Now before any aggressive "whatabouters" jump down my throat, I am not explaining this to patronize, I am explaining this to do just that, explain. After reading something on social media the other day saying that a woman had asked her boyfriend to get her tampons on the way home and his response was, "Eeww, no I don't want them to think I am with someone gross!" I began to think that men need to be educated about periods (because for some reason they don't teach them in school!)
And not just educated about what physically happens to a woman because a quick internet search could break that down for you. I am talking about what really happens, how we feel, what we would like you to do and what we would like to do. Now of course, every woman has different experiences of a period, but we have all felt these things at a certain point.
I will start by debunking some of the myths both sensible and ridiculous so you know that we don't turn into witches when we are on our periods.
PMS is just an excuse to be horrible to you.
If that were true, we wouldn't get it when we were on our own! PMS/PMT (premenstrual syndrome/tension) is caused by a mass of hormones raging through our bodies and making us act differently to normal. And as much as people make jokes about it, it can be really serious, some women have even attempted suicide because their PMS has made them feel so depressed.
Some women get it worse than others, some (lucky) women don't get it at all, it's different for each woman. But even though we get it and we know we get it, if we are being a jerk, tell us we are being a jerk, don't blame it on the PMS, even though it might be true, it won't end well for you.
You can't get pregnant on your period.
You can, some people have full intercourse during a period, some don't. Some women aren't comfortable with it, and some men aren't, it's a personal choice, but you are still able to get pregnant, it's just less likely.
We all lose the same amount of blood.
This is a myth that is still very much doing the rounds, women lose varying amounts of blood depending on a whole heap of factors. There is no standard tablespoon or egg cup measurement, some women bleed very little, some bleed until they are anemic. There is no standardization among periods, sadly.
Periods are always every month.
And the same time, some women don't have periods for months on end, and then suddenly out of nowhere, they do. This doesn't mean that there is anything medically wrong with them, some women just aren't regular. Also, there are a lot of factors that can influence menstruation and cause a woman to miss a period. Things like stress, diet and medication can all play their part, so if she misses a period, she might not be pregnant.
These are some of the more "normal" myths, but other countries have some pretty odd ideas about women and their periods.
Having intercourse will kill your partner.
If you don't wash your pads before you throw them out, ghosts will haunt you!
You can't cook food for anyone else.
Flowers will die quicker if a woman on her period touches them.
You can't have contact with anybody or be in their home.
Obviously this is all nonsense, it just shows how little is actually understood about periods around the world.
How We Feel
Every woman feels different on her period, some women feel grouchy, some incredibly sad, but this can change if the woman in question suffers with PMS. If they do, their moods may be inconsistent.
And although we know we are feeling like this because of our period, we don't know why we should have to go through it, all because we didn't get knocked up this month.
Sometimes we feel like crap and we don't want to do anything, sometimes we want to go and take on the world. What I have never had the urge to do though is ride a horse on a beach or dance in the ocean like a lunatic, so don't pay too much attention to the tampon advertisements.
But whatever we feel like doing, it would be really great if you could just respect that and let us do it, do it with us if you want.
What We Want You to Do
No matter what, gay or straight, every woman wants a partner who is sympathetic when they feel like crap. So don't make jokes, don't get annoyed, just treat us like normal human beings, we don't choose to have periods, we are not doing it to irritate or avoid you.
And to all the guys who are afraid to buy tampons because they think it will be "weird" or "gross," grow up. Cashiers don't care, customers couldn't give a sh*t and if anyone does see what you have, the chances are the men will think "girlfriend's time of the month, poor guy," and women will think "Awww sweet!" And your partner will appreciate it, especially the first few times, hell, the first few times we bought sanitary stuff it felt weird, we don't ask you to embarrass you, we ask you because we need them.
Basically, don't be scared of periods, they're not weird, they're no great mystery. They are a medical thing and medical things can be explained easily, so if you're cool and don't act like a d*ck, keep it up, if you're still making "time of the month" comments, grow up.