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This girl is on fire

Monday, November 11, 2013
American actress Suzanne Somers with her Thighmaster exerciser, has written self-help books aimed at women over-40 in which she advocates yoga and herbal supplements.

“I am going to slap the blonde right off Suzanne Somers,’’ my friend Emme fumed. “Soon as I finish tormenting my hair.’’ She gave the ungrateful tangle a final tug.


“What’s got into you?’’ I asked, soothingly, because when Emme got into one of her moods, nobody was safe. The signs were there for weeks: she hated her hair; she hated her feet; she hated her neck; she hated her wobbly parts; she hated not being 35.


“If you listen to Ms Somers, you would think all you need to survive menopause is yoga, a new hair cut and a bunch of supplements. Liar!’’


Uh oh. This was going to be big. Why would a sensible, successful professional woman take advice from the chick who is best known for the Thighmaster?


“I can’t stand it. The hot flashes are coming every 35 minutes. I timed them. I can’t sleep because one minute I am freezing and the next I am on fire. I am a soggy mess at the end of each day.’’


Her medicine cupboard was full of bottles of dong quai and evening primrose capsules which are supposed to relieve symptoms of menopause. 


“The pills don’t help,’’ Emme snapped as she saw me inspecting the labels. “And look at this!’’ 


She yanked open the closet doors. I half expected to see Suzanne Somers’s corpse stuffed in there under the capacious Coach handbag.


“Nothing fits,’’ she screamed. My head throbbed. “Is this what I have to look forward to? I have gained 20 pounds overnight. I just got up one morning and my hips had migrated upwards six inches. I never had this big belly. Now I need a sheet with a cut-out for my head.’’


Did this twig expect sympathy from me, a woman who thinks the word diet is “die’’ with a typographical error? Me, who has been losing and gaining the same five pounds for the last 20 years?


Emme is one of those freaks of nature, the kind that looks exactly as she did when she was 18, even when wearing Daisy Dukes and a bikini top. Actually, she looks better than an 18-year-old because she knows exactly how to maximise the unnatural genetic gifts she has been blessed with. So, whatever minor reservoirs of sympathy I might have left, I intend to keep for emergencies, say the starving children in Haiti. Not Emme’s Menopause Monologues.


But the appearance of a slight bulge at Emme’s until-now perfect waistline did give me pause. A pear all my life, I had noticed that certain apple qualities had been stealing into my physiological structure so that the idea of a belt fills me with such dread I just about need a motion-sickness bag. Now Emme was warning me that the Waisting of Elsa could get even worse once the internal hormone factory shut down.


Well, I consoled myself, Emme has a few more years on the speedometre than I, and so it will be a while before I start checking a magnifying mirror for crepey eyelids, vanishing hairline and incipient moustache, much less listening to anything Suzanne Somers might have to say.


I must have smiled, because a shoe (blue suede Jessica Simpson peeptoe) came whizzing past my head. “You laughing?” Emme yelled. “Wait, your turn coming. You will be on fire and not in a good way.’’


As Emme was using a carving knife to mutilate her latex miniskirts, I felt an unusual warmth rising from under my shirt collar, although the A/C was on monster drive. This was followed by an unfamiliar dampness and suddenly, a river broke its banks, and torrents cascaded from my hairline, diverted only by my eyebrows, into rivulets down the sides of my sweaty face.


My breath came short and my heart fluttered like a frightened bird. Either I was having an anxiety attack, induced by Emme’s scary predictions, or…should I start preparing for the Final Chapter?


I wonder if Claudia Pegus or Meiling makes designer silk sheets with cut-outs for sweaty heads?


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