When women gather together and make small talk– ah, but it’s never small and much of that can’t be put on paper. It has been two years since last I met my two childhood friends in the Metro. We don’t get to see each other more often but nonetheless we’re like family. When we do meet, my friends’ partners hie off on their own holiday because a day is not enough for the stories we’ve been wanting to spill or the questions we’ve been yearning to bounce off each other.
This time: menopause.
Why would the female of a species cease to reproduce half way through her life, when natural selection favours characteristics that help an individual’s genes survive?
We’re at that age when the subject looms like the super moon in our horizon. I once mentioned it to a male friend in order to get a male perspective. He almost choked on his drink. “Are you crazy?” he said, caught between surprise and laughter. “You have years ahead of you.” I let that sink in. Years ahead of me. Back then, it wasn’t that sort of years that I saw ahead.
Menopause, to the female species, is like the much loathed dental chair from childhood. Maligned by gossip, it’s ill reputation is magnified even more causing people to avoid it as long as they possibly can. But the earlier an adult woman come to terms with it the better for her.
As it happens, my friends and I discovered that we each had taken an early bird approach to it. We also have reached the same outlook of this event and it’s a positive one: release of the female from the unique “burdens” placed on her. By “burdens” we mean the definitions, pains, restrictions, and regulations women go through in their “first half”: female sexuality; pills, injections, patches and what-else to manage female reproduction and the mask of stoicism women put on in the face of all that; childbirth; postnatal complications and illnesses; reproductive-related responsibilities, shaving legs and what-not, and such like.
Surprisingly, our view as I learned afterward coincides with the initial results of a 40-year study of how orcas, one of the other mammal ie. the short-finned pilot whales apart from humans known to experience the menopause, spend their “second life”. Thanks partly to the orcas, the rather depressing image that post-menopausal women are simply alive beyond their evolutionarily prescribed time is debunked.
The flip side of the natural selection process is that because menopausal women present an “unnatural” image of female, men will not naturally seek them out. This behavior from the male (who does not undergo menopause thus is biologically wired to play the game till the end of his life) is probably a huge relief to unnatural women. Imagine 50 long reproductively able years of twisting yourself into useless knots over trying to find the answer to “is it love or is it just sex?” Menopause frees women from all that.
Women of this age are free to do what they really want. Sex everyday? Why not, and this time around without fear of being saddled afterward with the “burdens.” A chaste second half? Great! Whatsoever the choice, the most welcomed news to men of the Church probably is that finally women are on the “natural method”.
Also, women’s graduation to a less competitive life sexually and reproductively and a more relaxed lifestyle overall frees up the others around them. Younger women have greater visibility and wider room to participate on the already packed dance floor that is natural selection. Men who are on a different wavelength however can go elsewhere- to “where the great orcas live.” Ha ha! Cheers! my childhood friends.