Living in India made me understand that a white minority of the world has spent centuries conning us into thinking a white skin makes people superior, even though the only thing it really does is make them more subject to ultraviolet rays and wrinkles.
Reading Freud made me just as skeptical about penis envy. The power of giving birth makes “womb envy” more logical, and an organ as external and unprotected as the penis makes men very vulnerable indeed.
But listening recently to a woman describe the unexpected arrival of her menstrual period (a red stain had spread on her dress as she argued heatedly on the public stage) still made me cringe with embarrassment. That is, until she explained that, when finally informed in whispers of the obvious event, she said to the all-male audience, “and you should be proud to have a menstruating woman on your stage. It’s probably the first real thing that’s happened to this group in years.”
Laughter. Relief. She had turned a negative into a positive. Somehow her story merged with India and Freud to make me finally understand the power of positive thinking. Whatever a “superior” group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever and “inferior” group has will be used to justify its plight. Black me were given poorly paid jobs because they were said to be “stronger” than white men, while all women were relegated to poorly paid jobs because they were said to be “weaker.” As the little boy said when asked if he wanted to be a lawyer like his mother, “Oh no, that’s women’s work.” Logic has nothing to do with oppression.
So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?
Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men would be hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields- “For Those Light Bachelor Days.”
Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods.
Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat (“You have to give blood to take blood”), occupy high political office (“Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?”), be priests, ministers, God Himself (“He gave this blood for our sins”), or rabbis (“Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean”).
Male liberals and radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join their ranks if only she were willing to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights (“Everything else is a single issue”) or self-inflict a major wound every month (“You must give blood for the revolution”).
Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchenge like, “Man you lookin’ good!”
“Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!”
TV shows would treat the subject openly. (Happy Days: Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still “The Fonz,” though he has missed two periods in a row. Hill Street Blues: The whole precinct hits the same cycle.) So would newspapers. (Summer Shark Scare Threatens Menstruating Men. Judge Cites Monthlies In Pardoning Rapist.) And so would movies. (Newman and Redford in Blood Brothers!)
Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month.” Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself, though all they needed was a good menstruating man.
Medical schools would limit women’s entry (“they might faint at the sight of blood”).
Of course, intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguements. Without the biological gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets, how could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics– or the ability to measure anything at all? In philosophy and religion, how could women compensate for being disconnected from the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic death and resurrection every month?
Menopause would be celebrated as a positive event, the symbol that men had accumulated enough years of cyclical wisdom to need no more.
Liberal males in every field would try to be kind. The fact that “these people” have no gift for measuring life, the liberals would explain, should be punishment enough.
And how would women be trained to react? One can imagine right-wing women agreeing to all these arguements with a staunch and smiling masochism. (“The ERA would force housewives to wound themselves every month”: Phyllis Schlafly)
In short, we would discover, as we should already, that logic is in the eye of the logician. (For instance, here’s an idea for theorists and logicians: if women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long? I leave further improvisation up to you.)
The truth is that, if men could menstruate, the power justifications would go on and on.
If we let them.
Watching the rain can give you a million things to ponder about. If you have ever paid attention to people, you’d realise that while pretty flowers are instantly plucked, few people pay attention to plants with thorns and prickles. The more intelligent ones would tell you that great medicines often comes from these less pretty flowers.
Isn’t it the same with love? How can love be worthy off its name if one only selects the good part and leaves out the hardships. It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Thats human nature. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you have to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.
When you love, embrace everything the other person has to offer. The good, the bad, the good days, the bad days, the pretty face, the bad hair days, the expressions of hapiness, the mood swings, the passion, the anger, the love and the hate. For it is only when you accept the nasty part can you truly enjoy the good part that he or she is 🙂
Until next time….love a lil more.
THe workplace doesnt seem like the old place anymore. Not with you missing. I still see the same people every morning, still smile at all of them but you aren’t around so I cant give my special smile. We were college mates( at least for a year) and never knew of each others existence! We have met at countless instances and still not been aware of each other. Its weird. Its funny how we became such thick friends in just a year. Not saying much. Just that I miss you.
The pulling each others’ legs o’er each thing small or big,
The lifting up spirits when one is down,
The going together for a nibble or a loo break
& trying to wipe off each others’ frown.
The begging for treats on every occasion,
The planning to go to the gym or was it swimming or both?
The “detailed discussions” of the future,
All the while sitting around in the sauna!!
The notions to do something different,
The super bitching sessions about the boss n office
The decisions to watch a movie or not to,
The unlimited hours of gossip,
The kind words of encouragement.
The long talks over the walks n workouts
ALL the messages
All these things–& more,
May seem to last just a while.
But the moments are PRICELESS,
I am sure most of you thought I was gonna write about some other type of satisfaction. Sorry to disappoint!I am getting married. Oh not so soon maybe but yes, in another 4 months I AM getting married. So everyday my friends n I keep talkin about everything converning marriage and we seem to come to this consensus concerning the relationship men and women have! Women and men are as different as chalk and cheese. Men always find it difficult to understand women. Or so they proclaim.But believe us, we are not that difficult to understand. Just try to keep the communication channel open and see how things fall into their place. Here’s a guide of some of the things women wish men automatically understood and remember it’s neither rocket science nor micro-biology.
And the Ten Commandments are:
1. We know men are low in EQ (Emotional Quotient) but make an effort to understand emotions. But remember we don’t like men who can’t control their emotions. Cry babies (oops men) are not what we are exactly looking at in life! We’ll do the crying, you solve the problem!
2. When we talk, pay attention to what we are saying. Don’t just nod your head and continue watching the cricket match on television. Listen dont just hear! Most times, we are trying to catch your attention!
3. Your mother might be great in the kitchen and can whip up gourmet dishes in no time. But sorry we can’t go on listening to your running commentary on her remarkable culinary skills. Appreciate us, once in awhile. Tell us where you want us to improve.
4. We believe in the power of communication. So, talk, fight but don’t just go into ‘silent’ mode. Leave that mode to your mobile phones and us;)
5 All of us completely love a dash of chivalry in our partners. So be courteous and show us that you are well brought-up.
6 Don’t brag. Showing off really acts against you. Be subtle about your fat pay packet, your swanky car and the like. That shows your class.
7. Don’t think that you own us. So, behave accordingly. Like men folk, we also like our own space.
8. Romance comes naturally to us just as sex is natural to you. We love it when a man expresses his love. So, please show us that you love. Say it through flowers, dinners, gifts and of course count surprises as an important element of our DNA. Understand these basic points and act accordingly
9. Don’t try to give us lessons on moral science. And for heaven’s sake don’t comment on a low-neckline dress that we wear and comment on how sexy the other woman in a similar dress looks!That’s a very cheap thing to do. However, if a dress doesnt compliment our body, SAY IT!!!!!!
10. Don’t crack jokes on our family members, close friends. Show your great sense of humour with a touch of sensibility.
I have been attending trainings the whole of last week. Since I was outta office for a long time,somehow today it really felt like mo(a)nday morning! SO I am grumpy! There have been quite some stuff happening around here which kinda makes me think as to why it is so difficult to say no or maybe yes sometimes.
I’ve always thought that ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are both perfectly acceptable answers to questions such as ‘Am I getting the job’, ‘Is this person really worth the time’, ‘Did they like me’ etc. If the answer is a no and I’m the one at the receiving end, I won’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt just a wee bit. Heck, I might even stay in bed for a day and expect my friends to act like their lives have come to an end, now that my job/life in general has not worked out. But I’ll get over it. And see it for what it is. I chose to put my pride out there where it could get beaten to a pulp and it did! And the person ‘dishing it out’ was in actual fact, being fair to me, by not leading me on.
However, what I’ve observed and absolutely cannot fathom, is the tendency for people to avoid giving an answer altogether. When it comes to bad news, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. And I can say for a fact that it isn’t easy telling someone that something isn’t working or seeing someone’s work and being stuck with the responsibility of telling them that they ‘just don’t have it’. It’s cruel. It’s scary. But it’s honest. And it’s the harder and better thing to do. Because unlike the breakee, the breaker doesn’t have the luxury of self-pity to fall back on. Only the guilt of breaking someone’s heart or destroying someone’s dreams. I think the whole problem behind this kind of evasive, non-confrontational behaviour is the need to be liked. By everyone.
Thankfully, this is not one of my many needs.
So I’m usually unaffected by issues such as ”my family thinks you’re too headstrong’ or ‘my friends think you’re stuck up.’ My only response is ‘what do you think?’ and I silently smirk at the thought of how much we tune our lives to what other people think!?But who do you say that I am?’ Sure enough, the person in question, in an attempt to give a manly/womanly answer, meekly agrees that it doesn’t matter what everybody thinks. Except that it does. He/She’s one of those I-want-everybody-to-like-me-so-I-lie-to-keep-everyone-happy types, so the relationship goes on for as long as it possibly can on a foundation of lies!
Life would be so simple if people learnt to handle rejection gracefully and these evasive ones didn’t feel the need to be evasive anymore. Just think of how much time we could all save! Phew. Love might make the world go round. But ‘no’ makes it linear and less-complicated.
As you know, my life’s changing! Too many things to do in a day and very less time! Last night I was noticing how I haven’t talked with my girl friends for so long. Then I got to thinking, maybe I didn’t have as many girl friends as I thought. Where have all my girl friends gone? Why are they missing when am taking that big leap?
I understand that the world doesnt stand still. I get it that everyone has a life. Priorities change and so do people. People go to work, get married, start families etc but is it actually right to make that an excuse to not spend time with friends who were there when you were down in the dumps? Do friends come to us according to our needs? When we need them? Or do we cultivate them so that they can be there when we need them? If we cultivate our friends and invest in them, then why do so many friendships break up even after years of being friends whereas new friends seem closer to you than family?
It’s a strange universe of fickle friendships. At one point I felt I had so many friends that I could barely keep up with them. People who I could have coffee with, friends who would come home and sit for hours, friends who would drive for hours just to spend time together, movie friends, shopping friends, happy friends, sad friends etc..
Then suddenly the world changed. Friends moved on. New people came into my life. They weren’t exactly what i;d call friends. Old friends found new friends. I wondered if I had “invested” enough? Hadn’t I done what was needed to rely on them? Or was it another expectation from life that was being tested for me to understand that one cannot have ANY expectation. That maybe “friends” are like the weather. You can’t predict when they’ll be sunny and when they’ll be moody.
My father though seems to have several friends from work, from the football playing boy gang that he and my uncles shared and even friends from 40 years ago!! Is he doing something different that our generation hasn’t understood? We have come into an era where friends are there according to what we need from them. So friends from work will be thick since they share common environments, moms with kids will bond since they have a common topic to speak about, and women in gym classes will bond because of their mutual suffering. And married women will crib over their husbands and this bonds them as friends. We are all aware that these relationships might not last forever. But we also know that we grow as individuals and it’s probably for the best to have some friendships dissolve.
There is no need nowadays to “invest” for the long term. We all don’t have time to give so much of ourselves. With extremely busy lives, we’re just happy to have a few hours with people who are free at that time. That constitutes friendship nowadays. Or so I think.
Can we count the number of friends who have known us for more than ten years and we still rely on? Probably on our left hand. Out of those, can we say we still have something in common with them? The number becomes less. But when you’re sure of that number, those are the people who will attend everything that’s important to you no matter how difficult it is or how busy they are, those are the people who will love you even if you change and become completely different from them. That number will always stick. And that friendship will be far more important than any family you’ve ever had. Its alright that I have just a few of those in my life but really, thank god for them!
The world is opening up so many social platforms for us to make friends. The truth is we are all still alone.