Well, what do you know: Older men get hot flashes too, just like menopausal women. It took a research team at the University of Pennsylvania to come up with that finding, which made the front page of The New York Times last week.
I could have told them that. I get hot flashes all the time, especially as I've gotten older. Suddenly my face gets very hot and turns red. I have trouble breathing. I say unpleasant things to people that I later regret.
The Penn study said they're caused by declining levels of testosterone and estrogen. I beg to differ. Mine have nothing to do with hormones, and they're not random. I can usually pinpoint their triggers.
Blood, Sweat and Sears
I got a hot flash when I was at Sears the other day, for example.
It was when I got off the escalator onto the second floor, and found myself face-to-face with a female mannequin that was holding a denim sports bag. The bag's design contained messages to stop the bullying. If you bought a bag, you’d be entered in a contest to win a pair of jeans designed by the Kardashian sisters, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney. The jeans feature their autographed handprints, plus sparkle on the front and back pockets. “The handprints are meant to symbolize each sister’s pledge to help stop bullying,” I read.
Just not their bullying of boyfriends, fiancés and husbands, I presume.
Bullying is a terrible thing. I know. I was bullied all through school. But when I thought about my childhood suffering becoming a “Kardashian Kollection” fashion statement, my face began to turn red. Within seconds I was in full hot flash mode. I had to leave the store to get some air. I never did get the mattress pad I had come to buy.
Waiting for Comcast
I had a particularly ugly hot flash a few weeks ago, right after I’d moved into my new place. I got a call from a Comcast person on a Monday morning informing me that an installer was on his way to hook up my TV, Internet and landline. I was thrilled to hear that, but I said to the agent, “My appointment isn’t today. It’s Tuesday morning.” “No,” she said, “it’s definitely today.”
I’d obviously written down the wrong date on my calendar.
“He’ll be there between 9 and 11 a.m.” she added.
“Great!” I replied.
At 5 p.m. I was still waiting for the installer. I had been calling all day to ask where he was, only to be told — when I could get through to an actual person — that he was running late. That evening I made one last desperate call to Comcast. “Why would you expect us to come out today when your appointment is for tomorrow?” a woman asked me.
Just like that I had a hot flash. As my face got redder and sweatier, I began to yell at this stranger on the line. I said things to her that are completely out of character.
Red-Faced Over White Wine
Last night I had another hot flash at my neighborhood co-op.
I was shopping for dinner. Because I’ve been rather stressed lately, I decided to buy a bottle of Pinot Gris. I thought a glass of wine would help me relax.
But as the checker was about to ring up the bottle, she asked to see my ID. I thought she was joking. “Thank you for the compliment,” I said.
She wasn’t being funny. “It’s our new store policy,” she told me. “We card everyone.”
“But I’m 65 years old.”
“I’ll need to see your driver’s license,” she said.
“I didn’t bring it,” I explained. I had walked there to reduce my carbon footprint.
“I can’t sell you the wine without it.”
“Do you seriously think I’m under 21?” I asked her.
“Not everyone looks their age,” she replied without irony.
That did it. I had to flee the store as sweat began pouring down my face. I never did get the wine.
According to the Times, the University of Pennsylvania is looking for men 65 and older to do more testing on. They want to get to the root of what's bringing on these hot flashes.
They should just call me. I could fill their notebooks with causes.