Menopause brain: advantages of…

I’ve discovered another unexpected joy of aging that has nothing to do with no longer having to shave my legs (because they seem to have become hair-free of their own accord — who knew?)

The new benefit has to do with my ability to weather the rejection challenges associated with sales.

I never sought an opportunity to test my persuasive abilities in the context of the punishing selling profession. The one summer I spent in retail, flogging suits and dresses at Clark’s Place, a slightly upscale sister shop to Le Chateau in the bowels of Vancouver’s Pacific Centre shopping mall, cured me of any such aspirations.

I discovered that the commission experience was capable of seriously perverting my natural empathic tendencies, converting me into a cut-throat piranha, willing to stretch the truth like the spandex on the woman between me and the mirror, who wanted to know if the outfit she was considering made her look more generously proportioned than she was.

And this for a mere one percent commission, added onto my minimum wage ($3.50/hour at the time)!

The motivator was less the paltry few dollars, and more the competitive nature of the exercise: every week, the commission accomplishments of the six sales staff were ranked and posted in the store’s broom closet/washroom.

I’m not proud of this. But in my defense, having learned a dark secret about my character, I returned to waitressing the following summer in a bid to remain in university and avoid having to take a job in either field ever again.

But back to the aging advantage: It’s not so much that I’ve become more emotionally resilient with age (in fact, those close to me would confirm that I weep as easily as ever — reading newspaper stories about victimized sex trade workers or listening to David Suzuki decry the blindness of a world bent on privileging the economy over the environment).

And it’s not that I immediately bounce back from the disappointment of not hearing from those I’ve emailed in pursuit of a meeting to talk about the value of my small non-profit venture and how it can help them change the world.

It’s more that I often just don’t remember having contacted them in the first place…


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