“Aa gaya naya whisper, ab nayi lock technology ke sath (Presenting the new Whisper, with an improved lock technology)”. Gee, does that line sounds familiar to you? Back in school, I didn’t know what the heck it meant. So, here we go, another article in the haystack of menstruation.
September 2012: I had just gotten into my first relationship and suddenly, I am the ‘cockiest’ guy on the planet. You know how we boys get when we fall in “love” for the first time, we think we are so cool. So what happens when you are young and fresh in love? You just don’t get enough of your counterpart, it’s like you don’t want them to leave like ever. We used to text almost whole night and sometimes she used to complain, “Nishat, it pains in my stomach”. Me being me, I used to think, “Did she eat too much or what?”
That is how foolish I was. But hey, you can’t blame me entirely, no one gave me a heads up – not my parents, not my friends, not even my textbooks.
Isn’t that the story of so many boys at that age? We just brush it aside by justifying, “Chodh na yaar, ladkiyo ki dikkat hai (Leave it bro, it’s a girl problem).” Is menstruation just a ‘female’ problem? Don’t we men come in the picture?
While I wrote the above lines, I just thought to myself – what if my mom or my sister had their period right now? Will I be able to know about it? What more can I do besides suggesting some painkillers?
I don’t want to make it too weird for you but here’s what I think – I would like to experience what it’s like to have a period. I think that would give us (males) a lot of perspective. It is an unknown territory, like North Korea, to experience your first period. You know the ‘fun’ part? Most girls are clueless about what is happening to them, it’s like a highway of ‘hormones’ flying over each other.
If you do a survey about the number of taboos associated with a certain social issue, I think menstruation tops the charts. While I was at it, I read some absolutely bizarre things, here are some of them:
1. Girls are generally considered ‘unholy’ or ‘impure’ when on their periods and they are not allowed to enter the kitchen because apparently, they will make the kitchen ‘unholy’ as well. If that is the case then I am ‘unholy’ almost the whole year because I masturbate every once in a while.
2. One thing that knocked me out of my senses was that in some parts of our country, women are afraid to step out of their homes during their periods because they feel that they will get attacked by some animal cause the animals can sense the blood. Has it sunk in yet?
So, what’s the solution? Communicate Ralph, communicate. Easiest thing ever to do. I repeat, it is not just a ‘girl problem’, we have our fair share of role to play.
Imagine you are in a time machine, let’s take it a few years back when you were about to hit puberty. You there yet? Now imagine you and your folks are watching TV together and suddenly a ‘lovemaking’ scene pops up. Now if you have been in that ruckus you would agree with me that it is one of the top five awkward scenarios of your life. Your folks get all panicky. I don’t blame them, they were brought up in a different time. That is my whole point exactly. I am putting this generation on a pedestal because we can do that, we are better at dealing with social norms than the previous generations.
I have a younger brother entering the whirling state of puberty and we watch a whole lotta TV together and sometimes it’s deja vu. Those lovemaking scenes pop up but I don’t get all panicky like my folks. This is where this generation can make a difference and it starts with you. I don’t flip the channels because he is going to learn about sex one way or the other. So it’s a lot better if I can make sure he learns it right.
So parents/elders, sit down your daughter and tell her, “It is perfectly fine what you are going through, you need to own it bacha, we here for you.”
Men, sit down with all the women in your life and tell that that you will help in any way possible. I can today say this with immense pride that I have no hesitation whatsoever in explaining to my younger brother about all the ‘Whispers’ and the ‘Stayfrees’ because I’m sure he is as clueless while watching these ads as I was.