by Liz Smith

Last week’s New York Times article "Listen Up, Everybody: I’m in Menopause" was amusing and informative.

Now I see, re-reading the piece, that I am one of the stars of Elizabeth Hayt’s article when she tells how the late Ann Richards and I emceed the Women’s Voices for Change "Menopause Ball" at Cipriani 42 Street many months ago (that’s us on the left).

Ms. Hayt expresses a certain cautious "the topic now knows no limits, even in the most unlikely setting" and goes on to repeat my joke about how Washington mover and shaker Vernon Jordan was a presenter at our ball. He handed over an expensive Prada purse to the famous writer Gail Sheehy and was our "token man."

Later during former Gov. Ann’s memorial in Austin, Texas last September, I told thousands of people a few anecdotes about Ann, including our experience at the Menopause Ball and my quip that I didn’t believe Vernon had ever expressed any interest in menopausal women until that night.


This was my own joke and canard against the very good sport, Vernon. He had always adored Ann Richards and he liked me, too, so he put himself in satire’s way by showing up and helping us out.

I do recall that the audience for Ann’s memorial, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, absolutely broke up in laughter at the wisecrack. So it served a good cause.

It’s OK to make jokes about menopause. Everybody does it. And as half the world’s people are in the state and the other half are putting up with them -– why not? If we can advance awareness and civilized discourse, I’m all for it.

I am just sorry that Gov. Ann did not live to be an emcee again for another Menopause Ball. She would have brought her own fierce humor and sense of fun to it as she did to everything.

Liz Smith is a columnist for the New York Post and author of "Natural Blonde" and "Dishing."

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