Dear President Obama,
I got a favor to ask of you. Give me a day off from work every month when my lady ish starts. Please.
I know. You’re going to face a lot of opposition when you go to pass this into law. Cronies, congressmen, everyone. Lot of people gonna hate on this. Please just hear me out.
But first, don’t worry. I won’t get too graphic. I know it’s tough for you and your fellow males to reconcile the messy reality of menstruation with your expectations of women. I promise, no blood talk.
(Just kidding, mofo. Of course There Will Be Blood. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum, though.)
Periods suck. With them come cramps, nausea, backaches, sore boobs, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, trouble sleeping, headaches, acne, constipation, and more. Lot of times, I get cold sores and sore throats. It’s like having a cold and a flu concurrently, but worse because it happens every month. Oh and don’t forget, there’s also that blood-seeping-from-vagina business, too.
Does that gross you out? Get over it, ya baby. You wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for periods! Not a damn one of us would. So while I get that it’s a little narsty, it’s also something 50% of us deal with on the regular. Ladies have to pull blood-soaked tampons out of their bodies — usually with dark, congealed masses of uterus clung to them. We have to actually physically handle them. You should be able to handle just hearing about it.
(Hahahaha. “Masses of uterus.” So sorry. Swear to keep my promise about not getting too graphic from here on out.)
Anyway, as you might imagine, it’s hard to go to work when you feel that terrible. I can only speak from my experience, but the first day of my period is hella painful. I pop Advil like Tic Tacs and still it feels like a professional rock climber is using my womb as a stress ball. It’s not debilitating, but it sure is unpleasant. I’m sure it’s much worse for some people and much better for others. Don’t matter. We should all get a day off. We should all, at least, get the opportunity to get a day off.
Lot of people are going to disagree with that. Haters are going to say things like:
“Periods aren’t that bad. There are worse pains in the world.”
“Women do not need special treatment.”
“This justifies unequal pay between genders.”
When you get that kind of feedback, I’ve got some canned responses you can use.
“Ew yourself, you damn lady sheep.”
“You’re right — there are worse pains in the world. Still, it’s better to not have diarrhea thirteen times at the office.”
“Women absolutely need special treatment. They are special as hell. They have wombs, which though excellent for baby purposes, are not excellent for much else.”
“Wrong. Women would get more days off than men, but it’s because their bodies can grow humans. Can a man’s body grow humans? No? Men’s bodies don’t spend a week every month of every fertile year of their life painfully shedding uterine lining? Ah, guess equal pay is still fair, then.”
Here is my official proposal, Mr. President: You give lady workers 10 extra sick days a year, or something. I’m saying 10 instead of 12 because surely at least a couple periods are going to start on weekends, or maybe some aren’t as severe as others and don’t require time off at all. I don’t know. I know some people are going to take advantage of it — taking menstrual leave when they aren’t menstruating — so I’m trying to make it as fair as possible. It’s a little complicated.
In truth, it’s a lot complicated — lot of logistics that’ll have to be figured out. You know, pregnant ladies who don’t have periods, menopausal ladies who don’t have periods, ladies who just don’t have periods at all, ladies who really do have debilitating periods, etc. I don’t know what to do about all that. You and your friends can figure that out though, I imagine. Y’all smart.
Anyway, cool. Thanks for reading. If you could have this passed and signed into law in about 28 days, I’d appreciate it.
I know that was a little weird and gross. I don’t care. Periods drive me crazy. Actually — it’s not periods that drive me crazy. I’ve already said they suck, but I’ve accepted them as necessary, unavoidable, and — ultimately — helpful for baby-growing. What drives me crazy is that everyone thinks they’re so embarrassing. Something to hide.
Why! I want to sing from the rooftops when I’m on my period! I want everyone to know — particularly dudes — that I’m bleeding, and that it hurts like a mofo, and that I need a goddamn heating pad and a bed.
I’m worried people reading this will think I’m saying women are the weaker sex — that we’re delicate and can’t work because of our periods. That’s not at all what I’m arguing. I’m arguing that a lot of women are guaranteed to feel shitty at least once a month strictly because of the nature of their anatomy, and yet we still get the same amount of sick days as men. How is that fair?
My male coworker took a sick day last week because, according to him, he was “burping a lot.” The following day I got my period and, within the first two hours at work, pooped five times. And I didn’t take a sick day because there’s a chance — next month or the month after — I’m going to poop six times and need that sick day more. Or I’m going to get a stomach bug, or a respiratory infection, or some other illness and need the sick day then.
Ain’t that some shit?! I should be able to say to my boss, without embarrassment, “Yo, I’m menstruating up a storm over here. I’mma go home.” But I can’t, because that’s rude. She’s a lady, even, and it’s still rude. What kind of misanthropic ass society is ashamed and disgusted by something so crucial to its continued existence? That’s like being appalled by sex. Or by boobs.
Anyway, as you might have guessed, this wasn’t that serious a proposal. I’m not totally sure menstrual leave would work, but it’s good to think about. (They have it in Asia, FYI.) What we need more, probably, is open acknowledgement and acceptance that women get periods and it’s OK to feel like garbage.