Manstration

The sweet aroma of cut grass, laced with notes of sunscreen, and the lazy sound of flip flops have been replaced by the unrelenting sound of water dripping, slopping, whooshing, gushing, trickling down, down, down the now gray coast of Vancouver Island. This will remain so until next July.

This realization has everyone a little mopy this weekend including myself. Luckily, I had scheduled a trip to my fabulous hairdresser which always brightens my day, and incidentally, makes me look better. I’m weak that way–I know my soul should sustain me but frankly, makeup and hair have been far kinder friends to me on days when I feel as unkempt and nocturnal as Gollum.

My hairdresser is stylish and since he adores all things design, including a love of Danish furniture, we never run out of things to talk about. Once seated, he asks if I like his pants? This is a double-edged sword because I don’t want him to think I like them if he hates them and I don’t want him to think I hate them if he likes them.

They’re red. And cotton sateen.

“They’re…nice. Your shirt goes well with them.”

“My boyfriend gave them to me.”

We lapse into a silence, understanding that he’s wearing them because he loves his boyfriend, not necessarily the pants. I’m touched. Love is a wonderful thing—I don’t’ know that I’d wear red pants for anyone.

Then he says the most wonderful thing and that is that he sees these pants as his ‘Manstration’ pants. As in male menstruation. I seize upon the idea; men also suffer cycles and we agree that with this weather and gloomy darkness he is perfectly dressed to reflect and ruminate for a few sensitive, tea-drinking, couch-reading days.

I was surprised to find, upon further digging, that there are all sorts of male mood issues related to their testosterone cycles. I stumbled upon this site that talks about Irritable Male Syndrome. Now some women I know will be groaning at this, but apparently it’s real and can be aggravated or brought on by male Andropause. There’s so much controversy on this subject that I find I am at a loss as to what the truth of the matter is. I do know, having lived with 10 males growing up, that men’s emotional lives are complicated and intrinsically linked to their physical being. I have always found, given this experience, that men are so often portrayed in a two-dimensional way in media that it makes it difficult for young men growing up to reveal themselves in relationships without appearing ‘sensitive’, as though sensitivity were a scourge only women had the privilege of feeling.

I would like to hear from you on this interesting and important subject. Have we as a society forgotten the subtlety that exists in the male species in favour of male stereotypes?

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