I had to work from home last Tuesday because I had what ranks right up there as one of my top ten worst periods of my life (so far). I got to work and then I went back home again, but, like a trooper - took my laptop with me and proceeded to do more work than usual, while scoffing chocolate, being quite ratty to the brotherman and refilling my hot water bottle at regular intervals. I may have also been wearing pyjamas. Anyway, apparently in some Japanese offices you are legally entitled to take days off during your bleedy time - this is separate to your 'normal' sick days. I'm not entirely too sure how I feel about it. On the one hand - days off for bleeding - woot! On the other, galloping on the heels of that chap that lost his job in NZ for making some terrible statements about women and their bodily functions - is it condescending?
'I see you've got your period (I'm not sure how your boss knows this, maybe you have to wear a scarlet letter P?) - you'd better take some time off because you're probably in pain and incapable of working.'
I brought this up with our latest houseguest, Courtney, who said, screw that line of thought and roll with it, baby. Which of course I can't because I'm in Australia. Not Japan. A workmate pointed out that if men had periods, this rule would be mandatory worldwide. Also, a cure for period pain and PMT would have been found years ago.
I wasn't sure what to think. My poor little head was too busy trying to remember how many neurofen you're allowed in an hour.
This was even less fun than a few weeks before when I suddenly had what we shall politely describe as VERY, VERY SORE BOOBS.
They seemed to think they had a period coming, only I knew, in my not necessarily infinite but quite definitely more knowledgeable wisdom, that they did not. Because I'm on the pill and I dictate the bleeding.
I'm not sure why they do this. It's like a phantom period - all the symptoms but no actual period, for which I guess I am grateful, but usually I just get concerned that something is wrong, that I'm with child (lack of sex life suggests phantom baby), as old ladies like to whisper, or some female acquaintance has fucked up my cycle and I've got a two for one deal I didn't ask for and the no actual period is about to become a full-on neurofen popping bloodbath, for lack of a better description.
They're not all like that, in fact, most of them aren't. Afterwards I barely remember them. But all women have at least one nasty period story. They recall them with involuntary body clenching as though this will ward off future visits from the period demon, let's call her Trixie. We talk about periods like old people do about the war and summers of long ago. 'Do you remember the one of '94? That was a shocker. Now these young folk, they've never seen anything like that one. Whew, when I think about how many sanitary pads I went through and that night I had to sleep on 14 towels so as to protect the mattress, it just brings me out in spots thinking about it.'
Men will often leave the room at this point and from the kitchen will come the sound of a bottle being opened and swigged from.
Anyway - it transpired I'd forgotten to take the pill for a few days so actually, it was all my fault. Feck.