When my lady friends and I are gal pal-ing around, sipping on wine in the same room or via Snapchat, three distinct topics of conversation always come up: the state of Turkey’s borders now that it has opened them to Syrian refugees; the disproportionate burden of student loan debt on minorities; and bOy PrObLeMz.
Recently, a series of unfortunate events caused being on the rag* to be brought up in conjunction with the third subject. Questions like, “What doesn’t he get?” and “You’re almost 30, is this a new thing for you?” and “IS IT REALLY THAT HARD?!” were tossed around haphazardly, and I realized that, as a whole, men and/or boys really don’t know anything about the inner workings of women.
None of them.
To be honest, the above questions deserve an answer. If a guy is of millennial age, he has been around ladies and their Aunt Flo* for roughly 15 years. While we understand that it’s not happening to you and that you’d rather not discuss it, it’s going to occur monthly for the next 20-30 years, and there are some facets of the occasion that we are owed understanding of. If you shy away from reading this post because you’re uncomfortable talking about vaginas, you should not be anywhere near one and your manliness is absolutely in question. Go back to training camp and let Captain Li Shang make a man out of you, Mulan: you are not done.
I think it goes without saying that excessive bitchiness (like, bitchier than a girl’s normal bitchiness) should never, ever be met with, “That time of the month, huh?” Expect a flurry of disgusted eye rolls, “Wowww”’s, and almost definitely a few tears if you choose to utter The Forbidden Phrase. Did you think that was going to help things? Did you think the knives stabbing our abdomens were suddenly going to cease because you pointed out what the hell was going on down there? Please tell me that you would react with serene rationality if your insides were suddenly rejecting the wall of justice they had built up over the past 30 days so I can call you a liar. Pro tip: if you think what’s happening is happening, keep it to yourself. Should even a hint of inference, assumption, or deduction in reference to my attitude or my body enter the conversation, you will be verbally abused, and as one friend put it, “know that I probably meant it but maybe not how it came out.” Maybe.
Have you ever been around a girl who you guessed was riding the crimson wave* and watched her devour an entire Cinnapie from Papa J’s? Did you say something? I hope you didn’t fucking say something. We’re not just having a bad day or feeling like a pig, we’re doing both of those things simultaneously. My stomach was flat yesterday and now I appear to be two months pregnant (sweet irony), so as you can imagine, pointing out my current situation will truly be the icing on the cake….chocolate cake…with cookie dough bites baked inside….and butter pecan ice cream….and a vat of hot fudge. Yessss. You wanna be helpful? Don’t suggest we go to a salad place for dinner, because I’m eating for my ovaries and they could not be less interested in vegetables this week. Let’s get some meatball subs and you can not look in my direction while I shove it in my mouth in three bites.
Some twisted individual placed the idea in men’s heads that when we’re curled in a ball on the edge of the couch wearing size XXL sweatpants and clutching ourselves, we want to be “massaged” and “held” and “touched in any way.” Ew, freak, get the fuck off of me. This isn’t a charley horse that can be shiatsu’d away in a few minutes; it’s my body literally hosting a rebellion against potential children. If your hand comes near any part of my body with plans to rub me, I’ll break it and continue watching Gilmore Girls like it was nothing. Real talk. If you feel the need to comfort me, employ the Claw and Retract Method: one gentle hug and then immediately let go. It should last no longer than two seconds to correspond with my current level of patience, and it should not put pressure on any part of me that could result in more pain. The more pain I have, the more pain you have, remember that.
Here’s the part that caused the most uproar amongst the girls: period sex. Women don’t want to be talked to or touched for the majority of the duration of Leak Week*, but they want it bad. Badder than Usher, even. At any other time, a guy would be all over this, but mention the potential for a little untidiness and suddenly all bets are off. Let me get this straight: we actually want to do all of those things that you want to do the other 98% of the day, and we want to do them five minutes ago, now, and tomorrow, and you won’t because it could get messy?
Furthermore, if you are seduced by our admittedly aggressive demands, don’t you dare swallow your balls back into your body upon first glimpse of some red on the sheets. If Bloody Mary* shows up unexpectedly and it’s a surprise to the whole room that some stainage has occurred, we can split the trauma 60/40 (this is worse for me, trust). However, if you were warned and were all, “No biggie,” and then flip out when there is a bullseye on the bed, making a show out of disgustedly tearing everything apart and saying something like, “Ugh, that’ll never come out” or “Gross!” is the opposite of me wanting to do it again. Now I’m lightweight embarrassed for the both of us: me, because obviously, and you because apparently I’ve been dating a 13-year-old who probably still laughs at Uranus jokes. Actually, both of those are embarrassing for me. God invented towels and OxiClean for a reason, you big baby—meet me upstairs in two.
Referring to my *PERIOD by anything other than my *PERIOD makes it sound awful and makes me feel like more of a disgusting troll than I already do, *PERIOD. Any lingo that has become synonymous with a woman’s *PERIOD was obviously invented by a man, because a woman already knows how shitty it feels to bleed out their insides and they would never bring brash language into the mix. Blood is exiting the vagina because the uterus is shedding the lining that the eggs, produced by the ovaries, were waiting to be fertilized in. That’s your daily dose of accurate terminology, straight up. If you want to refer to any of that by anything else (except for "menstruation" because not even we like that), don’t. If you’re disconcerted by medically descriptive language, put your penis on a shelf and only take it back down when you’ve grown the testicles you need to use that thing properly.
Finally, the ladies and I request a thank you. If we are not trying to have a baby together, and we take it upon ourselves to regularly make sure that it doesn’t happen, we want that to be acknowledged (Ex: “High five for not getting pregnant out of wedlock because that’s not really your life plan, girl. Appreciate you stepping up”). If we yell at you for no reason because our hormones are out of whack, but then apologize and recognize our illogical outburst, we want that act of valor to be appreciated. If we have zero energy, ache, can’t wear anything but yoga pants, and are breaking out like a before picture in a ProActiv commercial, and you ask us to go out and meet up with a few of your friends at some bar that may or may not be filled with hipsters and not the fun kind, and we squeeze into jeans and a cute top and execute winged eyeliner, throw a salute. I don’t want to be there, but I’m faking it, and I’m faking it for you.
If you considered yourself a connoisseur of the female reproductive system before reading this, I hope you now realize that you were not, in any capacity. Feeling like a big shot because you only slightly flinched when buying a box of tampons (and not even the right ones) in the self-checkout line (because what if they think they’re for you?!) is nothing to brag about, and I don’t admire you for it. Hopefully you’ve been enlightened to our actual needs during this trying time. Now leave me with my jar of peanut butter and my spoon and get lost.