A woman’s menstrual cycle is both a source of pain and pleasure to her.

On one hand, getting your period means that you’re in the clear! You made it another month without getting pregnant! Good for you!

On the other hand, getting your period means dealing with that God-awful smell wafting upwards from your nether regions. Not all the ‘fresh feeling’ pads or tampons in the world will sweeten this little vag. Then there’s the oft overlooked fact – I mean, if you really get down to thinking about it – that there’s blood flowing out of you continuously for a week. Did you ever think about it? You’re freaking bleeding! They should have mandatory one week holidays for women during their period! How can we be expected to stagger in to work when we have blood gushing out of us, the tide of which is stemmed by a mere wad of cotton?

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Fine, there’s room for one more plus point here, surely. Having your period means you’re fertile: you can have babies (if you chose to). For that one week, you feel like the supreme goddess of fertility. Yes, that red river coming out of you can only mean that your eggs are cycling away and you haven’t reached menopause yet. Ah, being young feels great, doesn’t it?

As for the negatives of menstrual experience, I have seen some women cramp up in pain on the very first day of their period. This is a terrible sight. I don’t suffer from this myself, but some women I know literally writhe in pain and can’t get anything done on that first day, unless they take some pain killer specifically prescribed for it. Another vote for the one week period holiday, anyone?

If you’re from some remote village in India, having your period can be the worst time of your life. You’re treated like an outcast, you’re confined to a separate room of the house, and if you’re in the mood for pickles, guess what, you’re not getting any, in case your very touch infects the entire bottle! Also, if you’re religious, you aren’t allowed to touch anything belonging to the old pooja room, ’cause, well, you’re a dirty stinking bleeding little thing that the Gods despise, now aren’t you?

It’s starting to get difficult to think about the good things related to menstruation, I can assure you. Oh, how about the perfect excuse not to have sex, for those of you who are married and are therefore sick of it? There’s your very own seven days bedroom holiday right there, and you’re vag is off limits for your horny better half! Yay!

Having your period is a terrible time because suddenly you’re crying one minute, on top of the world the next and biting somebody’s head off for a considerably longer period of time much after. It’s not a good time to have people around. And what of the staining? No matter what pad or tampon you use, there’s always an accidental stain on that favourite bedsheet or pair of shorts that will never come out. They really should tell us what the launderers used on Monica Lewinsky’s stains!

What I personally find annoying is how many different colloquial terms people have assigned to menstruation. In India, it’s called chums. Why? Are you befriending the blood clots? My mum calls it menses, which sounds like a forum of really intelligent people solving really tough problems – and probably having their period on top of it. Why can’t we just call it what it is and give those men out there a fine guilt trip about not having a bloody experience like this themselves? And you, sex change operatees, you can have your share too! Ha, doesn’t make being a woman look so attractive now, does it?

And there you have it, ye uneducated masses, another fruitful lesson on the intimate life of women. Now, go make that bleeding female friend feel better in these, her troubled times.

Author:  Priya Loveena D’Souza is a merrily misanthropic soul who lives with her many many dogs in suddenly sunny Bangalore. She enjoys anarchism, couch criticism and reading Terry Pratchett, among other things. You can read more of her work at  Hanging in There
Edited by: Divya Rosaline
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