Truth Tuesday: A Dude's Guide to PMS

I’ve got just a wee bit to say this week and it has to do with most amazing subject of PMS.   You see, I had a blog post that I had written earlier this week and it was all deep and shit.  It felt like those dark velvet curtains your grandma used to have.  Ancient.  Heavy.  And I thought it was important.  

And then I got my period.  (tmi)

And then I reread the post and I was like, oh, hum.  #nofilter  #thankgodididnotpostthat

I actually only use hashtags to make fun of hashtags.   #fyi

Why oh why am I telling you such private details of my life?  Well, because I decided that PMS is actually a really super duper important part of the wellness of women.  And when we can view PMS through the lens of the normal ebb and flow of a woman's experience rather than a condition to be subdued or fixed, then, wow, we can develop intimacy with our partners and save money on Midol and Costco level quantities of chocolate.

Thus, I've created an open letter to all partners of women.  BUT, before I go any further, something must be said:  I know men deal with their own monthly hormonal swings.  In fact, I actually think the "pms" men experience occurs more often and sometimes more intensely than it does women.  Whether the intensity is a biological reality or a repercussion to the social expectation of men to be "manly" and not "emotional," is another blog post entirely.  But, men, just know that we know and that we see you.  And as much as you can be our partners in the hormonal flux we experience, we can be yours.  

Ok, anyways.  Here’s the deal we women want you to know:  Yes, PMS makes us totally sensitive and often reactive and a bunch of other things depending on our individual stuff (read on).   But, it does NOT make us crazy or irrational or out of touch.   In fact - listen carefully - PMS makes us more in touch.  It curls its raggedy ass finger at us in a come hither motion and walks us tenuously down the ladder of our individual rabbit holes - "rabbit holes" meaning the psychological containers of deepest insecurities, fears, and isms.   And then - THEN - on top of all of that psyche stuff, we must not forget to mention the extreme physical discomfort that comes along for the ride.

Welcome to PMS.  AKA Itcky Wool Sweater for nearly two weeks every month and then again the next month.  Repeat each month.  

Dear Partners of Women, here’s a brief guide to PMS that will guarantee you a status equal to John Cusack serenading his love via a boombox over his head in the middle of the street (for at least most of every month):

  1. PLAN FOR IT:
    • Track her PMS and write it on your calendar with super obvious notes, like “This Woman Needs Me to Not Be A Dick” or “This Woman is Not Crazy, She’s a Gorgeous Woman with the Ability to Potentially Grow Life in her Uterus.”  In order to do this, record the day she gets her period and then go back two weeks.  PMS starts there.  Not when she gets her period.  Don’t be daft.  TWO WEEKS BEFORE SHE BLEEDS.  Oh, don’t be daft-er:  DO NOT TELL HER YOU ARE TRACKING THIS.  You will lose awesome points instantly.
    •  
  2. IDENTIFY HER RABBIT HOLE:
    • Starting at that two weeks before she bleeds (yes, I just repeated that), don’t go down her "hole" with her (no, not that one, the metaphorical rabbit hole).  Yes, this woman has her own rabbit hole.  It is probably related to her childhood and her blah blah blah, so pay attention in those therapy sessions or when she, like, ever talks about her emotional internal world.  Start to identify what her trigger is for tumbling down in the swirly world of her psyche.  For instance, I have followed this deserved labor of love with my dearest soul sister best friend, whose trigger results in needing to know she is number one of all time (she is).  My own personal trigger is that I am convinced the world is ending in mere minutes and nothing will ever be okay ever again.  I promise, we don't want to be down here and sometimes we don't know it's happening.  You can help.
    •  
  3. DIFFUSE THAT RABBIT HOLE:
    • Once you identify this in this woman, figure out the best way to diffuse it.  This also requires work.  HUGE MASSIVE BIG TIME DO NOT EVER DO, NO MATTER WHAT MEN’S HEALTH MAGAZINE SAYS:  Do not ever tell her that she is pmsing or do not even think of asking her if it is "that time," especially if she is in a sensitive moment.  Those awesome points will plummet to irreversibly negative levels.  Instead, say to yourself (repeat: not out loud):  Oh, this is pms, let me get my handy virtual emotional toolkit out.  Maybe it’s terribly funny youtube videos that pull her out of the seriousness.  Maybe it’s soothing words.  Maybe it’s lying down on the cold tile floor next to her and letting her be a mess, but not alone.  Maybe it’s a good movie.  Maybe it’s a surprise.  Maybe it’s soothing touch.  Maybe it’s exercise.  Maybe it’s Kool & the Gang on blast.  Maybe it’s ... you get the drift.  Know your partner and help her diffuse the situation.
    •  
  4. LOVE THAT SHE IS NOT A ROBOT: 
    • Up and down.  Ebb and flow.  Dip and rise.  Smile and frown.  To and fro.  Love her for not being a robot.  Love the fact that she is a woman who has the ability within her flesh to grow life, either biologically or spiritually.  Love that this supposed moment of sensitivity is actually simultaneously an incredibly powerful feminine trait, designed biologically to participate in the dance of human procreation.  See her as powerful and be honored to be her partner.  Laugh.  Give her room to expand and contract, to pull away and run close.  Be secure enough in yourself to see the longevity of your “us” and let the small stuff go.   She is not a robot.  Neither are you.  Thank goodness.

Thank Goodness.