brilliant post, as far as I’m concerned. There aren’t enough on this very important topic
    By the way… The photo makes me laugh – who among us does not relate to having Joan Crawford moments?

    • Oh, and I didn’t mention how I make myself use the stairs at least ten times a day because I figure sometimes that’s the most exercise I’ll get – and I still feel puffy! xox,V

  8. Dearest V
    Do you know, I think dandies get a kind of menopause too… for I perceive trails of dust and balls of fluff where other members of the household see only polished surfaces and coiffed rugs.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Speaking to you from the other side, would it help to know that you will survive to live in Bliss ? The Swiffer may not..survive. The other side seems to include a more male dust detection attitude 😉

  10. Look darling,,,, Just take a note from Faye Dunnaway in “Mommie Dearest” as Mr. Lester and the Kid flee just yell after them…”I am not mad at you, I am mad at the Dirt!”

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