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When she Googled “perimenopause,” it amused her to read that one of the symptoms was “impending sense of doom,” and she noted her discovery in an uncomplicated (until recently) manner: a Facebook post. one friend joked darkly, because of course what Woolf did, at 59, was kill herself. Collins, now 48, had created a secret Facebook group with just that title, inviting her friends into the internet era’s version of a consciousness-raising group, where women of a certain age could talk about things they didn’t want to share with husbands, partners or children.
Friends wrote back, half-seriously, suggesting she start a group for their cohort, but what to call it? That would be everything from the peevishly quotidian (complaints about dry skin or men not shutting cabinets) to the truly harrowing (suicide ideation; job loss at middle age; bad marriages; domestic abuse; and children suffering from drug addiction). There would be lots of chatter around sex: requests for tips on technique; concern about “the handful of limp” of an older boyfriend; vaginal atrophy; dry vaginas; sex toys; bad sex; no sex; anal sex; the viability of hiring a male prostitute; who has an orgasm first during sex: weird places to have sex; obligatory sex; sex with an ex; tantric sex; group sex; and many, many posts about coconut oil (see “dry vaginas,” above). Collins, who lives in Brooklyn Heights in a modish duplex apartment overlooking the East River, is emblematic of a certain demographic: mostly white — though Ms.
Politics, race and infidelity are topics that reliably lead to problems. “This is not a liberal arts college, circa 2016,” she wrote in part. Bring on the posts about money concerns and racism concerns and class struggle, but don’t blame fellow members without real cause.
“I’ll be out somewhere and I’ll get a text from someone saying basically there’s a huge fight in Aisle 6 and what do we do? Assume goodness, please.”Jenny Douglas, an early Woolfer and moderator, said, “If there’s a post you don’t like, we say, ‘Scroll on by.’ You don’t need to pick a fight with everything or anyone you disagree with.
She also cops to divorce envy, and notes the benefits of prenups, long-term-care insurance and pharmaceuticals like Xanax.
In its breezy candor, the book is as appealing and appalling as the conversations of the Woolfers online, though it lacks the tartness and invective that occasionally erupts there, turning a you-go-girl group of self-affirmers into an unruly scrum. “We’re talking about super-candid things, and people have strong opinions.
Woolfers in New York City began meeting in person, as Ms.
“But suddenly there were like 600 comments,” evenly divided in opinion. We can’t just sell content online, it has to be something else.In the fall of 2015, Nina Lorez Collins, a former literary agent, writer and mother of four young adults, including a pair of twins, was experiencing a fairly typical middle-aged malaise.