I met my friend Jen for dinner the other night. I was so excited to see my friend and to go partake of some delicious Greek food. And let’s face it, having an evening out without kids is always nice. Heck, I schedule dental appointments just to get out of the house by myself, and sharing a plate of saganaki with one of my very best friends is way better than rinsing and spitting into a miniature toilet bowl!
I picked up my friend and started driving to Greek Islands (the restaurant, not an actual island in Greece because everyone knows you can’t drive there in one evening). I had to stop for gas on the way and that’s when it happened. As I was pumping gas, I felt a fine layer of perspiration forming on my forehead. It was warm out, but not really sweat-inducing warm. Still, the flush was beginning, spreading throughout my body. I envisioned a cartoon thermometer above my head slowly filling with red until the mercury exploded out the end in a shower of crimson droplets.
For the rest of the ride, I sat with the vents aimed toward my face, the air blasting cold. But it didn’t help. Jen and I entered the restaurant and were seated. I immediately grabbed the menu and began furiously fanning myself. I grasped my water glass, hoping the coolness would seep into my bloodstream through my hands and spread throughout my body, cooling as it flowed through my veins. Failing to feel the desired icy effect, I grabbed the glass and gulped its contents instead.
I looked at Jen and stammered an apology for creating a wind tunnel with my menu while explaining about “those freaking hot flashes.” When the waiter approached, I was busily wiping sweat from my forehead and upper lip and hadn’t even opened my menu as it was still being employed as a fan. I thought to myself, Thank God I’m here with my best friend! What if this was a date? Can you imagine the look of horror on the poor guy’s face as he watched me go up in flames? How fast would the guy run from the restaurant if he saw me melting into a puddle of sweat? So attractive.
When the waiter came back, we ordered a bottle of Roditis. Wine tends to make me flush, but I figured since I was already having a hot flash, I might as well drink up. With any luck, I’d pass out and not remember spontaneously combusting in the restaurant.
A little later, the waiter returned with the saganaki we ordered. He poured brandy over the cheese and instead of lighting it on fire, he leaned the plate toward me so the heat radiating from my body would ignite our appetizer. Opa! We ordered our dinner and when the waiter tried to take my menu away, I bit his hand. What can I say? I needed that menu-fan! It was the only thing keeping my body temperature under 200 degrees. “Um, sorry. Can I keep this please? I’m a little hot,” I stammered. He gave me a look of disgust and walked off.
For the next ten minutes, I alternated between taking bites of saganaki and pressing my water glass to my wrists, my forehead, and the back of my neck until my body heat melted the ice.
Our waiter delivered our entrees and inquired if we needed anything else. I asked, “Could I go stand in the refrigerator for a few minutes?”
He eyed me for a minute. Then, with a look of barely concealed revulsion, turned on his heel and left. In all that time, I still hadn’t been able to cool down, so I rumaged in my purse until I found a clip and hastily threw my carefully styled hair into a knot on top of my head to get it off my neck. It didn’t offer much of a respite.
“The mousaka tastes a little salty tonight,” I observed. I poked at the casserole with my fork as, out of the corner of my eye, I watched a bead a of sweat trail down my face, finally splashing into the bechamel sauce covering my eggplant. Hmmm, maybe that’s why.
“That’s it!” I complained, excusing mysef from the table. I stood up and came to the horrified realization that my clothes were stuck to me. “Oh my gosh!” I gave Jen a frantic look. “Do I have butt sweat?” I asked desperately. She eyed me carefully and assured me there were no sweat marks on my pants, so I quickly walked to the bathroom.
I eyed the toilet and contemplated peeling my clothes off and diving in. Hey, don’t judge! For those of you who have been here, you understand the desperation that comes with a hot flash that lasts forever (in a public place, no less)! Instead, I spritzed myself all over with body spray, put a wad of toilet paper soaked in cold water on the back of my neck and stood at the sink with my hands in the cold water for as long as I dared leave my friend alone at our table.
That should do the trick, I thought. But alas, when I returned to my friend and my lukewarm mousaka, I was deflated to realize I was still flushed. When the waiter asked if we wanted coffee or dessert, I gave up. “What the heck? Sure, I’ll take a cup of coffee. It’s not like I can get any hotter at this point. Oh, and I’ll take the bill, a shower, and a fresh set of clothes too. Thanks.”
At this point, our waiter informed us that he was transferring our table to someone else.
When I asked my doctor if menopause would come early for me since I started with the joy of hot flashes a couple years ago at the ripe old age of 40, she informed me, “No, it probably just means you’re in for a long haul.”
I hate her.
And that is reason number 239 why I can never go on a date.
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