I'm going to start bleeding today. I'd say "I'll start menstruating today", but aside from it sounding like I was 14 and was about to have a bad day in gym, "menstruating" is one of those impossible words to pronounce, and since I listen in my head when I write, and it's something I always trip over, I just avoid it. It's the combination of the "nstr" consonant block followed immediately by the "ua" dipthong. It's just an awkward word best saved for the awkward time of puberty.
Besides. I'm 40. It's time for me to just fucking bleed, you know?
Too much information. Too bad.
(I have never been all that shy about discussing matters of a personal nature. When I was pregnant with my son, I took a certain pleasure in seeing exactly how far I could push the details of my obstetrician appointments with my fellow grad students. Keep in mind that I was studying astronomy, a field populated by men perhaps not as well-versed in the drama of womanhood as others. I still enjoy saying "mucus plug", or "episiotomy" around certain friends, just for the thrill of the reaction. Hi Elizabeth!)
So, this time last month I was sitting down with some friends, famished, bemoaning a lack of nutritional sodium chloride, (ie, "Please??? doesn't anyone just want some chips?!?") when I added, "I can't wait 'til my period comes so I'm not so damn hungry." My male friends looked at me as if a monkey crawled out of my shirt and sat on my head. "What does that have to do with it?" Leisa, the only other woman at the table, stood by me. "I understood that perfectly. Right before my period I'm starving..." and I added, "...and as soon as it arrives, I could give a shit about food."
The guys just don't buy into even the simple effects of pms. "No way." They refuse to believe that there is a biological cycle that women are subject to, and it amounts to more than just bleeeeeeeding. (Really, you must see the Strindberg and Helium link above to get that.) I'm pretty sure it's because if they admit that something as mundane as hunger can be affected by hormones, then... uh oh... they'll have to acknowledge that the whole emotional bungee jump ride of PMS might just be real.
I admit that on the surface, there's something honorable and anti-narcissistic about stalwartly maintaining that everyone is "just like me". That although we're subject to the whims of our differentiating egos as children, we grow out of thinking we're each the center of the universe and realize that there are other people out there who think and feel just like we do. It's all very Copernican and enlightened to believe that there is nothing unique about our position in the universe. Very seemingly politically correct. But to extrapolate from "nothing unique about our position" to "you can't possibly be different than me" is just silly.
We're about as different as it gets. For example, women, in general, do not understand why men paint themselves bright colors and expose their beer guts in the hope of getting on national TV. Women do not understand why men do not cry at the end of City of Angels (and are not moved to tears even when they play the soundtrack in their car), yet we accept this as part of the odd reality we live in. So, even though you don't understand why once a month we cry, eat, and fuck our way through a week of premenstrual hormones, the least you can do is just accept it.
Failing that, well, just keep your hands away from my french fries.