As quite a few of the women I know well are aged in their late forties or early fifties, many of them are, according to both their personal reports and snatches of their conversations that I can’t help overhearing, going through the menopause.While I, thirty years or so older than them at 79, find myself facing what’s often called the ‘male menopause’ and that I can’t help thinking of as the manopause.
Of course many experts cite the fact that we males by definition don’t and indeed can’t ever menstruate as irrefutable evidence that there’s no such phenomenon as the manopause, period.And I have to admit that these people are right, anatomically and physiologically speaking. But psychologically and sexually I’m manopausing for sure.
But I’m not, thank goodness suffering any of the many moanopausal symptoms that so many menopausal women have to endure, like, as I’m informed by both Google and articles I’ve read in women’s magazines aka hag mags, irregular periods, mucosal dryness, hot flushes, chills, night sweats, slowing metabolism with consequent weight gain, thinning hair, dry skin and loss of breast fullness.
However, when it comes to that most notoriously mean side-effect of menopause, eratic mood swings, I’m your man. Though my rages are largely triggered by the same political and other atrocities that I’ve railed at all my life, and otherwise at myself for getting so old as to reach manopause at all. In other words, I’m hopping mad at the fact that my life seems destined to end not in a climax, but in what used to be called the climacteric. Or as poet T.S. Eliot so concisely expressed it, to end “not with a bang, but a whimper”.
Because, to cut to the chase here, the sole sign and symptom of the manopause is that, despite pharmaceutical defences that drug companies like Pfizer have erected against such emergencies, my formerly steely stiffnesses keep getting viagravatingly limper. And I’m all too aware that this manopausal blow to my sexual skills and self-esteem will at my age prove both manoprogressive and manopermanent.Whereas women, as signified by the old-fashioned euphemism for the menopause, the ‘change of life’ or simply ‘the change’, have years if not decades of renewed existences to look forward to.
Sexually speaking, for a start, they are finally liberated from the problems and pains of PMS and menstruation, plus the possibilities of pregnancy and parturition, and thus fancy-free to enjoy their physicality to the full.
Or, alternatively, they can at last abandon and instead embrace some religious sect in what I can’t help thinking of as amenopause. While many other females turn their finer feelings towards the care and collection of felines, or, in other words, opt for menopaws, menoclaws and menopurrs. And so on.
But I and my fellow manopausals have no option but to increasingly switch from phallic pleasuring of our partners in favour of digital and labio-lingual. Thus effectively, as the late Dennis Hopper, director and co-star of the cult classic “Easy Rider” claimed of himself in his final years, turning lesbian.
Which as far as I’m personally concerned is no bad thing. After all, it’s in the very worthy manocause of focusing our erotic efforts far more on giving rather than receiving. And in any case the only other alternative any of us manopausals have is to settle for living out what remains of our lives as terminally sexless manobores.