Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

It’s strange the ideas teenage boys have about their mothers. I was doing a show recently, in a very small, hot room. All of a sudden a woman started screaming, “I’m going through the menopause! I need to sit by the fan.” She looked so red and angry, I thought I’d better do something in case she stabbed me. I moved the audience around so she could sit in a cooler position.

The next night on stage, I asked, “Are there any women going through the menopause?” A teenage boy winked at his mother, and she returned a filthy look. Then he started pointing at her, so I could see.

I said, “Is your mother going through it?”


“How do you know?”

“Because she has wrinkles round her eyes and she’s always moaning.”

“Are those the signs of a menopause? How do you know?”

“My mates told me.”

“How do they know?”

“They said their mums are moany old bats, too.”

It seemed affectionate, the way he had noticed changes in his mother’s behaviour, then chatted to his friends and deduced that the lines around her eyes must mean she had the menopause. I wonder what the acne on his face tells her about him?

Ultimately, mothers are a mystery to teenage boys and teenage boys are a mystery to their mothers. Neither seems to know what’s going on, but both are always guessing. I think it’s best that way.