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What Do Men KnowAbout PMS? Except To Duck?

What Do Men KnowAbout PMS? Except To Duck?

By Martha Rosenberg

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When the Pill debuted in the1960's feminist critics said it produced 51 changes in women's bodies--only one of which was cessation of ovulation.

Why should women risk cancer and stroke while men get off Scott free, they asked?

The same might be said of PMS.

Women experience a host of physiological and mental changes--only one of which is dissolution of the corpus luteum. And men get off Scott free.

Sure periods have their good side--a gateway to womanhood for young girls, proof that you didn't get pregnant when you didn't want to and, later in life, proof that the other "M" is still around the corner.

But how about the down side?

Raise your hand if you have two sets of clothes? Your normal wardrobe from Macy's, H&M and Forever 21? And waist, thigh and hip disguising long sweaters and tunics that are essentially drapes?

Even legs suffer from PMS unless you are Paula Radcliffe or Amy Winehouse because wherever there's a fat cell there's a cell that can--and will--double in size. Who says leggings are one-size-fits-all?

PMS will flare up dormant conditions like sinus infections, sensitive teeth, orthopedic pain and headaches and produce simultaneous wrinkles and acne regardless of your age (hello?).

Yet most medical advice is of the blame-the-victim sort because it is written by men. What do they know about PMS except to duck?

Worried about water bloat and weight gain they write? Nibble on carrots and other low calorie snacks--see: oxymorons--as if carbo snarfing were not the brain's marching orders during PMS.

Would they watch football without drinking beer?

Pants won't zip? Hit the treadmill say male writers as if your workout clothes fit. As if you want to see yourself in the fitness center's wall of mirrors. As if you want to watch lifting dramas of 'roid rats posing in wife-beater T-shirts for your edification.

Then there are the beloved contradictions of the PMS brain.

Your brain is so fogged, so flatlined you think someone moved the letters on your keyboard and changed your password.

But when you lie down and try to sleep you snap to attention and are wide awake and jumpy. Until you get to your keyboard that is.

And speaking of wide awake, PMS advice givers tell you to avoid coffee because it will make sore breasts--see: second wardrobe--worse. But what they don't tell you is how to get energy to work out--or work for that matter--without coffee.

Then there's emotions.

Under the influence of the PMS brain, you feel so sentimental you cry at card tricks BUT you also feel so mean you have sidewalk rage and hallway rage on top of road rage.

Actuaries know that car accidents go up during women's luteal phase but they don’t know why.

Is it lack of sleep, temper or PMS's notorious symptom of lack of coordination which makes a full bottle of cranberry juice you THINK you are holding firmly fall to the floor for no apparent reason?

And the water in the bucket to mop it up spill for no reason.

And you hit the doorway frame on your way to refill it for no reason.

And speaking of dis-synchronicity, researchers also know that women who live or work together, cycle together.

While this could have evolved for survival reason--wanna attack 6 women with PMS?--and can have an up side like cryptic conversations about the arrival of Aunt Flow and shared supplies, it has a serious down side.

Because when Mom or Sis or the female boss is annoyed with you, chances are you are annoyed with her.

Worse-- you are annoyed with her being annoyed with you.

Worse--she is annoyed with you being annoyed with her for being annoyed with you… and Doesn't Like Your Attitude.

This infinite regress of accusations and recriminations at home or work can have 51 sides--and they all relate to PMS.


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