Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The recent behavior of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford finally tipped the scales in favor of a subject I've wanted to write about for a long time.
In case you missed the news, Sanford, a married, conservative Republican with four sons, recently admitted to having a clandestine affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Belen Chapur. His strange behavior surrounding the affair (telling his staff he was going to hike the Appalachian Trail while he instead traveled to Argentina) pales only in comparison to his sniveling comments to the Associated Press: "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soulmate."
Listen up, Gov: If you want to reconcile with your wife (which he claims he does), don't tell a global news network that you met your soulmate.
I am a firm believer that men, just like women, go through menopause. Here's a good joke about it that I found on the Internet. I don't know who came up with it, but I wish I did:
"Male menopause is a lot more fun than female menopause. With female menopause, you gain weight and get hot flashes. With male menopause, you get to date young girls and drive motorcycles."
Decreasing levels of testosterone propels men to do stranger things than they usually do. However, because their symptoms are less recognizable than women's, sometimes the erratic behavior gets chalked up to temporary insanity. Although I have no idea what the cure is (other than packing a bag - yours or his), I have polled my friends and come up with a list of symptoms to be on the lookout for:
1. "You want to do what?" If you find yourself saying this repeatedly to the man in your life, he may be in the grips of male menopause. His request could be anything from scaling a distant mountain peak with a guide named "Trixie" to a sudden interest in hula-hooping underwater.
2. Facial hair. The growing or cutting of facial hair is usually a telltale sign of male menopause. If they have hair, they may decide to shave it all off or grow a moustache or a soul patch - a small patch of hair just below the lower lip and above the chin that, more often than not, looks like a piece of food got stuck there. If they are losing their hair, they may go for the Donald Trump combover or grow a remaining piece of it long enough to sport one of those wispy ponytails.
3. Change. Change in weight, change of career, change of address, change in spending habits. I read that Gov. Sanford was so frugal, he bought three of his staff members one soda with three straws. Now, as penance, he may have to spring for individual sodas.
4. Stalking mythical creatures such as Skunk Ape, Bigfoot or the abominable snowman. If he spends all of his free time watching the paranormal channel, talking about the migratory patterns of one of these creatures and then, just to top it off, announces he's cashed in his 401(k) to go track down the hairy beast, consider spiking his morning coffee with a dash of hormone replacement therapy.
5. Sports comeback. Your guy set the record in the 25-meter butterfly in high school, and now he's trying to do it again, at 48. He embarks on an ambitious training schedule, loses 40 pounds and drinks nothing but spinach shakes. As long as Miss Trixie isn't the lifeguard, you can probably ride this one out, since a sports comeback may be less expensive than a sports car.
Good luck, ladies. And remember, this too shall pass!