The Dubious Joys of Womanhood

Did the sarcasm come through in the entry title?

Fellas, read this if you want. Maybe you'll come out with a teeny bit of a better understanding of your girlfriend or wife. Just remember--I'm having one of 'those times' while I write this. I don't really hate y'all.

Women have a particular raft of rather unpleasant little physical problems that come along with our sex. If I ever had a son, when he reached the age of reason (oh, hell, when he was about fifteen, I'm not going to wait for him to be reasonable--could be forever) I would tell him, "I want you to thank the good Lord every single day that you were born a man, hon, and I'll tell you why in three words--menstruation, menopause, and childbirth."

Now, one I haven't experienced--childbirth. But I watched my mama try to sit after she gave birth to my 8lb. 14oz. baby brother--breech. Carol Burnett had a man complain that childbirth couldn't be all that painful. She said, "Pinch your bottom lip." "Not so bad." "Pinch it hard." "Ith thitil not tho bad." "Now, stretch it up over your face to the back of your skull and staple it there." Another comedienne said, "Eight hours of labor. I don't even want to do anything that feels good for eight hours."

No, I'll avoid that one little facet of womanhood, though I love kids. Why? I think I'll make that the subject of another entry soon, but I have my reasons, and none of them all that selfish.

Menstruation. Can we say 'ew'? And I don't even have problem periods. I used to have a friend who got cramps so bad that she'd start pounding down Jack Daniels just to get through those three days.

I've had a very wonky history with this. I had one period when I was ten or eleven. That's right--one. And I did cramp that time, and I still remember the fear and pain after over thirty years. There was no more after that till I was about thirteen. We never did figure out what that was all about, but it should have been a warning. In my late teens to mid-twenties, my period got very irregular. I'm talking going for two or three months with nothing.

I knew logically this wasn't right, so I went to my family doctor. The first thing he said was, "Have you considered that you might be pregnant?" This man delivered me, I didn't want to talk sex with him. I said, "Well, a star didn't appear over my house, so no. It's not possible."

Tests, test, tests, and they knew nothing. The gynecologist said I needed to be on birth control to regulate, but he didn't want to put me on the pill at my age. I was to come in each month for an injection.


I did it twice. When my period showed up the next time, I didn't bother. It sort of regulated itself after that up, and came within five days or a week of when it should (putting up a heavy load of supplies at work almost always brought it on, or was it just that I had the crappy luck to have hard work and my period coincide?) up until about a year ago.

Not that the dry stretches bothered me. I started during the days of belts. Are any of you old enough to remember that? It was before adhesive pads, back when Modess rulled. The pads were big and bulky, and you hid them and nearly blushed to death having to get them. I called them 'necessities'. "Mom, you going to the store? I need some 'necessities'." There was an elastic band belt that you had to wear, low on your hips, and the damn pads did not want to stay in place. I bet the percentage of ruined underwear went way down once they came out with the adhesive brands. I think most women my age have had at least one incident of 'what did you sit in?' in their life. I was lucky. It happened in last period, I was wearing a sweater, and I could tie it around my waist in back.

Tampax? Don't even mention that to me. I tried--once. You can so tell they're there. Anyway, you can if your flow is as heavy as mine was. That one use was almost as uncomfortable and painful as my first pelvic.

Anyway--girls, if you feel like bitching about what we use now, remember this--they used to have to fold and pin and wash cloths. No wonder so many women stayed home during that time.

Which brings us to menopause, and why I was inspired to write this. I thought I was--I wasn't.


Hell, I'm forty-four, with no one on the horizon I want to breed with. I don't need this annoyance anymore. It's uncomfortable and messy. I want to get it over with.

Okay, I'm not looking forward to the night sweats and hot flashes. I've had one hot flash a couple of years ago for mysterios reasons. It felt like someone had put a space heater about a foot away and turned it on high.

Eh, so I'll take cold showers.