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Okay, men, I’m going to have to ask you to leave the room.
Well, you can stay, but I guarantee you’re going to want to leave when I bring up this week’s topic. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
This week’s topic is menstruation. See ya, guys.
I’ve learned that if I want to talk to my girlfriends without a male hovering around, all I have to do is say the magic word and the men run screaming to their big screen TVs to turn up the volume. “Menopause” works somewhat, but the really powerful phrase, guaranteed to send even the most savvy teenager fleeing, is “vaginal dryness.”
While the subject comes in handy on such occasions, I have to laugh that for men it carries such a mystique. Even Dirtman, who never flinched in the heat of the drama of childbirth – so much so that I thought someone had installed cable in my uterus and he just wanted Heir 1 to get out of the way so he could watch the Tech game – doesn’t want the subject mentioned.
“I think I want to stay close to home this weekend,” I’ll say, hoping he gets my drift.
“Why? I think camping at a site without facilities will be fun!”
“It’s just that I have. . .” I begin and lay my hand on my abdomen.
“Never mind! I’ve got loads of work to do, tons and tons. I’ll be in my office – all weekend. Don’t bother to call me. I’ll take care of myself. . .”
Women try to play down the significance of our periods because we don’t want to be accused of requiring special treatment and we certainly don’t want what we say to be invalidated because we’re supposedly “PMSing.”
I don’t deny the existence of PMS. I have a very unscientific and extremely biased and sexist explanation for its existence. See, women in their childbearing years spend a lot of time swimming in a sea of progesterone, the “hormone of pregnancy.” This keeps us in a starry-eyed state causing us to believe we cannot truly be a woman unless we have a baby and that baby must be protected and nurtured at all cost.
One way to do that is to have a back-up provider, the man, to ensure the baby’s survival. So in our progesterone-induced stupor, we put up with the most obvious injustices. We do 85 percent of household chores even when working full time. We accept that sitting on the couch next to a male watching football is “quality time.” We accept a load of mulch as a birthday present.
Okay – stay with me here. . .
Then comes “that time of month” and the progesterone level bottoms out. Suddenly we see our world for what it is and say, “Hey! This sucks!”
And then, right at the moment we realize that we’ve been dealt this hideous hand, we have to spend four days bleeding. So, you’re damn right I’m cranky! PMS is just a normal, human response to a cultural setup that stinks until . . .
The hormones kick back in and suddenly . . . Look! He at least got one of his socks in the hamper! And he let me know that the baby’s diaper smells like a dead possum! Such a good daddy. . .
What men don’t understand is the amount of planning required to get through a period without disaster striking. First you have to figure out when the worst day will be and whether that worst day is worst in regard to bathroom visits or generally feeling lousy, because nothing important should be planned for that day and certainly nothing involving an in-law. Then there is the equipment to be discreetly stored. And of course there is the menstrual wardrobe, nothing tight or clingy. So, maybe you’ll understand if we get a little snappy when you whine about your comfy boxers still being in the laundry.
Most men I know figure they’re the epitome of the sympathetic male by recognizing when their mate is menstruating and getting the hell out of there for the duration.
If there are any men left reading this, I just want you to know that leaving is one of the worst things you can do. If we can put up with our period for 40 years of our lives, you can put up with us being uncooperative a few days a month.
Think of it as the least you can do for having secured the best part of procreation.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 7:40 AM | Permalink

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