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Oh, those crazy, hysterical women. Can’t live with em’, can’t live without ‘em, right? Slaves to their hormones and their untameable bodies… Blood coming out of their wherever…*
Don’t worry, you haven’t suddenly dropped into an alternative universe in which we let the men I used to serve in my local pub write for OHNE. These are just a few of my favourite examples of the things people say to dismiss or explain away the emotions and behaviours of people who have periods.
* a barfly in a tiny suburban pub didn’t say this one, the 45th president of the United States did. What a world.
We all know about that time of the month before our period is due known affectionately (or, more accurately, with a sense of dread) as PMS. We all have some kind of opinion on it, whether you dread it every month, secretly like the excuse to act out, or don’t really get it.
Look, maybe Premenstrual syndrome isn’t even real (as this author argues pretty damn well) and we’ve all just been brainwashed by the patriarchy (because that would be a fun, never-before-heard-of narrative, wouldn’t it?) to believe we go absolutely, uncontrollably nuts once a month. I mean, sure. Seems legit. But that doesn’t change the fact that PMS has become a very real part of our lives, both culturally and in the way most of us who have periods tend to view our own fluctuating emotions and behaviours.
So, I want to propose that we, humans who bleed and rage and laugh and cry at any and every time of the month/week/day, embark on a mission to take the PMS-monster narrative back from those who would use it against us. If you think that sounds like the plot to a cheesy, cult action movie you’d definitely watch, then, excellent, you’re on my wavelength. Stay weird, boo.
If we have to suffer the injustice of our every contrary opinion or negative emotion being dismissed by people (ahem, *cis men*) as period-induced crazy-talk, we should own it. Hell, we should encourage it. I think history owes us at the bare minimum a few days a month where we’re allowed to act like the exact opposite of the demure, feminine ideal that women have been beaten over the head with for millennia.
So let’s don our second-hand capes and wield our organic tampons like swords and charge headfirst into stories of PMS-induced rages and breakdowns. It’ll be a fun ride. Well, it’ll be a ride.
Leah, OHNE co-founder
“One time my boyfriend and I were in Vietnam on the last day of our holiday. He did an impression of me, one that I’d usually laugh at, but this time I was PMS-ing. I got so cross with him that it turned into a huge argument, followed by tears, and I even started trying to find my passport to fly home. All over a voice impression that I’d usually laugh at. My period arrived two days later – I was super relieved to have something to blame my moment of crazy on.”
PMS-monster rating: 4/5. Points lost for not following through with plan to fly home. Cause that’d have been a much better story for everyone… except the poor boyfriend.
Lucy, friend of OHNE
“My dad asked me to help him empty the dishwasher and I threw an entire box of cereal, like a frisbee, across the kitchen at him. Picture a catherine wheel of cornflakes tearing through the sky – we were cleaning the mess up for weeks.”
PMS-monster rating: 3/5. It’s mad, but I bet it was too funny to be really monstrous.
Bella, the person writing this groundbreaking piece of journalism you’re reading
I have cried in public – like hysterical, snotty, ugly-cried – far more times than I care to admit, and almost every time can be attributed to PMS. Think English train stations, Brazilian bus stations, on airplanes about to take off, in a crowded, fancy cafe in Madrid while the nice waiters tried to make jokes to me in Spanish, at a garden party surrounded by a gaggle of elderly near-strangers, in the middle of an exam I wasn’t even finding difficult…
PMS-monster rating: 2/5. I didn’t want to let myself off the PMS-shame train, but my stories are weak baby-dragons compared to the fire-breathing lunacy of some of these, so I’m giving myself a lowly two out of five and vowing to nurture my PMS-monster into a beast worthy of this list.
This is a story I not only witnessed, but am at least 50% responsible for. My mum didn’t always get really bad bouts of PMS pre-period, but when she did it was, to quote her, “like a red-mist rage” descending over her eyes. One time when I was about 4, she’d been alone with my younger sister and me for far too long and we were acting like little devil children. “I couldn’t take it anymore. I lost the plot and smashed a plastic teletubby toy to smithereens with my bare feet, while the two of you just watched.”
PMS-monster rating: 3/5. Points lost for having a legitimate cause of rage.
Maddy, Friend of OHNE
“I lay face-down on the kitchen floor, in the shape of a starfish, for about three hours, while saying ‘I’m so annoyed’ over and over. My family just walked around me.”
PMS-monster rating: 5/5. Look this is a controversial winner, I know. ‘Lying down isn’t as melodramatic as smashing things! Or a grown woman having a tantrum on holiday!’ You’re thinking. To which I say, name one thing that better captures the pure misery of being trapped inside your hormone-induced emotions than just giving up and lying down in a communal space, begging for sympathy, and still getting ignored. See, you can’t.
Share your PMS stories with us in the comments – the more wild and unhinged, the better. Because fuck being ladylike, frankly.
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Image cred @branbarnhart
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