Heat Wave Hot Flash

San Francisco has been trapped and suffocated by a heat wave the likes I’ve never experienced, ever. Or more precisely, the likes I’ve never experienced since I’ve been going through menopause.

Hot weather + hot flashes = I am about to die.

I can’t remember ever being this miserable. Which is saying a lot since misery seems to stick to me like warm gum.

And to all of you men or Millennials who have no idea what it’s like to be attacked on the outside by heat and the inside by hormones, imagine this: You are standing in an oven, and inside of your body, there is also an oven, set to broil. It sucks.

And since San Francisco never gets hot, or even very warm, air conditioning doesn’t exist, save for malls and movie theaters. But then you have to get there. And although cars do have AC, I don’t drive. Have you ever taken a bus in 90 degree weather? It. Is. The. Worst. Meanwhile, no matter the AC situation, the oven inside your body refuses to turn off.

So I stay home. I practically sit on one of the few fans I have. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can’t take enough showers (I know there’s a drought – I have them down to 1 minute or less). I can’t stand being in my own skin.

I order more fans. I chew ice. I watch my cats flatten their boiling bodies against the hardwood floors like pancakes, sucking in any ounce of cool they can get. None of us will touch the other, we are all so hot.

This hell goes on for three days.

Finally, the fog rolls in. I practically break down the door to get to a yoga class to move my stale everything and engage in human interaction. There’s an actual chill in the air. My new fans arrived. I am human again.

The next time there is a heat wave, I want to be better prepared, sartorially speaking. One thing I’ve learned is this: just as the thought of anybody or anything touching us is awful, you don’t want your clothes to touch you, either. So go for floaty, voluminous natural fibers that allow for a cushion of air to separate you from the sweat. Try the pajama category for cute, lightweight tanks and shorts. And go get yourself the cutest fan you can find. I bought the Vornado fan pictured below, and I could not be a bigger fan of this fan. It’s portable, powerful and pretty.

If only they made tiny fans we could swallow to keep our insides cool. Now that would be something.

hot flash summer style1. Jenora Linen shorts, Calypso. 2. Madewell Linen dress, Madewell. 3. Band of Outsiders Trapeze Dress, ShopLesNouvelles. 4. Eberjey striped pajama top, Net-A-Porter. 5. Eberjey pajama shorts, Net-A-Porter. 6. Vornado Vfan, Amazon.

3 Responses

  1. andreastarkratner@gmail.com'

    Oh Paula! I feel your pain- literally. I have been having hot flashes since 2003- and they never went away!! I have had to change how I dress-no sweaters, even in z freezing cold NY winter, & if I want to wear a sweater, I have to put a tank under it in case I have to strip. I have stripped on a subway train & in the street. I don’t care what people think, I’m desperate at that point. I never go in the subway in the summer because it is absolutely intolerable. I have 2 fans- one in the living room which is a heavy duty Vornado, & one in the bedroom whichI have on all night so I can fall asleep. My husband has learned to live in a wind tunnel. Sometimes he puts a pillow up as a wall against the wind. In the summer, he has to put a jacket on IN the apartment & takes it off to go out. At my part time job, they bought me a fan for my desk & it gets turned on & off all day. My gyno says that for a small number of women, hot flashes just never go away. So I have a broken thermostat. Herbal remedies don’t help me & hormones are out of the question. NOT FAIR. But I do hope yours don’t last too long!

    1. Paula

      Hi Andrea: Oh God, wow, I did not know hot flashes can become permanent!

      I have learned to dress in layers, always go out in sleeveless stuff, always keep a long-sleeve T in my bag in case I need it. Because I don’t drive and walk/take public transit everywhere, any jacket I bring needs to be soft and lightweight and easy to take on/off. Oddly, lightweight FUR is great for that. When not on, I tie it over my bag (which actually looks cool) — and I also bought this funky Martin Margiela “coat holder” – a leather strap with a big silver ring at the end — almost like a giant necklace, that you wear over your shoulder and the coat “Hangs” in the ring. Always a fashion opportunity!

      Stay cool! Crazy enough, the weather has done a 180, and I’m not working a foot from a heater! xo

  2. moburd514@gmail.com'
    Mo Burdick

    Evian Brumisateur was my best friend when I had these
    pocket size, any size, always had one handy!
    Mist generously, sit in front of fan or hang your head out of car window, or stick head in freezer!

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