So I spent Saturday in London. Not shopping (that was Friday, results to be worn at the Irish Book Awards tonight). Not sightseeing (that was Friday too, at the Charles Dickens Museum where I got to see his worn leather desk; mind blowing). Not socialising (yep, that was Friday too, dinner with a fabulous writing pal). No, I spent a Saturday in London at a conference discovering, among other things, how to perfect my orgasm. Who knew at 46, I still had so much to learn?
So that was actually just part of the day, albeit one that left a lasting impressing. The conference – Magnificence in Mid-Life, was run by the wonderful The Mutton Club, and included all kinds of topics from Colour analysis, to eating your way through the hormonal minefield of menopause, to jumping around with parkour. What was most interesting though (apart from discovering that two well-placed drops of Arousal Oil will have you smiling all day) was that the room was filled with women trying to find a place for ourselves in a society that places us in the wrong box. We don’t see ourselves in the stereotypes that the media and tradition would like us to be. We don’t see ourselves represented properly – and if we do, a misogynist backlash puts us firmly back in our place. In the week that Trump’s success at the polls showed that society does not care that women are graded, degraded, bullied, and thought less worthy, it was both unsettling and comforting to see a gathering of women not content to be put in their place, but to instead search for meaning, search for pleasure, search for fulfilment, search for a place on the stage. Like the term ‘teenagers’ was invented in the 50’s to describe this previously unidentified group of children, so perhaps we will soon see a new name for women approaching, in or after menopause who see no need for pause on their sexuality, their beauty, their balls and their ambitions. We are rebels with a cause – to be who we are, and not who we are expected to be.
Trumping misogyny (and racism, and homophobia) is the goal for liberals in the US for the next four years, but trumping frumping (and invisibility and recognition) is the goal for women over 40 everywhere. While we all laughed at some of the devices being bandied about to help us perfect that orgasm, it was clear there were women there who were not at ease with the idea that their needs need attention. “Use it or loose it” was the mantra of the session. With or without a partner. With or without toys. But taking the time to find your sexual mojo, find it, explore it, enjoy it. But that advice relates to every part of our lives; our intellect, our creativity, our love, our ambitions, our fitness and health, our libido, our boundaries, our limitations, our mental health, our passions, our potential. Use it or loose it. Trump that.