As our English discourse continues to evolve with unpleasant additions of words like ‘selfie’ and ‘twerking’, we have also adopted a few words as a euphemism for other less pleasant experiences- for example, the routine of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
For your benefit, I’ve provided some plausible insight in the origins of top 3 commonly used terms.
Jay Sean’s hit single captures the first clue.
I know the man isn’t talking about menstruation but if you pay close attention to his lyrics, there are some subtle hints.
Put on a show
I wanna see how you lose control
Yep, sobbing and mood swings are nothing out of the ordinary.
Even Lil Wayne’s insightful rapping sheds light on the fact that a woman’s body temperature rises slightly before the onset of her menses (at the time of ovulation), and then drops back to normal.
She gets down low for me
Down like her temperature
‘Cause to me she zero degrees
This is clearly an incorrect use of punctuation.
Our menses actually start off as a question mark because they are hardly ever on time. Then, it transforms into a full-fledged exclamation mark! And finally, it tapers off into a comma, so as to pause till the following month of mayhem. If anything, the actual use of the “period” should be reserved for menopause. 🙂
3) “That Time of the Month”
Women are quite guilty of using this on each other. As for men, they are naturally inexperienced in this men-struating department, however, they grow up to learn some facts about our monthly cycles from school and by interacting with the opposite sex.
Look at this man’s brilliant understanding of the complicated process of menstruation.
Avoiding generalization, some men may attribute the changes in temperament of their female counterparts to the use of the aforementioned lingo.
Let me paint you a picture.
Female Boss: “Where are the XYZ reports I asked you to complete yesterday?”
Ignoramus Male #1: “What’s her problem?
Ignoramus Male #2: “Must that time of the month again.”
This is followed by a Hi-five and a celebratory chest bump.
To such remarks, we naturally respond as follows:
As you can see, the easiest thing to suggest our menstrual woes would be to say, “Holy shit! I’m bleeding!”
Near Death Experience
Speaking from personal experience, I thought I was going to die when I got my first period. I had made preparations to pass away peacefully in my bed, until my mother flatly said, “This is normal for girls. Here are some pads.”
When the bleeding stopped several days later thanks to mother nature, I realized what it means to have a second life. [Ok, I know that all sounds a bit too melodramatic but I was twelve at the time and we still hadn’t learned about menstruation in school.]
Periods and Purity
Growing up, I was forbidden from coming near the home puja (prayer) room during my period. Today, I don’t hesitate to enter any holy place and convince my superstitious grandma by suggesting — “Dadi, the only way you will get great-grandchildren is if I keep menstruating regularly. Consider it a blessing in disguise.”
A few weeks ago, I attended a small puja for a close family member. At the venue, the “educated”priest wanted to confirm whether any woman was menstruating as that would make her unable to sit down with everyone else.
This is not the first time I’ve seen women being restricted to enter temples or holy sites based on a normal bodily function. But this time, I wanted to clarify my doubts. I asked him – “Panditji, have you ever masturbated in your life?”
“What?” came his startled reply.
“I mean, according to you, if menstruating females are not allowed near holy places, then masturbating males shouldn’t be either. After all, both are related to procreation, no?”
He didn’t respond. Needless to say, he won’t be doing any more puja for us in the future and I sincerely hope he is enlightened enough to never think of such a question again.
My grandmother tried to explain how this backward mindset of not letting women near certain parts of the house or temples (housing female deities!) evolved from a more positive recognition of letting the women rest from her daily chores during her period.
Today, we realize that such rules are just downright discriminatory.
I’ll keep my bodily curves owing to menstruation, you keep your ignorant notions about a woman’s purity to yourself 🙂
p.s. I must make mention here of an amazing Indian man who has taken the pain to understand our plight of menstruation and the associated need for sanitary napkins. Do watch this video if you get a chance.