Lately, I’ve been getting as much mail from men whose mates, moms, and menopausal female pals are looking like a puzzle they just can’t figure out. So for them, I’m offering a few small tips for dealing with us while we are going through the Change.

#1 Choose Your Words Carefully
While you are tippytoeing on those eggshells, here are a few phrases that will get you on your way with the least amount of breakage:

“I love you.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Have you lost weight?”

I’m forever grateful to Shellie Rushing Tomlinson of All Things Southern for sharing these gems. Check out her video on Hot Flashes and Mood Swings in the August 3 blog post of this year “Gotta Love Those Southern Menopause Goddesses” to further understand why you can’t say these three phrases too much.

My own hubby, Dewitt, often sounds like a well-trained parrot as he trots these out over and over. Do I mind his constant repetition? No I don’t. It doesn’t matter how or why he is saying it, just that he is. It’s a way for him to express to me that he knows I’m having a menopause moment. Or year. Or two.

#2 Don’t help. Listen.
We know that it is a man’s nature to want to help in situations where damsels are indeed in distress. However, I can assure you that unless you can magically change our very DNA or make it rain female hormones on command, there is nearly nothing you can do to help. Except listen. Without speaking. And maybe handing us a cool damp cloth for our fiery forehead when we start to sweat like pigs.

#3 Surprise us with housework

I came home today from lunch out with two of the Venuses. I looked at the kitchen sink where I’d left the stack of dirty dishes only to find them washed and air-drying in the drainer.

This is guaranteed to get us right in the heart. And sometimes even in other sensitive places, where our libido has hung a sign reading “On Vacation, Indefinitely.” Yep, porn for women is men doing chores without asking what needs to be done (that is a key part – if we have to tell you what to do, the surprise factor is pretty much lost. As are points.)

The other night, Dewitt jumped up and dried dishes that I was washing, after throwing in the laundry. I gotta tell you, he never looked sexier to me. Hmmmmmmm, housework as aphrodisiac.

#4 Preemptive mood strikes

Along with the aforementioned three mission critical phrases, offering chocolate, neck rubs, wine, and the TV remote are effective mood enhancers that can smooth out some of the emotional swings before they happen. And if they do occur? It’s less likely that you’ll be caught in the crossfire.

These are enough to get you started. Heck, if you only implemented the advice in these four simple tips, you’d be well on your way to being the ideal menopause goddess mate, friend, or companion. We’d love you for it.

Photo for this blog posting is the cover of a fabulous, fun book called Porn for Women. Photographed by Susan Anderson, From the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative, published by Chronicle Books of San Francisco.