I ran across this at Snopes.com today. Entitled “Monthly Taboos”, it’s about some of the weird things we’ve associated our periods with over the centuries.
There’s this huge list of things we wimmin-folks ain’t a-posed to do during That Time of the Month (TTotM). Canning, mayonnaise making, fruit picking, gardening, all kinds of stuff.
Now, I don’t know about believing that my bread won’t rise if I try to bake during TTotM, but I can tell you this: it damned well might not. Not due to TTotM itself, mind, but because I am so frickin’ pissy and distracted, especially in the early stages, that I might do something like leave out the salt or the yeast. And the flour. Then I’ll wonder why that pathetic little pile of sugar isn’t doing anything. I’ll have to sit down and cry about how the flour hates me and the way other people don’t have these problems for a while, then I’ll suck it up, drink a beer and sit around feeling fat and saying, “You know, I really need to get more exercise…” until TTotM is over.
I found myself pondering this most female of experiences. In spite of great efforts on the part of many different people to encourage me to embrace this empowering, Goddess-invoking bit of female wonderment, I still consider it to be a nuisance at best and occasionally downright awful. You know what I don’t need? I don’t need something else to drive wedges between friends and neighbors.
I know women who don’t experience anything when TTotM comes along. No bloating, no cramping, no emotional weirdness, just… “oh my, I appear to have my flow!” and they wear a pad or two for a couple days and that’s it. I hate them, because I pack on five pounds every cotton-pickin’ month, then spend two-three days in the bathroom peeing, the first day of which is also a nightmare of cramps and the kind of crankiness that would encourage a woman to, say, get up into the winter-wakened bear’s face instead of taking the more sensible course of running.
And I know women whose entire lives are ruined for a week, week and a half – Cramps of the Gods, hormones worse than any teenager, inability to think or do anything, twenty pounds of water weight and swollen feet to boot. I hate them, too, because I’d like to accuse them of faking it. Especially the ones for whom these symptoms go on for two weeks or more, or when the list of complaints takes more than fifteen minutes to recite. C’mon. What pucus, I want to say to them. Suck it up and walk it off, girl. But then, of course, I can’t do that. Because first of all, in these enlightened times we know that such things can happen and that to deny the veracity another person’s symptoms purely because we think they’re fuller of pucus (which is, I believe, a word of my own invention to avoid getting my mouth washed out with soap if my mother should happen across this) than a herd of cows is both insensitive and immature.
And, if I did, then when I got my cramps I’ve set up a bad precedent and may find myself told to suck it up and walk it off instead of being handed a quart of Haagen-Dazs or a little box of Godiva truffles or something. And that would be bad, because without good chocolate I doubt my ability to get through TTotM without actually seeking out a hibernating bear for a wrestling match.
Which would be bad. Very, very bad. Because in order to seek out a hibernating bear in the first place, I’d need a babysitter. Who would, undoubtedly, be unavailable because she alleges she’s in the throes of TTotM herself – the faker.
P. J. O'Rourke
1 day ago