The other day my 10 year old son asked me what puberty was. Caught a little off guard, I turned it around and asked him what he thought it was. “Well”, he began “Jay says it’s when your penis grows and you get hair down there.” Then he continued “Does everyone go through puberty? Did you go through it? Did Dad? Will I?” Taking a deep mental breath, I answered his questions calmly and simply. “Yes, everyone goes through it, yes, Dad and I went through it and you will too, but not for a couple of years yet.” Satisfied for the moment, he went about his 10 year old business. That little exchange reminded me that I’m wrestling with my own hair issues, and I don’t mean the hair down there. Because while my son, before long, will be sprinting down the road to adolescence, I’m slip-sliding along the perimenopause path, and confronting a rather disturbing side effect.
Currently hurtling through my 40s, I’m told that this grim turn of events is caused by a disruption in the delicate balance of the female sex hormones, sort of a second puberty. This go round on the hormone rollercoaster has resulted in dark, thick, coarse masculine hair sprouting on my chin. Not just one or two, more like 17 at last count, which was this morning. They look like the kind of facial hair I guess my son will be sporting in a few years. Ironic, isn’t it?
But the indignity doesn’t end there. Not only am I now competing with hubby to see who wears their 5 o’clock shadow best, but a couple of these unwanted whiskers have the audacity to grow in WHITE! As if having chin hair wasn’t appalling enough, I am sprouting salt and pepper chin hair. George Clooney might be able to pull off this look, but I feel like Ringling Brothers is going to knock on my door and offer me a sideshow gig any minute now.
While there’s not quite enough hair to coax into a trendy soul patch, there is enough that something has to be done about it. My grooming tool of choice is the tweezers. I’ve tried waxing, but that tends to make me break out (there goes that puberty thing again), and I’m not ready to go all pharmaceutical just yet. So, as each one pops up, I reach for my trusty Tweezerman and pluck it. Quickly. Painfully.
I’m hoping once actual menopause hits and the hormones start leveling off, this issue will resolve itself (are you listening, creeping belly fat??). If only I could transfer those hairs to my eyelash line, which seems to be thinning out as quickly as my hubby’s hairline. That’s what you’ll see if you open the medicine cabinet at my house – an assortment of tweezers and a bottle of Rogaine – midlife, we have arrived.
If you’re at this point in your life, what physical or emotional changes are you experiencing? Please let me know what’s ahead!