People keep saying, "Well, you look good." to me.
This is after they've asked how I am. "Still recovering," I say. Sepsis has a 28-50% mortality rate and I made it through a second time, but this time it's been five months and my muscles are still screwed up. Most of them are healing, it's vocal cords and lungs that are slowest. Mostly because I can't stop breathing and I am rather a fail at stopping talking.
It is quite weird to want to say "Not dead yet," cheerfully to people, "though I nearly did" and have the response be, "You look beautiful."
I am postmenopausal. Pretty firmly now, I think, though you never know if some last oocyte will get all excited and try to do something. Menopause is official once a woman has gone a year without periods. Women can then still have a cycle and a period, weirdly enough. If it acts like a normal period and a normal cycle, that is the one time that I don't get all excited about postmenopausal bleeding. Usually postmenopausal bleeding is worrisome for uterine cancer and needs a work up. Found one last year in an over 80 woman. She had a hysterectomy and is fine.
I had a man recently tell me that I could have sex with any man. Ok, that is just weird. Why would I have sex with any man? Yuk. I am picky, now, and it reminds me of that story where the grandfather would lean in the window of the car as the family left and say "Be particular."
I suppose that being postmenopausal aka can't get pregnant I could cut a swath through the single men (or married men, right?) in town. This does not appeal.
The same man told me that as a working single dad, he is hunted by women. "Don't complain too much," was my response. As a single working mother, I got the opposite end of the stick: no one invites me to anything. There seem to be periods (oops, male readers cringed) times that I am very attractive to the male population. This seems to coincide with the panda strep antibodies being up, which is weird. Though I do go out more then, trying to burn off the energy..... I conclude that single men are an asset, to be hunted, whereas single women are way too common and are disliked and feared. We might steal a man.
If I was part of a social circle, perhaps I would be less welcome in couple's houses once I became postmenopausal. After all, sex without the most obvious consequence. I know too much infectious disease to be enthusiastic.... and like I said, I am picky. If I were starting to be ostracized, I might be sad. I might grieve. I might wear black.
But I have been out in the cold for 14 years. I put a fence up recently, because someone stole a picnic table built of 2 by 6 boards from our front yard while we were on vacation. The fence has a community library box, with a bench beside it. Sometimes I put coffee and two cups out. The fence is made of that square wire, to let as much light through as possible. I also want to confine deer to the back yard and have a garden in front. They may be able to crawl under, we aren't sure yet.
Since I am alone anyhow, I might as well dress to please myself. If I was a frightened postmenopausal woman, hated by the community of married couples and with rumors starting that I am a witch, I might dress in black and mostly stay hidden. But I have been alone for years and the gossip has been beyond mean. Assumptions have been made and lies perpetuated.
The best revenge: to be busy, involved, happy. And everyone knows that engagement makes you absolutely stunning.