You know those old sayings? “No good deed goes unpunished…” “The road to hell is paved with good intentions…” And I’m sure there are others. You get the point, right?
This morning, having successfully downloaded the COVPass app, I decided to write a post for my travel blog about how to get the COVID-19 vaccine certificates and load them into a smart phone. This may not seem like a particularly difficult thing to do, but for Americans in Germany, it can be a process. I spent a couple of solid hours on the post, laboriously writing out the story of how I achieved success and each step I took. Then, once I was finished I shared the post in a few limited Facebook groups. Why limited? Because I’ve been in enough Facebook groups– particularly those affiliated with the military– to know that some people can’t simply be appreciative.
The very first comment I got on my link was from some guy who apparently isn’t a very careful reader. He wrote that my post was “good, but…” and then he proceeded to write about a point I’d missed about not needing to include the banking info. Except I hadn’t missed it. He just hadn’t read the post carefully. And then, to add insult to injury, he cut and pasted someone else’s long ass Facebook post about getting the app on an iPhone and left it in a comment. I guess no one needs to read that post I worked hard on this morning, after all.
I was already in a bit of a mood, probably because of hormones, so his comment immediately pissed me off. And I know it shouldn’t have. Mansplainers are a fact of life, particularly in military circles. There’s always some guy waiting to issue criticism or correction or, in more than one case in my experience, insults. Still, I don’t get paid to write this shit. I genuinely was trying to be helpful to the community when I wrote about my experience. It really felt belittling and dismissive to get that thoughtless comment from some guy who felt the need to be critical instead of kind. He obviously didn’t consider how much work went into that post… or he just didn’t care.
I suppose I could have given in to the urge to be bitchy. I kind of felt like ripping the guy’s nuts off, but realized that wouldn’t be a good look for me. So instead, I wrote, “Right, and I included that information in the post…” I also didn’t add what I was thinking, which was “that you obviously didn’t take the time to read carefully before you criticized…” You see, I wrote my post in a story form, rather than a cut and dry technical way. Maybe it was just too many words for him. Oh well… I can’t please everyone.
Seriously, though. It’s been a long time since I last posted in that group. It’s mainly because it’s a travel group, and I haven’t been traveling. Today, it occurred to me that I had something to add, and this guy has to piss all over it by criticizing it. I wonder if he realizes how that kind of response may have a negative effect on other people. I know I’ll think twice about posting information, since there’s a risk that some jerk’s thoughtless comment will irritate me. That would be a shame, since I’m going on seven years living in Germany this time and I have a lot to add about the subject. But I don’t like feeling aggravated… and it’s just as easy for me to let people find the content on their own, rather than trying to share it in a group.
I’m sure the guy doesn’t realize how irritating his comment is to me… although I understand that maybe this is an overreaction. Like I said… no good deed goes unpunished… the road to hell is paved with good intentions… I should have known better… I need a vacation. And now that I finally have the credentials, perhaps I can travel somewhere. If others find value in the work I did this morning, so much the better. I just wish people would stop and think before they indulge the impulse to be corrective… and make sure they read carefully beforehand. Because I’m passive aggressive, coming off my period, and completely over it, I went back and bolded, italicized, and partially underlined the part where I clearly wrote you don’t have to add the banking info. I suppose I could have also added this…
Obviously, this post is going to be TMI for some readers. Proceed with caution.
A couple of days ago, The Atlantic ran an article about how menstrual periods are now “optional”. The article was entitled “No One Has to Get Their Period Anymore”, with the tag line, “Why Menstruate if You Don’t Have To?” As I sit here wondering where my period is, and hoping it doesn’t strike this weekend as I celebrate my birthday, I think back on the many days I’ve spent “on the rag”. Starting New Year’s Eve 1985 and continuing to this day, I’ve mostly been very regular. It’s only been within the past few years– 2017 or so– that my body has occasionally taken a month off. I’m pretty lucky, though, because my periods have always been mostly bearable. Yes, they’re messy, stinky, and kind of gross, but I’ve never been bedridden because of that time of the month. The most I’ve had to deal with is cravings, crankiness, and the occasional ruined pair of underwear.
Some of my friends have not been so lucky. I know women who have had to deal with excessive pain and lengthy menstrual periods. I know other women who are busy and don’t have time to deal with the monthly bill. Some of those women have decided that they would rather not menstruate. They visited their doctors and got help. From the article:
Today, any doctor will tell you there is no medical necessity for periods unless you’re trying to conceive. The body preps for pregnancy by thickening the uterus’s lining, like a bird building a nest for her eggs; hormonal birth control prevents pregnancy, in part, by keeping the uterine lining from ever building up. Many of the roughly 19 million Americans who rely on the pill, the shot, IUDs, implants, patches, or rings see a change in their period—often it’s lighter, but it can also disappear altogether. In clinical trials, more than 40 percent of the Liletta IUD’s users no longer menstruated by the end of the product’s six-year life. More than half of people who get the Depo-Provera shot every three months will become amenorrhoeic within a year, and almost 70 percent in the second year. And anyone using the pill, patch, or ring can safely skip scheduled withdrawal bleeding.
Sounds awesome! I have never used birth control myself. In fact, Bill has never even used a condom. He has never needed to. Again, my period isn’t really that onerous. I’m not a career person. It’s not a big deal for me to menstruate, although it can be inconvenient and annoying. But like I said– I do know women who have suffered a lot due to menstruation. And so, if they don’t want to menstruate, why should they? More importantly, why is it that some men feel the need to opine about such a personal decision?
In the comment section on The Atlantic’s Facebook page, I was surprised to see a lot of comments from men about this topic. One guy, who wrote that he has daughters and worries about their health, queried “How is this healthy?”
And my response was, “Men seriously need to STFU about periods.” I could tell by the reactions to my comment that a lot of women agree with me.
Fellas, I appreciate that you worry about the women in your life. I like that you want to know how her body works. But, unless you are a physician and it’s your job to deal with women and their periods, I think this is a subject on which you shouldn’t offer too much input. I, for one, am very grateful that my husband’s wonderful mom, Parker, taught Bill so well. When Aunt Flow comes knocking at our house, Bill comes home with red wine, steaks, and chocolate. And that’s all that needs to be done… except for a little cramp relief.
It’s been my experience that most men don’t want to know the gory details of the monthly menstrual period. They aren’t there to comfort their wives or daughters when they accidentally leak through their pants. They may not be too appreciative in the middle of the night, when their wife or daughter wakes up with a gush of bleeding that has pooled and leaked on the sheets. They don’t know the sorrow of a destroyed pair of favorite underwear. They don’t understand the special fatigue and icky feeling that comes from having periods… not just the actual bleeding, but also the bloating, sensitive breasts, sleeplessness, irritability, and odors that come from that time of the month. Some men love to joke about such things, but they don’t experience it, and they can’t fully appreciate the unpleasantness of it.
Now, in fairness to the guy who asked, “How is that ‘healthy’?”, I did see a few women also posting about how they felt it was better not to mess with Mother Nature. And frankly, I kind of agree with those women. I don’t have a need to mess with the natural process of things, so I don’t. But– just as I probably would never choose to have an abortion but support legal abortions for other women, I fully support the rights of other women to make the choice not to menstruate. That monthly ordeal is truly a pain for a lot of people. Unless a woman wants to get pregnant, there’s no need to deal with the mess.
Another thing the article points out is that sanitary products are potentially very expensive, plus they don’t do great things for the environment. Of course, if money is an issue regarding sanitary napkins or tampons or the other products available, then it would probably also be an issue in paying for birth control, particularly for those who can’t pay for health insurance. And for some people, not having a period is a medical necessity– people who are missing an intact uterus or vagina, for instance. Not having a period can also be a psychological necessity. The article mentions a transgender man who suppressed his period because he didn’t want the monthly reminder that he was “born in the ‘wrong’ body”.
On the other hand, some people are comforted by the presence of their periods. For instance, some people use the presence of their periods to know that they aren’t pregnant. The period can also be a marker for recovery from an eating disorder or another health condition involving the pituitary or thyroid glands. When menstrual periods resume in someone who has had severe anorexia nervosa, that’s a sign that the body has healed from malnourishment and, perhaps, has regained fertility. Other people just like the rhythm of the period. It makes them feel “in touch” with their bodies.
Whatever… the point is, now that science has made a period free life possible for people who would ordinarily menstruate, it should be a choice that can be made without a bunch of chatter and mansplaining from those who don’t have to deal with having periods. I think the only time this should really come up with a man is if he’s raising a female child alone. I do have a male friend who is raising his daughter… and I don’t think he’s prepared for when she hits puberty. I hope he has some female friends who can help him out, because it’s just around the corner.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about periods… and how men really need to be quieter when it comes to discussing them. Back in 2017, George Takei shared an article about how menstruating women were being “price gouged” at an airport– $15 for a box of tampons. Lots of men were making stupid comments about that, too. Because that was an interesting post, here’s some of what I had to say about that situation reposted here:
An anonymous woman happened to be at Calgary International Airport when everybody’s least favorite aunt arrived. She found herself unprepared for her period and the vending machine in the ladies room was empty. When the woman went to a drug store to buy the necessary supplies, she was ripped off. It was $15 for the tampons. So the woman paid the money and left the box in the restroom for other women, along with a note of explanation.
Carlee Field came across the box of tampons, snapped a photo of them and the note, and posted to Reddit. Apparently, the outrage was enough to spark a response from airport officials, who promised to stock the vending machines. The drug store, likewise, lowered the price of the tampons.
The story was interesting enough, although the comments were especially stimulating. It always amazes me when men want to weigh in on subjects regarding menstrual periods. To their credit, many men were surprisingly understanding and even empathetic. On the other hand, there were quite a few comments from guys who felt the need to lecture us women about bringing the necessary supplies with us.
Here are just a few comments from males who think they know what it’s like to bleed from the genitals every month…
Maybe she should be a responsible adult and bring her own…? Or should we treat women like helpless victims?
Airport price gouging is not unique to tampons. It’s a huge price gauging enterprise. It’s why I make sure I have what I need, along with “just in case” items, before I leave my house.
Oh please. This is the problem nowadays. People stop looking at reality in favor of talking points and PC bullshit. The topic was price gauging. My comment was that the gauging isn’t unique to this particiular item, and that planning ahead could prevent the expense. Am I really wrong about that? Really? (someone should teach this man how to spell “gouging”– actually, this word is curiously misspelled several times by different people)
I’m confused. A lot of women are saying they have irregular periods, heavy periods, etc. as an excuse for being caught off guard. That just seems counter intuitive. I would think that if you had irregularities in your cycle and that you likely COULD have a surprise…. Isn’t that more of a reason to always be prepared and to carry fem Hy products? Because you know there’s a likelihood of having a surprise?
Of course the socialist thinks everything should just be given to her.
I can see how youd assume most men take such a drug, your sex life must be dull.
Wait… Youre female and you said something logical…. My mind is about to explode! Welcome to the wonderful world of getting yelled at by the mob of women with pitch forks and torches!
Quit getting so butthurt because guys are calling women unprepared for not packing a few extra while traveling 🙄you know you’re away from home for days at a time and that it could happen at any point. Unpreparedness is just the truth here. Sensitive much?
I could probably sit here all morning and read the comments, but I’ll stop with the ones above.
I have already written this story a few times, but I’ll repeat it for those who don’t want to read old posts. It was the end of November 2012. Bill and I were in Scotland on Hebridean Princess, a ship that generally caters to the elderly set. I had just gotten new luggage and, for whatever reason, forgot to stock my bags with feminine hygiene supplies. I usually have several tucked away just in case, but I guess I forgot to stock up in the excitement of packing.
On the last night of the cruise, we not only found out that our sweet bagel, MacGregor, was dying, but I had also started my period and was completely unprepared. Fortunately, the assistant purser, a very lovely lady named Valeria, was able to score me a few items from crew members to get me through the night. I doubt this is a problem they deal with too often, since most women on that ship are past menopause. Nevertheless, I will never forget that kindness.
Since that experience in 2012, I have been very careful to make sure I am ready in case Auntie Flow arrives when I’m on the go. But even though I am now especially sure to pack the essentials, that doesn’t mean I won’t need to buy more, perhaps even in the airport. The human body can be an unpredictable thing. I’m sure it won’t be long before my hormones go haywire and I won’t know WTF I’ll be dealing with as I enter a “new season” of life, as Michelle Duggar puts it.
Feminine hygiene products truly are a necessity. In fact, some might argue (and a few did) that they should be freely available in public restrooms, as toilet paper generally is. But, as a quick Google search shows, quite a lot of women lack the appropriate supplies for their time of the month. If you’re poor and you have a choice of spending money on stemming the crimson tide or eating, you’d likely pick eating. If you’re paying with a SNAP card, the choice to eat would be a no-brainer. You can’t use SNAP cards on non food items.
There are some communities taking notice of the need. How progressive! It seems like providing hygiene supplies to menstruating women would be a “win-win” proposition. Women can spare themselves the embarrassment and humiliation of being caught unprepared and “price-gouged” at the airport, and everyone can avoid the sight of blood on furniture and clothing. In all seriousness, though, this is a big deal. There is evidence that not properly taking care of one’s period can lead to significant health issues. Yeah… this is what is “unhealthy” about periods…
As you can see, this is a world that biological men don’t have to worry about or deal with. But we used to have a president who made tacky comments about Megyn Kelly, saying “she’s got blood coming out of her ‘wherever’.” I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised when I read stupid comments from men who think they know what it’s like to have periods and have the right to opine about what women should do to prevent being “surprised”. The fact is, sometimes you get caught with your pants down, for whatever reason. It happens to everybody. It shouldn’t be a big deal to be able to access affordable sanitary products when that happens. And men, who will never have to deal with the mess, expense, and inconvenience of monthly periods, should really be more sensitive. Better yet, most of them should simply STFU on this particular topic.
And if a woman decides she’d rather not have periods at all, that too is entirely and solely her own business. I don’t concern myself with male-centric topics like the state of the scrotum or prostate gland. I think that men should keep quiet about periods unless they are offering support. They don’t have to deal with a monthly deluge of blood coming whenever and however long the body decides. I honestly think some of these guys who are opining are doing so because they like the idea of being able to get women pregnant. It’s a source of control for them, or something.
Anyway… I feel glad that pretty soon, this will no longer be an issue I need to care about as someone who is personally affected by it. But in support of my younger sisters, I want to go on record to say that women should have dominion over their own bodies without input from men. Periods are not fun. They’re messy, stinky, expensive, and inconvenient. So, if science can make things easier in that regard, I think that should be a choice available to all women. And men need to STFU about it.
Okay… now that I’ve had a walk and all of my other chores for the day are done, I’ve just thought of something else to write about… and that is, “unintended pregnancies”. This morning, I learned that they’re caused by having sex! Who knew?
I started reading the article and discovered that it was about women in developing countries. In places like East Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, plenty of people were getting pregnant. They had lost access to birth control, thanks to widespread closures of facilities that weren’t needed for treating COVID-19. According to the article, a lot of women were unable to get birth control even before the pandemic. After it struck, things got markedly worse, and the women were faced with a potentially terrible choice– have a potentially unsafe abortion (obviously depending on the location) and worry about the stigma attached to that, or be forced into a potentially unsuitable marriage.
Well, none of this is news to me. I used to work in maternal and child health as well as healthcare policy. My older sister is also in public health and spent years traveling to developing countries to research and promote contraception. But, as is my habit, I decided to read the comments anyway. Lots of people who didn’t read were chiming in, as usual. And one man came up with this illuminating comment:
The pandemic caused pregnancies? I know science is distorted these days, but I still believe sex caused those pregnancies.
Another man came up with this one…
And here I thought pregnancy was a side effect of having sex…
When someone asked why he thought this was an amusing subject, he said…
“where did I say it was amusing? Its a fact that pregnancy is a result of sex, don’t want to be pregnant and can’t get access to birth control? Don’t have sex, pretty simple.”
I suppose it is simple, as long as men respect a woman’s right to say no to sex. But, as we all know, some men don’t respect that right. That is especially true in developing countries, where women are thought of as second class citizens and/or property. A couple of other guys chimed in about how women shouldn’t be having sex if they don’t want to be pregnant. When someone else brought up the issue of consent, or lack thereof, a guy asked “So all these women were raped?”
To that question, a woman replied, “only men can be having this stupid conversation. And maybe you should educate yourselves a little bit: even using birth control a woman can get pregnant.“
Then, Mr. Brilliant added, “If you get pregnant using a condom you should name that baby Houdini.“
Maybe… except this article was about women in developing countries, who may or may not have access to condoms or partners willing to use them. And then, someone else suggested butt sex, which does not result in pregnancy. But it does result in a pain in the ass. Not everyone is that chocolate, either. I know I’m about as vanilla as they come… maybe with a little fruity ripple and a few nuts.
And then someone made a comment about Republicans and manages to add in a blurb about face masks. I agree with her comment about Republicans, but it has no place on this article, which has nothing to do with the Republican Party. It’s about the worldwide shortage of condoms and access to contraception. I WISH PEOPLE WOULD READ BEFORE LEAVING THEIR DUMB COMMENTS.
And it went even further, with talk of dildoes…
Well… it’s true that sex causes pregnancy, at least most of the time– barring any medical procedures, that is. But being in a pandemic, with reduced access to contraception and medical care, more women are getting pregnant without meaning to get pregnant. Before I studied social work, I used to refer to the unintended pregnancies that resulted in unprotected sex as “unwanted”. But I was corrected by a field instructor and told I should use the term “unintended”. I’m sure that has a better ring to it, especially in a state like South Carolina, where legislators are continually trying to control women’s uteri. We don’t like to think of pregnancy and the resulting births, which many people consider to be a blessing, as “unwanted”. Many religious folks consider children gifts from God, and they proclaim that God will provide. Except when God doesn’t provide and the women need help.
As we can see from reading this article, unintended pregnancies happen all over the world, and they can and do have a devastating effect on the lives of the people who aren’t prepared for them. And while the headline for this article could have been better considered and more accurate, the fact is, a lot of women are pregnant and didn’t want to be because of conditions caused by the pandemic. That’s the main idea of the article. I got the point; did you?
I don’t often troll people online. I think it’s disrespectful to screw with people, even strangers who ask for it. However, sometimes I do get a bug up my ass… or a bee in my bonnet. And I must admit there are times when fucking with the stupid among us is a lot of fun.
Yesterday, I was reading The Washington Post and ventured into the Facebook comments section. There, I ran across a man named Justin who referred to Kamala Harris as “kameltoe”. Below is the comment that caught my attention and provoked a response.
The mental illness joe biden has, will prevent him from being president and We will reject kameltoe like a bad glass of milk.
So I wrote this:
Don’t be a misogynist, Justin. It doesn’t suit you.
This isn’t a really mean comment. I figure Justin must be really scared, though. If you have to refer to the future vice president as “kameltoe” instead of explaining rationally why you don’t think she’s a good fit for the office, I figure you’ve got nothing. Moreover, he clearly doesn’t think women belong in leadership positions. He probably mansplains a lot.
Justin didn’t like my response. So he wrote this:
…neither does a pedophile dementia case for a president. Trump2020. You will see and I’ll make sure i remind you I said that in a few weeks.
Hmmm… Justin must be scared. He’s clinging to that bullshit Wayfair conspiracy theory like it’s Linus’s blanket.
Then he continued with this… not even two minutes after his last comment:
I mean Nancy is already using the 25th to remove him. Geez 30+ nominees and down to creepy Joe, now Nancy wants to replace him with kamala who is a complete political failure. Your party has killed itself.
I must admit, I didn’t bother to read his comments as he was posting them. In fact, I am just now actually reading what Justin wrote. I was drinking wine and feeling sassy, so I just kept egging him on. This type of person can’t stand it when a woman backtalks him. There’s no point in actually addressing their non-sensical posts, either. And… he makes an assumption that I am a Democrat. I’m actually not registered with any party affiliation. I just decided to vote all blue this year because the Republican Party deserves it. So I responded thusly:
You really are drinking the KKKool-Aid, aren’t you? Poor baby. 😞
This is neither an original or particularly clever comment. I mainly posted it because, in my experience, Trumpers can’t stand it when you call them racist, even if they obviously are. I don’t actually know how Justin feels about people of color, but he made it quite obvious that he disdains Kamala Harris, who is a very bright, capable, black woman who could mop the floor with his feeble minded retorts. In any case, anyone who supports Trump obviously doesn’t mind racism, classism, or sexism. Justin bit on the KKK comment with this:
joe biden has direct ties to the KKK. He even read a eulogy at a klansmans funeral. There are dozens of photos of joe surrounded by KKK klansmen. Keep trying silly woman.
Really Justin? I don’t believe you, with your “correctile dysfunction”. So I wrote this:
Personal attacks… what a weak argument. Why not just see who wins?
Seriously. What good does namecalling do? Does Justin really think that being insulting is going to change my mind? He comes off as scared and desperate, and more than a little bit pathetic. Poor baby, indeed! But he still thinks Trump is a winner… and he can’t walk away gracefully.
we will, and I’ll remind you I knew that outcome already.
What if he doesn’t, Justin? What if Trump loses by a landslide? What will you do then, little boy? I was getting tired of chatting with Justin, so I decided to shock him. I wrote this:
Keep on commenting. It makes me wet.
Crickets! How do you respond when a woman you’re arguing with says something like that? Twenty minutes later, I wrote this:
Funny… I guess the prospect of making me wet was too much for the guy who referred to our future VP as “kameltoe”… I guess I don’t know my own strength. 😉
I decided to look up my new friend. It appears that he lives in Texas, is eight years younger than I am, and graduated high school. He really admires Donald Trump. He doesn’t seem to realize that Trump wouldn’t give him the time of day. Trump would think he was “disgusting”. In any case, here are some choice screenshots from Justin’s page. He’s not exactly a mental giant.
Anyway… I did think it was funny that telling Justin he was turning me on was enough to get him to fuck off. I don’t know what he’s doing reading the comments on a Washington Post article. He clearly isn’t a thinker. He hasn’t read this, from The New York Times…
Several people who have dealt extensively with Mr. Trump have suggested that he takes a dubious, even disdainful view of his most loyal followers. He takes them for granted because he knows they would forgive him for anything: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
“The people Trump despises most love him the most,” said Howard Stern, who hosted Mr. Trump on-air for years, in May. His voters, Mr. Stern said, are people he would not want in his hotels. “He’d be disgusted by them,” he said. “Go to Mar-a-Lago, see if there’s any people who look like you. I’m talking to you in the audience.”
Yeah, that means you, Justin. Your hero thinks you are disgusting. So do I. Nothing about you makes me “wet”. I just enjoy messing with people like you.
Now… Donald Trump might very well win re-election. But if he does, you can count on him being impeached again. And honestly, people who continue to champion Trump will get the leader they deserve, although unfortunately, it will be at the rest of our expenses. I hope and pray enough people in the United States have wised up since 2016. I truly get being Republican, but we need someone competent and caring in charge. Almost anyone would be better than Trump is.
But… I must admit, it’s kind of fun watching Trump melt down every day, just as his ardent followers are. His ego can’t take the prospect of losing… and if he does lose, he may very well end up in a place he really doesn’t want to be. Either way, November 4th will be a hell of a day. Either way, it’s going to be rough going. I hope Justin is prepared.
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