… because if I don’t laugh, I will shank someone.™
It’s cute, really, the way television ads make PMS seem like this 30-second drama that ends in frolicking around a beach in a white bathing suit. Let me break it down for you, though.
One night, you go to bed a relatively sane, properly nourished, pH-balanced woman in her forties who would rather have a daily bikini wax than actually wear one – let alone a WHITE one. The next morning – and by morning I mean THE MOMENT THE SUN RISES even though it’s Saturday, you could’ve totally slept in and no one else in the house – hell, NEIGHBORHOOD – is yet awake – you find you’ve changed. “Flowered,” “blossomed” – call it whatever ridiculous gardening analogy you want – the truth is this: There is now a four-alarm fire going on in your lower back. Your intestines and about half your internal organs are pushing, shoving and kicking their way out of the “building” through your uterus. There is an oil slick developing on your face reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez, and the only thing that’s “blossomed” is a pimple the size of Mount Everest. For good measure, you’ll get that zit (a) somewhere dead-center on your face so that you spend the day certain that everyone is staring at the neon target-like deformity now bulging from your head; or (b) somewhere you cannot reach but can constantly feel so that you spend the day certain that estrogen and progesterone are actually chemicals banned by several treaties and contemplate submitting your body to a U.N. inspection team.
That’s not enough, though. As your ovaries and kidneys crowd toward your uterus in their crazed attempt to flee, your stomach suddenly has room to expand. Now, the only way to satisfy the ridiculous hunger pangs caused by this impromptu remodel is to eat four pounds of chocolate, a large pizza, a hot fudge sundae, 37 croissants and your young.
Apparently, you also spent your night licking a salt block, because your body now retains enough water to irrigate a desert, leaving you torn between hating the ankles that look like a Tempurpedic mattress and loving the boobs that actually stay up on their own again – because they’ve hardened like concrete. This conflict will resolve itself the first time you bump into something with your boobs – like your shirt or your bra – and gain valuable insight into what electroshock feels like. Doctors recommend exercise to alleviate these symptoms. I say that I hope these same doctors – who clearly do not have boobs – come down with a vicious case of crotch crickets.
But, wait! There’s more! Even though you were wide awake at dark o’clock, you will be late for whatever you have to do. This is probably because you will put on every piece of clothing you own when trying to get dressed and NONE of your clothes will fit. You will trade pieces around like you are a human Rubik’s cube with the same result – impossible to fucking solve. You will decide that black yoga pants can be dressed up if you try hard enough. You will try to put on your make-up, but it’s really hard to get your eyeliner and mascara right when you’re crying about how you have nothing to wear. Oh, and your hair. Your hair has become a hay stack, all its moisture having crept off the follicles and onto your face as you slept. The only “product” that will help you now is an electric razor. You will contemplate your cheek bone structure in the mirror, wondering whether Sinead and Demi were on to something. You will recall your last hormonal haircut and achieve a second of clarity so pure and sweet you will be certain the hair-scrunchie is actually some type of prophylactic device that inhibits such rash decision making.
Because you’ve now become a lighted stick of dynamite, why not start shortening the fuse? It is just about a given that you will be out of coffee, milk or both. Your car will need gas. You will forget your keys or lock them in your car. At least one – but probably all – of your children will contain more whine than a ton of grapes so that the mere sound of their breathing is like fingernails on a chalkboard. You will have to go to a store to buy feminine hygiene products, which ensures that you will either (a) buy $347 worth of other items (about $340 of which are absolutely pointless) in a futile effort to mask your purchase of tampons or (b) find yourself in the checkout line of the youngest and best-looking checker while purchasing nothing but tampons. There will be men waiting in line both in front of and behind you. A price check will be needed. You will start to fantasize that you are Medusa. Nervous laughter will ensue. Everyone will back away slowly.
By the time you get home, you’ll have ingested your weight in Advil and look like someone dragged you backward through a bramble bush. You will take off your heels (What? Heels go with yoga pants.), massage your sausage feet and trudge to the kitchen. En route, you will step on a Lego brick/Lincoln Log/Chinese throwing star/rusty nail. The pain signal will wind its way from your foot to that lesser-known neural center of your brain called batshitcrazyium. You will unleash a rant on your child(ren) and spousal unit during which you unload every. single. thing. they’ve ever done wrong (plus some stuff you know for sure they’re gonna do wrong someday but haven’t yet . . . or that you completely made up). No one will be foolish enough to come near you without the requisite sacrificial offerings of gin, bacon or Xanax. The smart ones will gather up their charred remains and decide that now would be an excellent time to visit the grandparents or least let you have control of the television remote.
You will watch Steel Magnolias, have a good, cathartic cry. You will vent about this on Facebook to your girlfriends and marvel at how even women who spend only virtual time together end up on the same cycle. You will ponder why it has yet to occur to the U.S. military that a troop of women with synchronized menstrual cycles and no access to ibuprofen might actually be the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Or, you know, you’ll write a blog post as a public service to people within your blast radius.