Coming Out

The Oxford Dictionary definition of 'coming out' is.

In political, casual, or even humorous contexts, "coming out" means by extension the self-disclosure of a person's secret behaviors, beliefs, affiliations, tastes, identities, and interests that may cause astonishment or bring shame.

There are several examples in the dictionary, I have included just a small sample of some of the most hilarious for your reading pleasure;

coming out as a conservative (I kid you not) 

coming out as multiple (of what I wonder)

coming out of the broom closet (this is apparently if you are a witch)

and a quote from prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, who states "there is a big closet population of atheists who need to 'come out.'

NOTHING about menopausal women. 

I now refer back to the part of the orignial sentence – which "may cause astonishment".  I made a conscious decision in, I think, September, that when men asked me, what I was doing since I closed my business, I would reply honestly.  I just HAD to be able to start saying the M word out loud to strangers, without either wanting to giggle or leave the area.  

I have to say two and a half months in, that I have quite a variety of different responses to my outing myself about being menopausal and writing a book about the subject.  Theses responses include; double takes, looking shifty – (not me), swiftly changing subject, asking what the menopause is, and one man who looked at his wife, and said, I think you better read her book. 

I have now become braver.  I did in fact look shifty the first time I said it, so the above is not quite true.  But I NEVER looked as shifty as the men who did.   I do still feel the need to add quickly, but it is funny, so you would like it.   I am working on slowing down my delivery and not gabbling.   I want to get to the stage, where, I can maintain the conversation about it, by asking what they know about their subject, and if there mother or sister or father ever told them anything about it.   Work in progress.

It is not just men who look shifty though, I have to say that when I meet women who are complete strangers, they are also a little taken aback.  I suppose it depends on the personality as well as the knowledge base.  It must be the images of what the menopause conjurs up.  Periods and messy stuff, Moon Cups, tampons and yucky things like hot flushes. 

One episode I had two weeks ago, was when I was having a meeting with a 52 year-old cartoonist here in Dar es Salaam.  He asked me what the menopause was.  He had two grown up children, but perhaps not a grown up partner.  So it was left to me to be the one to inform him, for his own good naturally.  It went something like this; 

"What is your subject content?"

"The Menopause"

"What is that?"

"Well, you know I sent you a text asking if you were already here?"   (We were to meet at a coffee shop in an open square.  It is absolutly boiling there, even without the menopause).  

"Yes"

"Well, the reason I wanted to make sure that you were here before me, is that it is very hot here, and so I didn't want to wait for you.  The reason I didn't want to have to wait for you, is because I get hot flushes as a result of the menopause.  The menopause is like puberty".    

I PAUSED IN CASE HE DIDNT KNOW WHAT THAT WAS, HE NODDED.  

"It is when your body changes as you get older and your periods stop. It takes 10 years just like puberty does". 

"Oh I see, interesting, I didn't know.  Is it all women"?

"Yes all women, British as well as Tanzanian"

"OK"

Moving swiftly on, he asked;

"What style of cartoon do you want for this?  What is it called again?'

"MEN O PAUSE",  I ennunciate

He explained what he needed from me, which were some styles of cartoon I liked, along with an example of the text I had written.

We chatted a short while about the up coming election here and then parted. I sent him all the material he wanted within an hour. 

I never heard from him again.

Do you think it was something I said? 

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