Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Everything is Illuminated. Well, my mood at least.

I'm savvy to the fact that not many people care to hear about menstruation, even those of us who experience it. And honestly, I'm not that keen to talk about its more gorey details. But I think that men are often sadly under-educated about its effects, and I'm trying to think of what nature might have given men that is equivalent to having a rash of hormones and symptoms that approximate everything from appendicitis to psychosis onset into your life one week out of every month. EVERY MONTH. Most people couldn't handle a week of vacation every month!! Do you guys get some kind of regular invisible symptom you keep from us? Some kind of horrible itch or muscle cramping? I'm not one of these women, believe me, who think that because men don't menstruate they are somehow less than, it's not that...but think about this, men:

Imagine that you're going about your usual day, whether you're that odd fellow at Starbucks who looks as though he doubled up on his lithium, or you're that guy who cut me off on the freeway in his beemer, cell phone in one hand, espresso in the other, driving with his knees. Or anyone in between, maybe my favorite checker at the market, or that funny old guy with the cheesy words of wisdom who owns the Mexican restaurant downtown. Say you're getting up for work, you're making breakfast, showring, you're transacting business, having conversations, making appointments, flipping tortillas, banking bucks just like any other day...only THIS day subtly, almost without warning, a slow, steady prickling feeling is rising under everything, like a live electrical fence has just been turned on beneath your skin...or for a better analogy, you know those little burrs your cats bring in sometimes that get caught in their fur? Imagine doing your day with those taped inside all your clothes: your underwear, down the legs of your pants and up your spine, under your armpits. Stop to really feel that. Okay, you got it? Now...

...imagine that your brain, impaired by a thin layer of water on the brain--yes that's right, water actually accumulates around the gray matter-- suddenly stops being able to conduct its motor skills with quite the same acuity. Not bad, mind you, just enough so that a crack in the cement is enough for you to hallucinate a tree root and trip over your own feet, cause you to have difficulty navigating the corners of tables and bookshelves that were never a problem before, up-end any container that goes into your hands so that the contents of what you're eating or drinking on your shirt, and to burst out in tourette's like phrases that sound meaner and more rude than you intend. (I have gone so far as to poke myself in the eye attempting to do something like remove an offending hair from my cheek, or pour hot water into the paper cereal box rather than my tea cup). Okay, got that...? This is not a good day to take the stairs over the elevator.

Now imagine that this is all happening while you're trying to get facts right for a delicate piece of journalism, or you're trying to talk a raging client out of suing you. Or maybe you have a big promotional meeting or the president of your company is in town, or you're supposed to give a speech. So, add in the next ingredient: a measure of pain, kind of like a giant has grabbed you at the belly button and at the mid-back and is squeezing, in and out, in and out, steadily all day, with increasing pressure.

Now for the whammy, the part that has found its way into crude jokes about wounded animals that don't die and her "aunt flo coming from Redding"... imagine any part of you--say your elbow, or a little patch of your ankle, or a cut you got from shaving on your chin--bleeding for 4 to 7 days straight. Yeah, I don't have to say more do I? You see where I'm going with this.

But do take a second to imagine how you'd feel if on top of all that you had to change your nice Eddie Bauer khakis at the office because a product that a certain hygiene company sold to you did not come through on its promised absorbency.

And if I have to see another sexist commercial like that milk ad where the men are fighting each other to buygallons because it's proven to stave off PMS, I think I might just start spontaneously lactating...acid.

Try me next week if you want to find me agreeable. Right now I'm going to eat a hostess pie. You heard me. I don't care what you think!


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