Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Menstruation is not Romantic

Whether it's 'that time of the month,' 'Aunt Flo is coming to visit,' 'the painters are in,' the curse, your monthly, or just plain old menstruation, it sucks. Seriously. It's a few to several day(depending on the woman) interruption of life. All decisions about daily activity, whether or not to leave the house at all, get based on it. It is often painful, sometimes embarrassing, usually unpleasant, and always inconvenient. It is a monthly reminder of the fact women are mammals. Throw your education and sophistication away and bear down for the most basic female reproductive trait, menstruation. It's touted as this magical coming of age thing to young girls, but I have yet to meet the woman who has greeted her period with glee ("Oh, thank God! doesn't count).

I have never, NEVER, read a romance where the heroine has an unpleasant or inconvenient period. She's never had a stain on her dress or had to run to the withdrawing room in a panic. Her lover never has to go to the store for supplies. She can lay sprawled naked in bed with her significant other and never make an unfortunate mess. It just doesn't happen. When romance does reference a woman's period, it usually proves or disproves a pregnancy.

I have, many times, touted romance as escapist reading. It's not supposed to include harsh realism because we have enough of that in our daily lives. Real life things like body odor, gas, or waxing don't come into play. They're just not sexy. Periods - not sexy either. They are, however, profoundly feminine. I would not be adverse to a book that included a woman on her monthly. Historically, it would be interesting to see how that was dealt with. If anything, it might help me relate. I would say, "Hey, that woman, though stunningly beautiful, is just like me!" I don't think I would be disgusted.

That said, in honor of women everywhere, I am writing a scene where my main character is unable to engage in intimacy because of her period. It is awkward and a total let down, in the true spirit of the teasing little steps towards consummation. It will probably be edited out before this book ever makes it to the public eye, but I will know I tried.

(Addendum: I already cut the scene. It was self indulgent.)


A.T. Post said...

I was just reading about Hypatia, the famous Ancient Greek (female) historian. She was executed by Christians for being a witch, or some trumped-up charge or other. Some Christians, though, liked her, holding her up to a model of Virtue, because she once rejected a suitor by flinging her bloody menstrual rags at him, and saying there was nothing beautiful about sex at all. Quite a strident demonstration.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I am amazed this is the first time I've heard about this. Thank you.

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