08/27/2014 10:53 am ET Updated Oct 28, 2014

How Will I Know if I'm Really Flashing

Naked. Air-conditioned. On top of duvet.
Excerpt from my new porn novel ?

This is how I sleep, because I'm a human torch.
The "change" is starting. I'm only 40. Perimenopause. Like retired people at an airport, it's shown up extremely early, packed and ready to head South.

I have the following ailments (which are entirely of my own experience and not medical proof in any way that you are in perimenopause). You could just be suffering from "old."

• "Death to all" fantasies that are delightful and calming.
• Peekaboo periods. Here it is, there it goes, wait there it is.
• I pee my pants, and not from laughing.
• I can stick marshmallows on my fingers and roast anywhere on my body.

The universe is screaming: "Grab your bucket list! Now divide by two and pick the top three."

You will now spend most of your time online, in support groups and wondering if it is really menopause. Because for the last 20 years you've just been staring at the crazy, older women muttering, "Is it hot in here or is it just me?"

Guess what? It's YOU.

It's the middle of winter and you're in a tube top and thongs cleaning out your garage freezer.

I've started gathering as much first hand documentation as possible. For it's the women who go before you that will guide the way.

I see her. She's anywhere. A woman emitting menopausal havoc. I have no boundaries. A sponge for information, I soak up all she squeezes out.
Conversations go down like a bad zombie apocalypse movie.
Our eyes lock.

"Are there others?" I hush.
"Many." she affirms
"All around us."
"I'm new. What, what do I do!??"
Shooshing me "Keep it together. First, get a fan, get several fans. Find a battery-operated one for your purse.
"OK, fans. What else?"
From memory, "Emergency Kit. Pads. With wings. Bottled water. Extra fan batteries and herbs, pills, drugs or anything else Dr. Oz's name is on" (She reaches in her massive tote to show me hers.) 'And reading glasses, expect your eyesight to fail ASAP." she's squinitng
"Sweet Jesus."
"Oh, it ain't pretty sister."
"How long do I have??"
"Five, maybe twenty years."
"No!" (Shaking in panicked disbelief) "It feels like Hell!"
"Hell is a snowbank compared to the cauldron of lava melting your lady parts."

All hope drains from my face. Or it's a flash? I'm a meno-rookie. I start to cry. From her kit she pulls a handkerchief with a rainbow cat pattern and dabs my eyes.

"Oh honey, you'll get by. We all do." handing me a card she encourages 'Call this number if it gets worse."
"Thanks Mom, and I'm sorry I looked at you like you had lost your mind all these years. I get it now."
"I know darling. Here, have a mint. And get off the floor."