Manopause: A Treatise on Aging & Severus Snape

One of my favorite characters across all of literature is Severus Snape from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

So many Potter fans are right now asking what the holy fuck?

I know. I even feel a little bit guilty for admitting it. Almost naughty. And not in the way that somehow means your opinion on the topic matters to me. It does not. It is more of a sinister, wicked delight that makes me giggle drolly to myself that it might bother or irritate you. There is something milk chocolatey delicious in that.

Buckle up, bitches. I am in the driver’s seat. Or step out of this flying Ford Anglia now before a Whomping Willow of alternative character study crushes your brain.

For those of you who live under a rock or have chosen to censor Harry Potter books because it has turned us all into violent, malevolent witches, here is a quick snapshot of Severus Snape.

A Potions Master and temporary Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Severus Snape is a cruel, snarky, arrogant dick. His contempt for everyone is evident, but particularly for Harry Potter. Harry is an ever-present reminder of Lily Potter, Harry’s mother, who Snape loved deeply as a teen. Ironically, Snape revealed the prophecy to Voldemort of a July-born child whose birth would lead to his destruction. The Dark Lord assumed it was Harry Potter. He killed both Lily and James Potter to destroy the divination, setting Harry’s story in motion as the boy who lived. Wracked with guilt, this explains so much about Snape’s bitterness toward Harry.

Many complex ironies exist with Snape’s character: 

  • Snape is cold and calculating, but his capacity for a soul-aching love when it comes to Lily Potter is genuine. I also believe his friendship with Dumbledore was based on love and loyalty, far more than just respect.
  • Snape is a bitter bully, but he was also bullied horribly by James Potter and Sirius Black when he attended Hogwarts.  Harry’s character grows when his idols – father and uncle – have their flaws revealed, arrogant teens themselves, breaking their angelic Gryffindor image. *gasp*
  • A prominent Slytherin, aligned with the pro-Pure Blood movement, Snape should detest any non-pure magical being. But he is in fact a half-blood, born to a Muggle father, leading to the moniker Half-Blood Prince, honoring his witch mother’s maiden name. Harry idolized the mysterious Half-blood Prince until he discovered it was Snape.
  • Snape served the Dark Lord as a Death Eater, then later joined the Order of the Phoenix, serving Dumbledore as a secret agent. The Snape in the first half of the Potter-series is truly an asshole, or at least seemingly to Harry before he knew of Snape’s dual agency; but the richness of his character is truly revelatory in the back half of the series.
  • Snape must kill his bestie Dumbledore because he was coerced into making the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa Malfoy to kill Dumbledore himself if Draco could not handle this assignment from Voldemort.  When Snape tells Dumbledore, Dumbledore insists Snape kill him to maintain the illusion of Snape’s continued Death Eater loyalty.
  • Voldemort believes the turncoat Snape was the master of the Elder Wand (a Deathly Hallow), which leads to Snape’s death at Voldemort’s hands/snake’s fangs. In many ways, the other Death Eaters acknowledged that Snape was powerful but with questionable allegiances, representing a threat to their evil plans of genocide and world domination. 

There is no doubt that Snape is oily and selfish. He is both good and evil. He is a small man who wields power like a boss. Fear, jealousy, and loss govern his every move.

But I have my own theory about Snape: he was in the early stages of Manopause. As am I.

Women steal a lot of the limelight from men in their later adult years with menopause. All the glory and celebration and kibitzing. Vast social networks of women share this common experience with each other, offering support, and a gentle listening ear to each other’s relentless bitching and moaning.

Yet little discussion occurs about how men suffer with a comparable Manopause. Expected to “nut up,” men endure in silence. When a man complains, he is weak. And gods forbid we try to share how we feel with each other! Pop another Viagra, limp dick, and everything is okay.

Fulfilling my role as an innovator and groundbreaker, I will share my symptoms and experience with you in the hopes that you can find some damn empathy for men in their fifties. Maybe men can learn to drop the macho bullshit and give each other a massive, empathetic hug. And maybe save a kind word for Severus Snape.

  • Loud noises. I am not sure if this is related to Manopause or not, or if this is some undiagnosed form of PTSD.  What I do know is that my tolerance for loud, startling noises has found its nadir since I entered my fifties. I am a musician (a drummer for Chrissake!), and I am intolerant of loud music (especially in the car). It makes me angry. Literally. Loud noises at home? Oh hell no. My incredibly tolerant, patient wife is probably laughing right now recalling the times I scream, “What the fuck is that!?” if a pan falls in the cupboard or the dog barks suddenly. My flare for the dramatic might differ from Snape, who was a pretty chill cat, but I can picture him snapping his finger and glaring at Harry for making a loud noise.
  • Profuse Sweating. As mentioned in Are You There God? It’s me, Patrick, I am sweaty all the time. Like back-of-the-knees, soaked-through-my-jeans sweaty. People are starting to ask questions. Traveling with a friend for work on a frosty North Carolina morning, I left a full sweat ass print through a thick pair of blue jeans on the leather seat of his rental car as we arrived at the office. It was cold. There was black ice. The look on his face was of utter horror and disgust. Snape had clearly pasty skin that had a nasty sheen to it, unmasking his perspiratory proclivity. I am guessing under those heavy-ass wizard robes was a smelly, salty sea of damp nether regions.
  • Aches and pains.  Jesus, seriously. Most of my life has been pain-free. I played rugby for years. But since turning forty-five and now after fifty, what the fuck doesn’t hurt on a given day? Get out of bed – shoulder pains. Shovel the driveway – back pain. Sit immobile for too long – headache. Total bullshit. Up yours, Manopause. I devolve into Roseanne Roseannadanna from early Saturday Night Live days, “Well it just goes to show you, it’s always something, you either got a toenail in your hamburger or toilet paper clinging on your shoe.” Alan Rickman, rest his soul, sported a sneer when performing as Snape that clearly descended from some early onset joint pain due to Manopause. No question about it. Disdain for his lessers certainly contributed, but there is no chance his sciatica wasn’t nagging the fuck out of him during some of the more intense scenes.
  • Low tolerance for stupidity. Covid-19 has been a revelation for me as to how much I hate stupid people.  All my life, I have dealt with being smarter than 99.9% of humans. But it was just something I knew and accepted.  I never judged or compared myself to other people. As I age, and Manopause dig its talons deeper into my psyche, it is so obvious how truly gifted I am – and that minimally 25% of the population is a moron. Covidiot stupid. Donald Trump stupid. Tiger King stupid (although I will admit to watching (and hating) it). Insipid and selfish, Covid-19 has revealed the haves and have-nots in the brains department. Unwavering faith in god or the government or their youth or their freedom, these intellectually inept mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers make me thankful every day that my death will occur in the next thirty years. Snape’s take on this subject?  Do you even need to ask? We both weep for this world.
  • Hate visitors. This issue has magnified with Covid-19… and Manopause. Home is my sanctuary.  I deal with people every day in the public to varying degrees of enjoyment or lack thereof. But when I am home? Ahhhh. It is quiet. There is a furry dog to snuggle. There is an interesting, insightful, sexy spouse who makes me laugh. It is safe from the plague because of the near-fascist lockdown protocols my brilliant wife has enacted to protect us. Right now, the thought of anyone else coming through those sacrosanct doors is pure anathema. Before Covid? Honestly? Kinda the same, but not as obvious. Not sure if it is the pressure to be “on” in my “off” space. Not sure if it is the mess and clean-up. Not sure if it is that I simply want to visit others outside of my home. Lately, one of my daughters said I reminded her of a codgety curmudgeon, like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, yelling, “You kids get off my lawn!” Thanks for that, Manopause. But you can also imagine Severus Snape sitting in his office, buried in books of potions.  Everything is quiet and peaceful. His thoughts are dark and scheming. Then Harry Fucking Potter bursts through the door with one of his damn dramas to deal with. Hate you most, Harry.

For those of you reading this because you are young, and it is about Harry Potter stuff, don’t be so annoyingly vapid. Heed the wisdom of your elder and do not succumb to aging. As Dylan Thomas warns, “Rage against the dying of the light.”

Maybe instead of accepting aging and feeling sorry for each other, we push back. We refuse to let our changing minds and bodies be a rate-limiting factor, and instead, we dig deeper to embrace these changes with passion and exact more joy from our fleeting existence before we take our final dirt nap and go to the void.

When Brian of Nazareth is mistaken for Jesus and hysterically – albeit blasphemously – crucified in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, as he hangs on the cross, he sings, “Always look on the bright side of life. Life’s a piece of shit when you look at it. Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.”

My motto since starting this blog: If life sucks, laugh at it.

Snape had the right attitude, made all the better with his symptoms of Manopause.

Let’s open a digital dialogue. Scroll down to LEAVE A REPLY. Thanks!

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Featured image downloaded courtesy of DevianArt.com, artist Frankief, Angry Sea II

About PS Conway

Hey everyone! Welcome to Life Sucks. Laugh Here. In my college years, I was an English major and aspiring writer. Then life took over - marriage and kids - in our mid-twenties. Like all good Catholics of Irish descent, I literally looked sideways at my wife, and she was pregnant three weeks after our wedding. And then the ride of life began. My writing took a backseat for the next twenty-five years. But now, our daughters are raised, and my wife and I are in a Renaissance phase of our lives. As I begin to write again, I see so much negativity, tribalism, and anger on social media... so many people seem to think life sucks. The only antidote to this mind-rotting negativity that I know of, albeit transient, is laughter. So, I have committed to writing and growing this blog around that singular objective... try my damnedest to provide original writing that makes people laugh. And maybe think a little, too. Hope you really enjoy. If you laugh, please share this blog with your friends so we can grow our subscriber base and online influence. We are on a mission to spread joy, mirth, cheer, yule, and good humor to as many folks as possible. Thank you for joining this effort. Sláinte! - PS Conway

40 comments on “Manopause: A Treatise on Aging & Severus Snape

  1. Bravo for entwyning Harry Potter and Manopause! Yes, I believe you are suffering from it. But my friend I must enlighten you. Albeit I may sympathize with you, MENOPAUSE is a million times worse! Men are supposed to be sweaty and grouchy, no one looks twice! But a sweaty, bloated middle aged woman is the brunt of many jokes and we even had a musical written for us! Please do not compare passing a kidney stone to giving birth. As I sit here reading your post out loud to Confused Husband whilst having a massive hot flash, he is vigorously nodding his head in agreement with you. It is though I am reading his life story to him. He is also the one to scream ” brain tumor!” When he has a headache.
    I suggest the two of you start a support group.
    Again, you have made me laugh and pee into my Depends….

    • Kat!!!! Love love love this comment and am being TOTALLY facetious with this piece (as I’m sure you know). But the fact I made you pee – yet again – makes me feel like…. mission accomplished. Please give Confused Husband a massive hug from me. I had a slight fever today that was almost 100% leukemia or corona. Cheers. 🍷🍷🍷

      • Yes! We totally get your sense of humor! If you and your wife lived near us we would be a squad of menopausal misfits!😂🤣

      • TOTALLY. I read your reply to my wife, and she called me a pussy….so…. yeah. 🤣😂🤣😂

  2. abober514

    It’s about damn time we spread awareness of menopause! Love the tie to Snape. PS: I’m not going through manopause but stupidity really really bothers me

    • Thanks for the moral support! It’s a cross we must all eventually bear. Stupidity on the other hand, ugh, drives me nuts! Cheers.

  3. This is a really funny article! Thanks for sharing it. I love the connections you make between the world of Harry Potter and your real life.

    • Thanks, Laura! So glad you find my demented humor laugh-worthy. Some of my other pieces? Maybe a little cringeworthy. Ha! Please come back for more – new work every Sunday night. You can subscribe, too, if easier to get email notifications. Cheers!

      • I will remember the Sunday night and subscribe to the email list next time I visit! Thanks for the reply 🙂

  4. Wonderful comparison. Great description of menopause. How recognizable.

  5. This is a really good post, I had never even though to consider manopause, I didn’t know anything about it. And linking it to snape explains it even better. Thank you for sharing, I’ll try and look out for it!

    • Stay on guard, manopause is lurking like Snape in a dim Hogwarts’ corridor. Ha! Really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Thank you.

  6. Blue to Bliss

    And just when I think you couldn’t top yourself, you did. Another ridiculously funny post. I can visualize you sitting around complaining about your manopause symptoms with your friends.

    • Ha! So delighted you laughed! It’s sucks aging, so why not buckle up and make fun of it! Much more to come. Stay tuned.

  7. Life can never suck when you are there, Mr. Conway 🙂

  8. This. Was. Epic.

    Love it.

  9. sak_stories

    🙂

  10. Chris Chiesa

    OMG, as the youngsters say.

    This is brilliant. At 57, I can relate.

    I too have always been the Smartest Guy In The Room, and I suspect the annoyance and sometimes outright painfulness of most other people’s inanity is largely responsible for my own deep preference for being left alone in my room with My Stuff both material and intellectual. Nearly Everyone and Everything is/are my bursting-in Harry Potter(s).

    I also thought I had coined the term, “covidiots,” and am mildly irritated to find someone else using it. Oh well, I guess it was a pretty low-hanging fruit…

    I’ve also always been very sweaty — though not quite to your (and my father’s before me) degree. I can tolerate a lot of heat if the air is dry — 100+ in the CA or AZ desert? No problem! — but let the humidity get above 30% (as it has been prone to do, every place I’ve lived) and I’m miserable at 65 and above. Car windows spontaneously steam up around me. I haven’t soaked through jeans yet, though, and I most sincerely hope I don’t have that to *look forward to*.

    Aches and pains, yes and dammit. I can now injure myself more seriously, in my sleep, than I ever did while out and about in city, wilderness, etc. for the preceding fifty years. I’ve read that that’s only to be expected, though, and I merely count myself grateful that I live in the age of modern medicine, when such things (and so many worse ones!) can be be alleviated — or, sometimes, even corrected.

    Fortunately, there are pluses to getting older, if like me you’re lucky enough to also get wiser (and diagnosed, and medicated, if that comes into it). I no longer Give A Damn about a lot of things that bother other people, particularly things that they them about *me*: if they can’t take me, they can just get the hell off my lawn. At the same time, on the other hand, I’ve become able to take *my wife’s* concerns, needs, and feelings, much *more* seriously than I did for a long time (when I was largely wrapped up in “issues” of my own — one of my few lasting regrets), and now participate cheerfully in our household, relationship, and marriage (rather than experience them as just another Harry Potter). There’s further to go on that, of course, and probably always will be, but I’m *really glad* I’ve at least *started* fixing that while I still have some years left in me.

    • Chris, wow! What an outstanding comment. THANK YOU for being so invested and taking the time. Love everything you said. Please check/in with me anytime! Cheers. 🍷

  11. a Life on a Dime

    This was so good! I am a bit rusty on my Harry Potter admittedly, but Snape is certainly a complicated character.

    • Yay! So happy you enjoyed it. Please come back for more. Have a brutally funny piece on Schadenfreude coming Sunday. Cheers!

  12. Kudos! This is a very creative and entertaining post. I love the way you incorporate Harry Potter. And yes, its about time to talk about this so we know what manopause is doing to our men in our lives. Of course we know what menopause is. Thank goodness you don’t experience hot flushes, the top one complain from women.

    • Thanks so much, Vinn! So thrilled you liked it and came away entertained! Pls come back for more. New original comedic material every week. 🍷

  13. Adam Kershner

    Oh my GOD! I was laughing the entire time I read this over coffee this morning. So many gems in this and also the fact that your take on Snape is curiously spot-on makes it even better. This was downright hilarious.

    • Wow! High praise, Adam. Thank you. I’m humbled. Can’t tell you how much I love to hear that you laughed. Keep coming back for more every Sunday @ 5pm EDT. 🍷

  14. This is easily one of the most enjoyable pieces I’ve ever read. Laughed out loud the entire time, unreal writing 😂

  15. Pip Tips

    A piece of writing of utter genius. The manopause, its real isn’t it. Severus, he was going through it, I can see it now. The sweaty bum, the loud bangs etc etc. I love life of Brian too. Loved this, brilliant 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 I’m thinking of writing a post featuring my favourite recently discovered bloggers, could I write a little bit about you and provide a link to your posts. If not no worries. Thanks

    • Haha! Wow! I’m humbled. Yes please feel free to write anything (favorable- ha!) you like. Cannot express to you how happy it makes me to hear you like my writing so much. Slàinte! 🥂

  16. This really made me laugh! Hm, the difficulty I have now is, what male friends can I share this with without implying anything about them? We’re all in, or approaching, that difficult age…

  17. Pingback: Blogger Shout Outs! – Pip's Tips

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