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Disco Minge, World Menopause Day & Taboos

When I first thought of this title, I knew it was the right one when I started to debate it in my head. So, after I debated in my head for a bit. I thought it was then time to debate it with you lot. Out here in cyber space.

What does Disco Minge mean? And what the hell has it got to do with Menopause Day…I shall tell you.

At a gig in Brentwood, yes the very heart of the Only Way is Essex. The audience were asked if they were aware of any symptoms of the menopause. They are then encouraged to add anonymous suggestions via their phone, to immediately appear on a projector on stage. Whilst this was happening, a single voice from one of my homeys shouted out “Disco Minge.” It was a great moment as the audience roared with laughter. Soon there was a moment of quietness. You could almost hear everyone including me thinking, well what does that mean? I in turn asked the contributor and in a bullet kind of prompting each other kind of way, she said “You know, when.. you’ve been dancing, and… “ We both simultaneously looked down at our bits and I then said “Ohhh and you’re all…” Now rolling my hands forward, we both said together “Sweaty.” The official term (said very loosely) in the urban dictionary found on line and not on the Dark Web I hasten to add is as follows:

This refers to state of the minge. After a night clubbing the minge will get sweaty and unpleasant to the taste and smell.

Placed above an advert for toenail fungus and under “Get this wording on a mug.” There was a slight bad taste in my mouth and the only discos I’ve ever eaten have been the ones in a crisp bag. However, it got people talking there was a sense of relief in the audience. ‘Well if someone can say that. Then surely, I can mention the hot flushes I’m getting’ was the vibe I felt. People started to contribute quite freely to the conversation. This is the magic of comedy and what it can achieve, it shines a light on taboos and reveals them for the social constraints they are. I did not really think of this again until the week of World Menopause Day, I was doing a show at Leicester University. No, that’s a bit of lie really, I had looked up Disco Dick and yes ladies don’t think we are being singled out. It basically has the same meaning. However the disco dick doesn't get bogged down by such a taboo, no its out there giving it large. Theres even a band called Disco Dick and the Mirrorballs. Not even making that up.

Anyway, back to the World Menopause Day the gig. It was an interesting one in that it was immediately post work for the wellbeing staff with tea and coffee. Laid out in a brightly lit lecture room with me and my meagre set on half the stage. We were trying a new system for collecting data such as symptoms of the menopause and instead of the audience input being shown immediately on the projector, I found I had a couple of minutes which felt like hours of nothing. In my head I started a debate, shall I or shan’t I? Which fascinates me for a couple of reasons, one that I am now able to even consider this whilst performing, as on many previous occasions I don’t even remember being in the room. I also realised I was summing them up, the room felt too restricted. I began to think about taboos that could be discussed alongside the menopause? I could hear my angel on one shoulder and my devil on the other egging me on. No, Do it, No, Do it, No, Do it, OK.

Hearing the words spill out my mouth felt as wrong as the quietness in the room. Again, in my paranoid performer brain I thought I saw mouths drop in shock. “No one’s ever heard of Disco Minge then?” I blurted. Out of nowhere I heard a little giggle, my eyes shot across the room to the left and a younger woman had her hand to her face trying to tuck the a-wall giggle back in. It was too late she had let it escape, to my rescue - I hasten to add. My newfound partner in tabooness was mortified, she realised I had now directed the attention of the room on to her “So you’ve heard of it then?” I asked. Her face told me she had no intention of getting involved in my reckless behaviour. But I was dying on the spot here and I was going to take someone down with me, if all else failed to get a laugh out of this one. I found myself talking in the same bullet way as I did with my Essex Homey. “Dancing… you know… “Me, nodding like the Churchill dog. “Sweaty” was said together. We were both aware of the whole audience staring at her, and I kind of didn’t know how to help her. Still not sure, I put another question back at her, little reruns of Laurel and Hardy were playing in my head whilst my angel and devil were having a major domestic.

“So where did you hear that”? I asked in a Laurely kind of way. The audience seemed to swing their bodies towards her and in silence shout, “Yeah, where did you hear that?” “At Glastonbury” she replied. With, I’ve got to admit a bit more authority than what I was showing. There was a sigh of relief across the whole audience, and dare I say a couple of chuckles. My angel was singing with its mates "Hallelujah". It was a gift! This young woman saved my arse and the mood in the room lifted, again people just like in Brentwood seemed to relax and become more engaged. I am still pondering on why this is the case.

  • Easier to talk about after another taboo

  • No one knows anything about it anyway

  • Naughty conversation, not suppose to mention female health

  • Mention a trendy festival, all is forgiven

After the show a woman in her early forties told me she was so glad she came, of course as a performer this delighted me. But what made me feel even more purposeful is that she then spoke about her own mental health and that she had no idea how hormones in the menopause can affect this. Even when I reiterated, I was not a doctor, she still spoke about her relief and intention to self-educate about the perimenopause and all its connotations. These kinds of moments encourage me to continue with the show, there has not been a show yet when someone has not been in shock of their lack of menopausal knowledge. Why is the menopause still such a taboo? It is as natural as puberty and pregnancy in female health. It's time that sex education takes the responsibility of educating younger members of society. There is no reason why future generations should be underprepared for a phase of life that is inevitable.

I mean really, if there is a band called Disco Dick and the Mirrorballs in this world (they’re pretty good actually) then surely, we can talk about the Menopause on other days other than World Menopause Day.

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