Sort Of Like Getting Mugged
There is nothing worse than really, really bad PMS.
I repeat: there is nothing worse than terrible, awful, no good, very bad PMS. Alexander and the rest of the male gender, you can take your terrible, awful, no good, very bad day, multiply it by 87, and add the death of your family pet. And that’s just the first couple of hours.
If we were still living in Biblical times, I’d be on the first camel to the red tent, but fortunately or unfortunately, us women are now expected to live our lives like nothing is wrong while our hormones rip our insides to shreds. So when my eyes started to well up with tears as I ordered a turkey sandwich and my male coworker/ best friend/ former romantic interest looked at me quizzically, I had only one way to explain myself:
You know those times when you’re walking home late at night? Not quite late enough that you feel like you’re the only person awake in all of [insert your hip city of choice here], but a reasonable hour for other people to also be using the sidewalk. Well, it’s one of those nights. You’re on the phone with your dad, arguing with him about something money-related that you wish he’d just explained to you in your formative years.
You hear someone walking behind you. You tense up, but you’re not sure why. “It’s only [insert reasonably late hour],” you tell yourself, “I’m sure this nice person is just trying to pass me because I’m walking sort of slow for a healthy young city dweller.”
You turn the corner onto your street and wrap up your conversation, slipping your phone into your pocket. The footsteps behind you quicken. Jesus, why is everyone in [insert said hip city of choice] in such a goddamn rush? Why the hell do I still want to murder all of my roommates?
All the sudden, your fellow pedestrian is like, right up against your back. That’s kind of weird.
“Give me the bag, now.”
You turn around, and it turns out that your fellow friendly pedestrian is some kid in a black hoodie with a neck warmer over is mouth, and he really wants your bag. It’s not designer or anything, but it did take you months to track down — it’s not easy to find the perfect black leather bag. (Sparknotes: the leather bag is a metaphor for your fragile sanity.)
Aside from your wallet with a credit card and three bucks in it, there’s not much of value in it to anyone other than you; just some notebooks, an out-of-print history of Rolling Stone magazine, a small floral makeup bag that was your mom’s in the 70s. You know, the trappings of having one’s ish together.
You want to explain this to this kid, but then you glance down and see that he has a knife, and he’s holding it awfully close to your private parts. And you’re starting to have phantom pains that feel like he’s already stabbed you in the ovaries seven times.
“Wait, what?” You ask the otherwise empty street. “Why was I born a woman again?”
“Give me the bag,” the kid says, looking at his knife.
So you do exactly what he says, because what other choice do you have? And you walk the last half a block to your front door shaking and bewildered, wondering what just happened and why you have lost all control of your life…
Until you realize that your period is coming in about a week. And that you’re going to have to spend every day until then cancelling your credit cards and tracking down out-of-print books and filling out police reports, and generally fighting off waves of hormonal imbalances that make you feel like a shaking leaf one second, the Joker in Batman the next.
…so that’s what really bad PMS feels like, gentlemen. Tune in next week if you’re curious about what it’s like being on the first two weeks of birth control.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”