Three Things My Celebrity Crush Taught Me About Menopause

This week I’ve joined the women of GenFab™ to write about: My Celebrity Crush.
Scroll to the bottom to read other blogs about crushes.
John Travolta and I grew up together. Right from the start, boy could he make me laugh not to mention my heart race with his Italian good looks.  He was already in high school when I met him, but I reasoned that was okay. I was thirTEEN, that’s only one year behind. He’d find out about me soon enough. When he ran for student body president I was with him all the way. I dreamed up the perfect campaign slogans and signs. My bold approach would show everyone else what I already knew about him. Underneath the swaggering good-looking Sweathog exterior, there’s a guy who cares. I was the perfect match for him, my brains his bravado. Only he didn’t know. I could be Vinnie Barbarino’s girl. I was sure Mr. Kotter would approve.

A year later my initial crush was elevated to full-tilt heartthrob. As Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever the familiar John was there, but a new element had been added. Staring at the theater’s larger-than-life poster he appeared an exotic man-creature with serious sexual vibes. In his sleek white suit I admired the confidence of his stance and was elated to see that he could dance! I could imagine him, finger pointed skyward slowly lowering it to point in my direction. He’d look right at me, beckoning me to come be his partner. Just thinking about it let loose a million butterflies in my stomach and a stampede of horses pounding within my chest. It was exhilarating. It was obvious to me, we had both grown up.

My Celebrity CrushBut being only fourteen-AND-A-HALF I wasn’t allowed to see my R-rated John until a few years later. This situation only increased my ardor. I pined and brooded, sure proof of my devotion. The popular Bee Gees hits from the movie’s soundtrack played on the radio and gave words to my amplified emotions.

When I got the original movie soundtrack album, I sang right along declaring “If I can't have you, I don’t want nobody, baby!” I found out that in the movie this passionate plea was sung, not by the Bee Gees who wrote it, but by a woman with the same name as ME, Yvonne Elliman. I became convinced that this fact was not merely a trivial coincidence, but a sign of something more.

I saw John dance with Olivia in Grease, scrubbed clean for a PG audience, before I’d ever see him in what I considered his full glory, on fire dancing disco in Saturday Night Fever. But my crush had made his mark on me. I’d caught the fever. True to the hit song “You Should be Dancing”, before I graduated high school I was a self-taught dancer, my disco techniques worthy of Travolta’s attention.

Coming up with what I wanted to write, I went over the telltale symptoms of a classic crush. There I sat with my laptop studiously making notes. The click of the keys coming quickly as I got on a roll. Then it dawned on me - the list of behaviors describing a young teenage girl with a crush sounded strangely familiar. In fact it described me, and I don’t mean the teenager me. I mean the me of just a few weeks prior, the 50 year old menopausal me.  

The clickity-click of my typing stopped. My head did a little spin on that for a moment, fragments of thoughts colliding. I’m going through menopause. A crush? It seemed entirely contradictory. I read over my list, fingers still poised over the keys. Could that be? I did a quick mental checklist. The giddy highs and aching lows, the overwhelming feelings of falling for him and noticing so many things I liked about him. The intensity of emotion flooding me, not to mention the preoccupation with how he was spending all of his time, were undeniable signs of something.

I’m not sure just how long I sat there like that, staring at my screen. Then it hit me. Pieces of the puzzle came together and I had one of my menopause flashes. Thus I’d like to thank John, My Celebrity Crush, for teaching me these three things about menopause.

#1 – Menopausal hormone shifts can feel astonishingly like an adolescent crush. This is nothing I’d ever heard of before. I probably would have judged it silly if someone suggested that would be happening to me.  But expressing those overwhelming positive emotions, rather than trying to figure out if I was crazy or not, opened a window to more pleasure for me.

#2 – Mood swings during menopause can be taken advantage of for more enjoyment. Writing about my celebrity crush I saw how I actively looked for reasons to adore my crush. Thinking back about it, that was true of all my teen crushes and it remains true today. While it might be hormones that give my emotions a kick start, I’m the one who reinforces them and keeps the good feelings alive by coming up with more excuses to enjoy more things.

#3 – There’s no rhyme or reason to the intensity of menopause experiences. In hindsight, I cannot come up with any logical explanation for developing a crush so intensely for so long on John Travolta.  I cannot sensibly explain the causes of the highs and lows, or scribble down the recipe that created the potent mix of idealization and infatuation. What I can do is describe and acknowledge both the uniqueness of my experience and the common threads that bind us as human beings. Therein lies the joy of living. And so it is with my experience of menopause.

 

21 comments:

Sharon Greenthal said...

A great analogy! Perimenopause has brought me feelings and emotions I find alien and strange - just like that first crush did, long ago.

Shannon Bradley-Colleary said...

Loved this post. I'm having a really awful crush right now on Andy Whitfield. The beautiful man who played Spartacus on Starz and who subsequently died of cancer a mere 18 months later. There's something about beauty and tragic, early deaths that inexplicable conflate the 13 year old inside of me.

Haralee said...

I love John! Menopause and adolescence are close with hormones fluctuating.I feel for those who had children late in life or entered menopause early so children is a teenager and Mom is menopausal! Too many hormonal rages in one home!

D. A. Wolf said...

Nice twist on the gist of the crush!

I do recall JT in his disco whites... Oh my! Such different days!

sheri said...

Fun playful descriptions of your John Travolta crush and I like your correlations with menopause, intense feeling, emotional surges...
"There’s no rhyme or reason to the intensity of menopause experiences...

fadedginger said...

I haven't thought about Welcome Back, Kotter in years! All that hair!

Donna Highfill said...

Great comparison - once the "blah" phase of menopause passed, I have noticed some ridiculous highs and lows that make me feel more alive than I've felt in years. I loved remembering John (can that man move, or what?) and realizing something new about the whole menopausal experience. Thank you!

Carpool Goddess said...

He was so adorable in Welcome Back, Kotter, but I fell for him madly in Saturday Night Fever.

Brenda@MyMidlifeProject said...

Being from West Texas and living in SW Oklahoma in 1980, I loved John in Urban Cowboy -- although I watched my share of Saturday Night Fever and Grease repeats. He never disappoints... and I think it's so cool you grew up with him! ;)

Helene Bludman said...

Always adored him, but Saturday Noght Fever gave me a whole new appreciation for his talents. I love a man who can dance like that.

Joy Weese Moll said...

Great connection -- that works for me. And explains a little something of my experiences the last few years. They do have a lot in common with adolescence!

Brenda said...

Thank you for such a fun read!

Rachael said...

The parallels you draw between becoming a teenager and going through menopause are fun to read. Brings back feelings and memories I haven't experienced in years! Great write up and fun photo too.

Eva said...

You've got such a fun perspective - I never would have made those kind of connections about it. Thank you!

daisy said...

That's a great point about taking advantage of the experience of mood swings. You decide how that rush of feelings and emotions is going to effect you. Good feelings keeps things going your way, how fun!

Melanie said...

Fun post-- Saturday Night Fever was epic in my world, lol. I've also been pondering the parallels between puberty and menopause. Menopause is one roller coaster ride I'm ready to get off!

Karen D. Austin said...

Great tie in to the change. My daughter is 11, and I'm 51, so we have a lot of hormones sliding around in this house. I remember watching SNF as a teen and admiring his character. Then I rewatched SNF in my 40s and realized that the film was a social critique of the working class and their fantasies of escaping (and the dark undercurrent that they are really trapped--unless they jump off a bridge). UGH! I think I like my original view that dancing is the path to ecstasy.

Tammy said...

Oh my, is it hot in here?? Whew! Who could ever forget Vinnie strutting down a NYC sidewalk with the Bee Gees sound track in the background? Never! HE was the original guy who brought sexy back. I'm riding your train, sister! Loved the post.

Anonymous said...

HOLY SMOKES!!
I just googled crush and menopause and found this.
Thank God! I was VERY worried that something else was going on - I was finding myself with a crush on someone I should NOT have a crush on. It is intense and crazy. I am liking it and am afraid of it at the same time.
Anyway, thank you for posting this - you may have saved my sanity!

Yvonne Wray said...

I'm glad you found this post. It is good to get reality on these kinds of feelings that can go along with menopause instead of worrying.

Anonymous said...

So relieved to have read this. As a 50 yr old I have developed a totally inappropriate crush that is actually making me feel hugely sad as the person is so so out of reach and I have become so preoccupied. I was feeling like I was losing my mind and considering antidepressants (I have always been a cheerful person) but at least there may be some explanation. Thank you.

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