I I was sitting on the street in Primrose Hill during a global pandemic when Meg Mathews told me aloud about her vaginal atrophy. All right, we are seated at a cafe table, but due to the plague mentioned above, the tables were allowed to stretch out onto the main thoroughfare, which is halfway closed to traffic, and Mathews explains how menopause closed their own private road. “The first time I wore my training gaiters I realized they weren’t new, but they were starting to chafe,” she says before describing the laser part of her “vaginal rejuvenation” treatment.
At this point a voice from the sidewalk yells “Meg!” And I can’t help but turn around just in case Kate Moss from 1997 is yelling, but it’s not Kate Moss, it’s a cute old lady rolled into one Raincoat with a tiny dog. “You look good, Meg,” she says, and they talk politely until Meg can get rid of her neighbor and go back to business with her collapsing genitals. Menopause is Meg’s new topic – the former Britpop first lady who was once married to Noel Gallagher now has a book, website and products to launch, all dubbed Meg’s Menopause. She is on a mission to rid us of our hormonal embarrassment and shame.
“People put collagen on their faces, but what they don’t realize is that menopause can make the lips of their vagina really thin,” continues the 54-year-old, sipping herbal tea and wearing a sleek black tracksuit. chunky gold jewelry and with finger tattoos. It’s an aesthetic that could be described as cross-bred with Goop EastEnders. “The girls at my waxing station told me they can spot a menopausal vagina or one that is not being used a mile away,” she writes in her upcoming book The new one is hot. They’re not as plump as the dryness apparently, and she discussed this with her gynecologist who said yes, flat fannies are definitely a thing.
It’s not just the physical symptoms of menopause that affected Mathews as she went through them – and there were enough of them because she had perimenopausal symptoms like night sweats from the age of 40 – but there was also mental turmoil.
“It was so dark to me, I was in a really dark place,” she explains. Her divorce was long over and that was “all right,” she says (by which she means terrible but old story in my opinion), and she lived with her daughter Anaïs, “the love of my life,” and had one nice friend, too. “But I mainly had psychological problems with mine – the lack of estrogen makes you really scared and I was very overwhelmed with life. Now I had been a person who had just got up and gone out and paid no attention to anything. Suddenly I was the worrying one – I mean, I had always been the worrying one in a way, but never like that. “
Returning from a vacation in California, Mathews just felt “very low, but low, like I didn’t really know what hit me. I went to the doctor and burst into tears and was given antidepressants. “She would take Anaïs to school and then come home and crawl back in bed and” scroll through Facebook and see everyone else’s perfect life. ” (Celebrities – they’re just like us!) That took three months. Her boyfriend tried to get her out, but Mathews just refused and cried, sometimes wondering if she had dementia.
Did you think this must be my life that is falling apart – did you come up with a story about it?
“I wanted to go, oh my god, my colorful 90s caught up with me. My mom always said they would. I thought I just destroyed my nervous system or … “
You mean the party, the drink and the drugs?
“Just, yes, my colorful 90s, I would like to say. It’s best to say – everyone knows, everyone smiles, when I say it, you know. It’s not like it’s not out there. I am a recovering alcoholic. So I went to an AA meeting and basically shared how I was feeling. It’s what we do, talk to other addicts, it’s a support system. As I left, this woman patted my shoulder and said, “I think you are going through menopause” and I was like … “(She looks terrified.)
You think that’s not what I came for.
“No! And then I thought, ‘Ooh naughty cow’ you know, oh my god! Do you know what i mean? I just had a vision of my grandma with a little stick and gray hair, very fragile, hunched over, you know, I thought whoa, I wasn’t feeling great. When I got home I couldn’t even drive my car anyway. Too scared. My world had just gotten very small and the antidepressants weren’t working because I wasn’t really depressed. “
Thus began Mathews’ long and detailed journey in trying to understand menopause by researching everything from estrogen receptors to shamanic healing to get to the bottom of it. If she gets the set of teeth between her teeth, she is clearly walking with it and her eyes are so evil that you suddenly understand how everything ever happened in their social circle. They were clearly all guided by that glimmer – I’m not sure why they even needed the medication.
Im The new one is hot, In a memorable manual, she describes the “insatiable sexual appetite” she had when she was younger and how adventurous she was before menopause tried to steal her libido. It apparently came back and she advises masturbation (four times a week) as well as vibrators (you should test them on the end of your nose!) And lube (which changed her life – in fact, she created a “movement” lotion “herself). It’s an immensely readable book that I found quite helpful, although not all of her advice is backed by doctors, such as the fact that she has initiated a vaginal irrigation.
“They say you should just clean it with water, but I’m sorry after doing a 3 mile run. What if i wanna have sex you know So I hit the lowest pH and it has a bit of rose water and marshmallow root and I put all the ingredients together myself. “She has stored her products in different chains. “Boots bought them for 435 stores – they came up to me and said, you are so right about women’s wellbeing.”
Her own bathroom at home always seems to be full of her daughter’s friends getting ready, which led to her wanting to make sure her menopause looked good on the shelf too. The two posted an Instagram video in which Anaïs twisted her mother in a weird way and “talks about menopause again” – the preference between them is clear.
Mathews grew up in Suffolk with working class parents who managed to send them to private school, which may explain why it is a little difficult to get them included in the British class system. (She says she used to fake a Cockney accent.) Obsessed with fashion, she hitchhiked to London and “lived on the street, I lived in the squat, I lived with my bags, and I had trash bags. I just switched from squat to squat and never knew where to go to sleep, ”she says. She didn’t have a bedroom of her own for two years. (In the past, she has talked about how much money she wasted on drugs in her rich days, and hinted that she didn’t have a good handle on her divorce settlement and had to sell her big house for a much more humble one.)
Her career began as a cashier in a branch of Joseph, the high-end clothing store, but she had been promoted to manager within six months. When she was 21, she ran her own PR fashion company selling brands like Naf Naf, “and I did all of Neal Street [in Covent Garden]. “Then there was music. “I mean, I made Betty Boo, I did all of these things, you know? Long before I met Noel, I had my own music management company, I did remixes – not me, but I made remix people. Has Ice Cube. Ice T has its only top 20 hit in the UK! But all of this is forgotten. “I’m saying something about how the media has disregarded women in the past and raised an eyebrow. “Not even … I can’t.”
She is not one for self-pity, and this is not the past, it is our brave new future. One where Gwyneth Paltrow started talking about menopause, and Angelina Jolie and the panelists continued Permissive women, to. Mathews seems extremely pleased that it has suddenly become the zeitgeist of many high profile personalities. I thought she might be angry that they all met the same thing, but she wants to meet them, lobby governments with them, inform the world. “Michelle Obama did her menopausal podcast a month ago and it has gotten every front page of every newspaper around the world. You know, she talks about Obama in the White House and the women around him who have all gone through menopause, and I just said, “Yeah! Say it! Go there! “
These are powerful women – no hunched, gray grandma in sight -. Menopause turned out to be not an issue for the elderly, as it once feared, but an issue that women in their forties need to talk about. “The only hill I’m over,” she says, and that evil glow that lights her eyes again, “is primrose.”
The New Hot: Embrace Menopause with Attitude and Style by Meg Mathews is published by Vermilion for £ 16.99. Order it for £ 14.78 at guardianbookshop.com