I am here to tell you that there is a big difference -- HUGE -- between just being hot and having a hot flash.
Being hot means you may be a bit uncomfortable. Maybe even a tiny bit, you know, sweaty. You may be okay to be outside as long as you're wearing shorts and can sit in the shade of a big old tree, sipping on something cold.
But a hot flash? Oh my gracious goodness. Hot flashes are very, very different. Because when you get a hot flash, your first desire is to get to the nearest body of water -- bathtub, swimming pool, fishing pond, or that really deep pothole on state road 238 that could take out the rear axle of your car -- and immerse as much of your body as will fit, gasping and splashing.
Your second priority with a hot flash is to just start removing clothing, wherever you are. Which could be alarming to other people if you are in, say, a crowded elevator. Or in church. Although come to think of it, with some of the things I've seen people wear to church, you might not be all that much out of place.
Hot flashes are unpleasant things to experience. It's not fun to feel as if you've been overtaken by an unrelenting wave of radiant heat, especially at night when you're jerked out of a sound sleep and are suddenly throwing off the blankets out of nowhere, flailing around in the sheets like a flounder on the deck of a deep-sea fishing vessel. Especially when your spouse crossly mumbles, "Quit uncovering my back! It's FREEZING in here."
Of course, I don't know any of this from personal experience, seeing as how I'm only in my early thirties and a long way from menopause or even peri-menopause. A LONG, LONG way.
Oh, just shut up.
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6 hours ago