Roger Marolt: Roger This
October 7, 2010
I was watching my son’s high school soccer match last Saturday, keeping an eye on the game clock and my wristwatch. With about five minutes to go in the second half I realized that my wife and I had to get to the next event on a list long enough to make the weekend feel as long as a work week.
That’s when the information leak occurred. My neighbor, John, was sitting next to me.
“Hey, do you think you could give Max a lift home after the game?” I asked. “Susan and I have to get out of here.”
“No problem. What’s up?” he asked.
“Oh, we’ve got tickets to a Film Fest thing,” I replied.
It would have been fine had it ended there. But, as you have already guessed, it didn’t. My wife sitting next to his wife, Karla, added, “It’s Hot Flash Havoc.”
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To which she says, “Really. Isn’t that the one about menopause?”
As I stood up to leave I noticed more than a few people in the stands smiling, looking directly at me. One lady trilled, “Have fun,” and then burst out laughing, setting off a chain reaction of giggles from the rest of the long-eared hometown crowd. Imagine, a man going to a movie about menopause. Ha! Ha! Ha!
“Jeez, honey,” I said lowly as she walked and I slunk away. “Why’d you have to say it was about a bunch of women in menopause?”
“Well, why didn’t you tell them you think you might be in it, too? They’d understand.”
“Oh my gosh! Are you kidding?! We don’t know that for sure. Can’t we just ask somebody?”
“Oh, come on. Let’s go see for ourselves.”
We snuck into town and I hurried us toward the Wheeler, eyes down. I figured Susan would look out for traffic at the crosswalks. It was unseasonably warm and I considered regretfully that I might draw more attention to myself if I slipped on my hooded sweatshirt. As we neared the scene I looked up. Crap! There was a crowd forming on the sidewalk out front, some of them probably picking up tickets for Aron Ralston’s adventure flick. Luckily I spotted a side door cracked open. I slipped my fingers in, pulled it enough to squeeze through, and yanked Susan in behind me.
“Hey,” an usher barked. “You can’t use that door!”
“My mistake,” I said. “I’ll be sure to pay more attention next time. Here’s my ticket. Keep the stub.”
We bolted up the stairs, where I saw that other men actually were in the theatre. The relief I felt was short-lived, though. I knew all three of them. We exchanged sheepish greetings and lame excuses then slithered into separate dark corners to wait out the female “catching up” continuing in the lobby.
When it was time to make our way into the theatre, I was crushed to learn that the only seats left were in the center. We would not be able to sneak through the narrow rows of knees and purses unnoticed.
“Excuse me,” I meekly mumbled to the woman sitting at the end. She didn’t hear me, but a lady three rows in front of her did. She looked back and then sounded the alert.
“Oh, yes!” she said excitedly and turned to orchestrate our seating process. “Ladies, ladies!” she said loudly enough to get the attention of all the women in our row and general vicinity. “Make way for the enlightened man!” Just like that all eyes were on me.
“Good for you!” “Right on!” “Alright!” “Way to go!” “Ouch! That’s my toe!” They patted my back as I passed. I even got a fist pound. It was like rounding third after hitting a walk-off homer in the 10th inning … and being embarrassed about it! A unique emotional experience, indeed.
“If only these women knew why I’m really here,” I thought. Yes, it looked like I was there to support my wife on this information-gathering journey, and I was, but the information I truly sought pertained to my own personal situation.
I have to say that the movie was much better than I expected. It’s direct, informative and entertaining … for a documentary about a major female health issue. Women will love it and leave armed with information. Men will be able to sit through it (I felt squeamish in parts, but normal men who don’t pass out at the thought of a doctor’s office will be fine) and come away with an understanding of why their wives are suddenly hot and cold, up and down, and not so interested anymore. It’s nice to know that it’s her chemistry out of whack and not the new crop of hair in your ears or yellowing toe nails she’s reacting to. It’s biological, not personal. It’s the hormones, stupid!
The film also points out major flaws in the pivotal Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study of 2002 that linked menopausal hormone therapy to heart disease and scared the bajeezus out of women everywhere. Subsequent data shows that the risk is actually insignificant for many younger, healthy women. The movie also addressed the cancer risk from hormone therapy. Apparently hormone therapy doesn’t cause cancer, as is commonly believed. The risk is that additional hormones might cause already existing cancer cells to grow and spread more rapidly.
OK, that’s good to know, but it isn’t what I came to find out. I carefully watched every scene. I took mental notes. I learned a lot about women in menopause. In the end, I found out that I am not in it!
And, I admit, that’s a little disappointing.
Apparently, Susan and I were cut in the final edit. We played a wealthy young couple shopping for real estate in Aspen. The day we shot the scene the crew was referring to us as “The Talent.” We spent hours filming. I expected only a minute in the film out of all that, but I got zilch; just another pretty face on the cutting-room floor. Goodbye to the Screen Actors Guild health plan, too.
Oh well, at least I won’t be type-cast.
Wait a second! … You didn’t think I was … Naw. Never mind.
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