One of the biggest mystery inhabiting every boy’s mind in his early days is that of a TV commercial exhibiting a peculiar blue liquid making its way from a glass beaker, straight out of a chemistry lab, onto what looks like an oddly shaped diaper.
It takes a few years for our pea-brains to question the strange non-existence of a toddler in the commercial. Despite their best efforts, we escape the clever tricks of advertisers and usually conclude that this cannot possibly be an issue of urinary incontinence. Thus begins a journey of deciphering the mystery behind the blue liquid!
About the same time as we sprout beards, we start picking up words like “periods” and “pad” from the commercial and the brilliant idea of turning to some feminine help pops into our heads. The estrogen-army, however, has always been one step ahead of us in this game. Upon sensing the slightest inquisitiveness on our part, they unleash their artillery of well-rehearsed phrases delivered with great pride:
– “Oh, we can’t tell you. It’s a girl thing!”
– “My mother has warned me not to discuss it with boys.” – “How could you ask me that? You’re such a bad boy!”
It takes a brave whistle-blower to confide in us that it is not urine but blood that the “pad” is shielding every month after regular “periods” of time.
To be honest, it is quite an underwhelming moment for us. It hardly feels like we’ve found the holy grail despite cracking the biggest secret of the female race that we have been breaking our heads over for a decade. Why does a girls body choose to pee blood for a few days every month is something that even the whistle-blower cannot help us with.
Here begins phase two of the journey, which not all men choose to embark on.
Only a handful of men go on to learn the science behind menstruation – every month a woman’s uterus will build itself a healthy inner lining in anticipation of a pregnancy. If she does not get pregnant, then it will bleed out its old lining and make a fresh one for the next month. These men are mostly doctors, biologists, or scientists. On an unrelated note, the real problem is that the women who know what goes on inside them when they are on their period are also mostly doctors, biologists or scientists.
By the third or fourth decade of their lives, most men find themselves married or in a relationship, still unaware or, more aptly, ignorant of what women go through while menstruating. Women conclude that to expect empathy out of a person who couldn’t even name the symptoms of menstruation is too much to ask for. Only a few men know that lending a shoulder to cry on when those erratic mood swings play their best cards or a bar of dark chocolate to satisfy the seemingly unreasonable food cravings go a long way in fostering their relationship.
–Dr. Parimal Udapurkar
VM GMC Solapur