FaceOnFire: A Girl's Guide to Perimenopause

Knock on wood, my consulting business is going swimmingly well these days. But it’s of dubious reassurance to know that if it all went to pot, there’s a whole new career path I can embark upon: Bearded Lady.

Yesterday I discovered a disproportionately long hair on my chin, due north of the thick, Don Draper-caliber beard hair that has plagued the tip of my chin for a good 10 years. A beard hair that has survived numerous electrolysis treatments and vigorous tweezing, leading me to believe that no hair removal treatment known to womankind will ever destroy whatever circus sideshow aspirations I may someday be forced to adopt.

There was a time when the single, wiry black hair on my chin was fodder for a good laugh. It so happens that a former roommate (and current BFF) managed to grow one too, in the exact same spot. We envisioned a distant future in the same retirement community, where we would charm the dentures off of the single gents with our chin-hair growing contests. It was funny when there was only one hair, but now I have two. And I’m not laughing.

Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s the hair thinning treatment I started last month (see previous blog post). Whichever way you slice it, it all boils down to perimenopause.

Yes, girlfriends. To add insult to the injury of thinning hair on my scalp, I now have the potential to propel Justin Bieber into a prepubescent Envy Hissy Fit at the thought that my beard may be growing in thicker than his.

Where did I go wrong? What karmic faux pas did I commit to deserve such a hirsute fate? I suppose DNA might have a role. My ethnic makeup puts me at the cross-section of cultures that boast mustachioed, hairy-armed women. But just as I began celebrating the recent hormone-induced loss of the downy layer of forearm  hair that I’d been dutifully Jolen-bleaching since seventh grade, a robust crop took root on my face.

For purposes of full disclosure, I have been bleaching – with equal abandon – my Frida Kahlo mustache to the point that I go through a home bleaching kit about once every three months. Not a task I relish, and sometimes I shirk my duties. It’s those mornings when I apply the makeup and face powder and realize that I have a five o’clock shadow on my upper lip – at 7 in the morning – that I sigh, wash off the makeup and whip out the bleaching kit.

I’m beginning to worry that perimenopausal hair loss is a bit like liposuction. You may lose the belly fat through the wonders of plastic surgery, but in six months’ time you’ll have an ass the size of Texas. Me, I’m worried that as the hair on my head makes a rebound (that scalp treatment shampoo and serum seems to be working!), one day I’ll wake up looking like Chewbacca.

What’s a girl to do? I’m open to your suggestions. For now, I think I’ll torment the petal-cheeked Justin Bieber with anonymous Twitter taunts.


et cetera