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by Joe Reister


Ah, the mysteries of menstruation: the hormonal rush, the cramps, the blood, and the mess that come every few weeks with the shedding of the uterine lining.  So fun, and a process so very, very clear to women, and so, so confusing to men.  It makes you wonder how the men ever came together with the struation


Sure, some men get the very, very basics of this seemingly strange and mysterious cycle.  Some might even have studied human biology and understand its technical intricacies.  But really, the vast majority of men don’t know dick about this most defining of female traits, which is pretty pathetic since the other half of the planet could tell them all about it.


Now to be fair, the usual first discussions of sex, the menstrual cycle and everything in between hit at the most awkward, confusing and horrifying time in everybody’s life.  Puberty sucks, thirteen is the worst and talking about the mechanics of adult biology embarrasses everyone.  Parents reel in shock that their adorable little babies are now blossoming teenagers, and those blossoming teenagers flee in horror to contemplate their lost innocence and fun naughty bits.  They certainly don’t want to talk to their parents about what happens when a mommy loves a daddy, much less how all of those new bodily fluids work. 


Luckily, not all is lost because middle and high school students get to have a fun state mandated open and honest conversation about all those icky changes to their bodies.   Girls hopefully get the useful basics before things get messy, while boys get an uncomfortable lecture in Health 101 that circles far from the fundamentals of womanhood.  The situation doesn’t really improve when 9th grade Biology introduces an actual diagram of the female reproductive system and then ignores the practicalities of blood, feminine hygiene or the actual truth and consequences of sex.  Instead, most young women and men are told to hold off on their natural curiosity and massive hormonal urges until they graduate and are of legal age.  No need for boys to find out how every girl enters puberty by bleeding out of their genitals for an average of three to seven straight days.  Nor to learn that they then get to enjoy that same mess every few weeks for the next thirty to forty years of their lives.


Not to say that all boys don’t all pick up hints, rumors and the occasional fact from the streets, TV and the ever-reliable internet.  Strangely and despite the occasional misconception, boys might actually determine that the menstrual cycle doesn’t involve a flood of blood, cases of tampons and isolating unclean women out in the back shed every month.  Nor does it make sense that tampon ads feature blue bodily fluids, that women are just making up PMS or that girls should just smile sweetly when their insides come out.  Some even figure out what’s going when young women start bringing their purses to the bathroom, what Midol might be for and who the hell Aunt Flo is and why she only visits once a month. 


So, the hints, rumors and actual facts pile up as boys become men, men look at women and women look back at men.  The adolescent awkwardness gives in to the lure of actual sex, and men and women find a meeting of the minds on some of the menstrual stuff so they can get on with the rest of their lives.  Some men even learn how to count to 28, figure out the subtext of light and heavy days and give the opposite sex a break if they don’t smile every damn day of the month.  Yes, they still don’t know what’s really going on, but they learn enough to successfully get along with the opposite sex.


And a lot of women are just fine with that.  Most don’t think it’s any man’s business what happens below the waist even if they are getting intimate down there.  Modern menstruation is mostly a bathroom thing, and bathroom stuff pretty much stays in the bathroom.  Ask anyone.  Nobody, not even men, want to hear about someone else pooping, peeing, jerking off or cleaning up a bloody mess between their legs.  So most women don’t feel the need to explain the joy of period poops, the fun of spotting nor the social pressures and stigmas that come from just doing what a woman’s got to do.  And you can bet menstruation’s a pain near the butt and something men should be more flexible about, but after several months or maybe a year, the whole thing becomes the norm for most women and is no more than a predictable annoyance that has to be dealt with until menopause. 


The smarter men, the charming ones who get a lot of action, figure some of that out.  They learn a bit about the menstrual cycle to get along better with women, have more sex, enjoy better relationships and live a more fulfilling life.  You’d think that’s something both sides would benefit from even if it meant getting over the messiness and embarrassment of one of humanity’s most basic and necessary bodily functions.  But what the heck, we haven’t so far, so why start now.


If we do, though, men might crack the menstrual code and learn that the whole thing is really all about preparing a woman’s body to have a baby so we can all continue the human race.  They might even have a daughter that they need to explain it all to someday.  Until then let’s just hope that they can find a little more respect and flexibility for women, and call it a day.  Period.





All material copyrighted by Joe. Please contact him at joe@joestories.com if you have any comments, queries or questions.
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