Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Fuck the Sock Drawer

I ring the Oldest and Dearest Friend. ‘This menopause,’ I say, as the dogs gambol in the meadow and drink from the burn, ‘how big do you think it is?’
She pauses for a moment. I can hear her thinking. ‘Well,’ she says at last, ‘it did send our mothers mad.’
‘I suppose it did,’ I say, rather mournfully. ‘Magsie went mad for years. Although,’ I add, ‘she was very eccentric by that stage so sometimes it was hard to tell. There were,’ I say, ‘a lot of specialists.’
‘Specialists,’ says the Oldest and Dearest. ‘Do you think that is what we will have to have? But think,’ she says, ‘of the power of hormones. Think of testosterone.’
I do think of testosterone, quite a lot .Years ago, a very wonderful man called Anthony Clare wrote a book about men. He was troubled by what he called ‘masculinity in crisis’. I remember some terrifying statistics about prison populations and violent crime – all the huge percentages were young men, under, I think, the age of twenty-seven. Clare thought that this could not be put down to societal problems or even psychological causes. He thought it was the shattering effect of testosterone. Testosterone gets boys into fights and crashes cars and puts tempers on a hair trigger. Much later, after the financial crash of 2008, there was a study which showed that these same young men, with their driving hormones, were much more likely to make highly risky investments than women or older men.
But then, I think, testosterone was probably what helped the species survive. It drove off the marauding tribe over the hill and killed the woolly mammoths and hunted for food. Testosterone flooded the battlefields of both world wars. The young men who took to the air and poured off the landing crafts and manned the capital ships saved the democracies in 1945.
Hormones, I think, are absolutely terrifying.
The Oldest and Dearest Friend and I compare notes. We both get days when we can’t see the point of anything, when we struggle even to do the washing up, when we want to shut the door and make the world go away. I’ve just had two of those in a row. The Oldest and Dearest tells me of a beautiful woman we both know who appears on paper to have a dream life, with everything one human could wish for, and who sometimes feels so lost that she hardly knows what her name is. This middle of life, we think, may be more complicated than we thought.
The Oldest and Dearest is, like me, a little bit muddly. There are days, she says, when she looks in sorrow at her bedroom and cannot even face doing the sock drawer and wishes instead that she could have a nice lie-down. ‘Well,’ I say, ‘that would be very sensible. Churchill insisted on a rest every afternoon when he could not be disturbed. A nice kip after lunch.’
She suddenly laughs. ‘Yes, yes,’ she says, ‘winning the war is much more important than tidying the sock drawer. Fuck the sock drawer.’
For some reason, we find this blindingly funny. We become breathless and speechless with laughter. ‘Fuck the sock drawer,’ we stutter at each other.
And, just like that, everything is all right. The wisdom and sweetness and funniness of an old friend is stronger than any hormonal hijack. I don’t know what is going on in my body at the moment but I think it is big. The sympathetic heart of my friend is, however, bigger. The blah menopausal mood, thick as fog, heavy as cement, demoralising as failure, is utterly driven away.
I put away the telephone, still laughing, amazed that I feel so much better. I get on my red mare and pony my little bay mare out into the meadows and look at the autumn trees. Mares are often accused of hormonal lunacy but these two are as soft and steady and calm as Zen mistresses. I ride with one finger on the rein and gaze at the beauty, of them, of the trees, of this dear old Scotland.

You can’t do everything on your own, I tell myself, sternly. Sometimes you have to reach out for help. You have to admit to weakness or frailty or simply being human. And then someone you love says ‘fuck the sock drawer’ and everything is all right again. 


  1. Not as a platitude, but you are a very worth while person. I've lived through two wives suffering menopause. They both were by turns crazy, and wonderful; maybe sometimes not by turns, but at the same time. You'll survive it. Not as the same person, but you'll survive it.

  2. You will think have done a total LA pivot and its entirely possible I have but I found acceptance was the thing. It happens, its inevitable and you really just do have to keep buggering on. Some days are good, others not so much. However I owe you the biggest thanks ever. Because you mentioned Bulletproof coffee to me I went to the store, next to the store is the newly opened Bulletproof Lab which is basically how the super rich stay fit and involves no-exercise exercise - see yesterday's post. Since my cryogenic freeze I am utterly energised and even more irritatingly positive than usual. so, if the acceptance fails just come here and all will be well. I really do owe you though.

  3. Fuck the sock drawer? Fuck the menopause! Get on your mare and ride, Tania, ride!

  4. Oh you do me good Tania, just keep on writing please xxx

  5. I think some of the blame can be placed on the aging and the loss of loved ones as well as hormones. And, as you have shown, some of the solution lies in feeling like there are still loved ones around. That's how I see it, anyway.

  6. My own first real experience of the "joys" that await me through menopause came just yesterday as I brought one of the old mares in from the field. I have no problem walking for miles through the pasture and woodlands looking for where they are hiding, but yesterday I very nearly collapsed on the final short uphill stretch back to the yard with dizziness and nausea. The horses keep my mood good and give me a sense of purpose but this physical manifestation was an unpleasant turn of events. I'm going to spend much of today researching natural remedies as I have no wish to start down the route of pill popping that seems to accompany getting older in this country.

  7. I'm all for buggering on.. at the risk of being super-annoying, so far yoga is proving as ever incredibly helpful, I think it kind of shakes one all about including the hormones and somehow afterwards they are so confused at being so disrespected they kind of run off and hide in the corner for a bit... this probably sounds bonkers but I'm allowed to be bonkers as I'm menopausal, aren't I? Rachel

  8. It could be hormonal (too much or too little).
    It could just -- just! -- be the "moment" (it's a grey blecch day; the dishes always need washing -- although my mom "solved" that by switching to paper plates...and then I worried about the environment plus who wants to eat off paper plates. As the brilliant, and sorely missed Roseanne Rosannadanna -- Gilda Radner -- of early Saturday Night Live fame said, "It's always something."
    I asked my mom about menopause, "Did you have hot flashes?" (Or is it flushes, I can never remember which!)
    To which she replied, "I live in Florida. I sweat all the time. How would I ever know?!?"
    My gynecologist apparently had a horrible menopause and was ready to give me any and every drug I might request.
    My next sister is completely freaked out about Alzheimer's. If she forgets a word or where she put her keys, she starts to panic. That's when I think a go-to phrase like "Fuck the sock drawer" becomes extremely handy.
    As the daughter of our daughter's orthodontist (credit where due!) once said, "It's not about where you left the car keys that's the problem. It's when you find them -- and don't know what they're for that you should worry about."
    That's my story and I'm damn well sticking to it.

    PS Having stopped menstruating nearly 20 years ago, I now seem to be having the occasional hot flash/ flush. I did have a few way back then and, with the exception of a few subsequent and repeating chin WHISKERS (no one told me about that!) I thought, I'm done. (I was actually relieved not to need to worry about periods and sanitary supplies.)
    I guess there are trade-offs all along the way....

  9. The invisibility . But don't worry that doesn't start for a while yet .

  10. Very nice post really,I apperciate your blog.Thanks for sharing.keep sharing more blogs.


  11. شركة امست للتنظيف افضل شركة لتنظيف المنازل والشقق والفللوالبيوت والمجالس والكنب والمفروشات والخزانات بالقطيف والمنطقة الشرقية لديها عمالة مدربة وخصومات هائلة طما توفر خدمات مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات بالقطيف باسعار رخيصة ومناسبة وخصومات هائلة

    شركة امست للتنظيف
    امست للنظافة القطيف
    شركة امست لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة امست لرش المبيدات

  12. افضل شركة تنظيف بالقطيف تقدم خدمات نظافة متكاملة علي اعلي مستوي بدقة وجودة ومواصفات قياسية واسعار تنافسية فتعد الشركة الاولي بالقطيف لتقديم خدماتالتنظيف بجودة وسعر مثالييينفهي خير مثال لراغبي الحصول علي نظافة شاملة مع التعقيم وباسعار مناسبة

    شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالقطيف


    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالقطيف
    شركة شفط بيارات بالقطيف

  13. هل تعانون من الحشرات وكثرتها واضرارها البالغة نقدم لكم افضل شركة لابادة جميع انواع الحشرات بالضمان وهي شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات حيث تقدم اليوم افضل العروض والخدمات بارخص الاسعار بخصم 50% لفترة محدودة

    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالدمام
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    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالاحساء
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    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بجدة

  14. شركة المثالية للتنظيف افضل شركة تنظيف بالمنطقة الشرقية تخصصت في تقديم كافة الاعمال المنزية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بالمنطقة فلديها افضل الخدماتبافضل جودة واوبارخص الاسعار التي لا تتوفر الا معها كافضل وارخص شركة تنظيف بالاضافة الي خدمتا مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات الامنة والفعالة علي الحشرات بجميع انواعها .. تقدم لكم اليوم افضل العروض والخدمات بخصومات هائلة يمكنكم الحصول عليها من خلال الروابط التالية

    شركة المثالية للتنظيف
    شركة المثالية للنظافة
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالدمام
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالقطيف

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