Paddy Gower: 'Menopause' put me in sweaty situation

OPINION: I was dripping with sweat in a 70 degrees celsius sauna, my makeup was running and my clothes were way too tight.

I was anxious and I had not slept all night.

They may call it a "hot flush" but I felt like "crap warmed up". 

On top of all this, my boss decided to ring with a bloody annoying assignment.

I felt for a second as if I was going to combust.

So how did I get myself in this situation?  Well, this was a “menopause simulation” - a man trying menopause.

You see it is one thing talking about menopause, but my female friends were really keen to make me experience it. 

I said yes without knowing what I was saying yes to. 

The set up  

Newshub reporter Kate Rodger got together with broadcaster and Grey Areas podcast host, Petra Bagust along with my co-host Karen O’Leary to concoct a plan. 

KATE RODGER: "It’s all very well for us to talk with Paddy about menopause, we gotta really make him feel it" 

PETRA BAGUST: "So you need Paddy to understand what menopause feels like? We can do that" 

KATE: "One of the big things is when you get hit by a massive hot flush and for a lot of women, that’s a really sweaty situation." 

PETRA: "So put him in a sauna, suit, full TV makeup – shebang". 

KATE: "I also suddenly started putting on weight in areas that I did not enjoy. So we need to make sure that his suits are maybe a size or two too small."  

PETRA: "Insomnia has a massive impact on women during perimenopause." 

KATE: "We need to keep him awake all night before we put him in a sauna." 

KAREN: "I can do that, I can just give him a call every hour on the hour." 

PETRA: "So sleeplessness plus I think energy drinks – he needs to be edgy and anxious."  

KATE: "I think it sounds torturous." 

KAREN: "Well that’s the point though isn’t it?" 

The simulation  

First of all I was kept up all night, with O’Leary calling me every hour.

First thing in the morning, I headed down to the Tepid Baths in Auckland. 

I was given Eli Matthewson’s suit – It was so small I couldn't even do up the pants. (Which were wool blend by the way) 

I then painted on a full face of makeup (something I know how to do better than many men!) 

I was given the most revolting can of energy drink and forced to drink it in one go to make me "jittery".

And then came the "Coup de tat": I was sent into the sauna – 70-degrees.  

My producer said just five minutes, we’d make it look like longer. 

But I’m a "method actor", so I stayed in for a full sweaty 30-minutes 

And just when I thought I couldn’t cope anymore: Kate, Karen and Petra organised one last menopause challenge. 

I had to do my job!

I was assigned a "live cross" about the Parnell sinkhole.

It was too much. The only word I could summon up was “you bastards”.

My brain was foggy and I just could not think properly.

I threw out a word salad, then puffed and panted my way through it

 At the end all I could really think to say was "Happy Menopause Day".

Menopause as a man 

In conclusion, it sucked.

I know, I know… I only did half an hour and I should try ten years of it like many women go through!

But it honestly did give me empathy for what women go through - I really had no idea. 

And the phrase “hot flushes” minimises the more serious symptoms that we could not simulate. 

My menopause simulation really did teach me a lesson.

I know it may seem like I am “mansplaining” menopause here.

But I did it to try and understand menopause better.

I saw it as a chance to become less of a menopause numpty, and more of a menopause ally. 

Happy World Menopause Day!

Watch the video above for more.

Patrick Gower is the host of Paddy Gower Has Issues on Three and ThreeNow.