Fast forward – from puberty to menopause by Emily Smart
The irony of talking about puberty at the ripe old age of 48 has not been lost on me. Thank you Trevor for reminding me that within the next few years, everything that started at puberty will soon be all over. As I wave goodbye to the once fresh eggs produced by my ovaries, I’ll be saying hello to facial hair, varicose veins and possibly too much spittle around my mouth.
Looking back, puberty wasn’t a big thing for me. A late developer, I was still happy in my vest at fifteen and was certainly in no rush to get to Marks and Sparks for the obligatory natural coloured (if you’re an Oompa Loompa) double A cup bra. I didn’t have acne (so managed to miss out working at McDonald’s), and nature did what it was supposed to do. Anything else was left to Alison Udall.
Alison and her assets
Big Al (she really did always have the most gargantuan pair of knockers anyone had ever seen) was my right hand woman when it came to many things in the pursuit of me becoming a (ahem) lady. I still put my bra on every day the way Ali taught me – click round the front, swirl round to the back and pop everything in its place – just in case you were wondering. She showed me how to apply make-up which involved three colours, a light base, a medium middle splash and a heavier shade for the top of the eye. She helped me dye my hair (badly) and then use Jolene bleaching product to try and match my eyebrows to my yellow/orange Barnet. To this day, Ali is still a proper grown up woman. You never see her without her ‘face on’ and she always makes a tremendous effort. So a big thank you to big Al for trying her best to make me a woman; even though with the benefit of hindsight, the poor girl was putting frosted pink lipstick on a pig!
Midlife teenage angst
Back to 2019, and my second flush of puberty has arrived. I woke up with what can only be described as a carbuncle on my face yesterday morning. It has been downgraded to a boil today, and I’m hoping by the time I get to work tomorrow it will be a mere blemish. No spots at 14 but one the size of Wales as I near 50.
That’s not all. Hair is starting to sprout. But not in the right places. I’ve started growing a blonde beard, well actually more sideburns at the moment. My partner actually offered to give me a facial trim the other day. And then there’s the massively long hair that keeps growing back in the same place on my top lip. I can feel it when there’s a heavy wind, it taunts me, and lies down flat when I approach a mirror with my tweezers. My eyebrows too have a life of their own, and I’m starting to think that I might have to invest in a pair of garden shears to tame them.
The next period
Everything else that makes me a woman is coming to the end of its natural life. It’s as if my body knows it has done its dash for the human race, and is quite happy to simply give up. My bra has been replaced by scaffolding, and I’m just waiting for the hot flushes and shoplifting that is the menopause.
Still, it’s not all bad. I’ll be able to pee in my pants every time I laugh or sneeze, I’ll tell youngsters at bus stops that I’m 72, and I can grow old disgracefully, be bad-tempered and start smelling like old ladies.
Never mind menopause, let’s go for meno-play (oh, that’s bad Smart, really bad, ba ha ha ha)!