I was thinking the other day how it's only really recently that I've realised how much my hormonal cycle has impacted my love life. Like most women my age (40, as of this month), I was on the pill from my teens which probably suppressed the symptoms of a normal menstrual cycle. I don't think it was until I started trying for my first baby at 30 that I realised how much my life and mood revolved around my hormones.
That sense of euphoria and energy I get when I’m ovulating when I feel like Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream after falling under Puck’s spell (hot to trot and, to use a massively outdated 90’s term, horny) followed by the subsequent oestrogen dip when the PMT hits when I'd quite happily elope to the island of Lesbos. I’m not sure why it's taken me so long to realise this but I suppose I'm something of a slow starter in these sorts of matters.
Looking back, I realise now that those times when I finally got together with someone I thought I really fancied only to feel underwhelmed and slightly detached, in contrast to a hot night of passion with someone I didn’t even have feelings for, was all dictated by my menstrual cycle.
I remember one memorable evening in a tent at a festival with a boy I’d met on holiday and thinking he was some sort of Adonis in bed when actually, I was probably just ovulating. And meeting someone at a work do and thinking he reminded me of Mark Ruffalo. I sat next to him on the train home and swear I felt my thighs tingle every time they brushed next to his. The next time I saw him I felt, well, nothing.
It’s not that I want to take us women back to those dark ages of life before feminism or suggest that we are just at the whim of our hormones and/or the lunar cycle but for me, at least, it has a great deal to answer for. Anyone who has ever owned a female pet, especially a dog (I’m loathe to use the word ‘bitch’ for obvious reasons) or a horse, will know that when they are ‘in season’ they are an entirely different animal. And I think it’s fair to say that I am too.
From now on, I am only going to try and schedule in and arrange things when I am close to or actually ovulating all though it’s rather unfortunate that it’s taken me 25 years or so of menstruating to realise the affect it has on my life. And that I only really feel on form for two out of four weeks of the month. The next thing I have to look forward to is the sodding menopause.
It’s a shame, as some dude called Jonathan Safran Foer apparently said, it takes a life to learn how to live.