I've lived a privileged life. I've never had a gun pulled on me. I've only had a knife pulled on me once ... by a girl.
My buddy and I were busboys at a pretentious café one summer. Our buddy's sister, Sarah, was a waitress. We were totally lame, not allowed to talk to customers — the scourge of the staff. In fact, we were eventually fired because we were deemed "unnecessary."
Needless to say, we were jealous of Sarah's high standing on the staff. And, because Sarah was our buddy's sister, we loved giving her a hard time. She was a straight-A student (God forbid), and mature (God forbid even more).
One day, before the restaurant opened for business, I struck gold when I noticed Sarah wearing a cardigan over her uniform. Opportunity! My buddy and I approached... "Um, sorry, Sarah. Management decrees NO cardigans over your uniform while working. That would make this a gross breach of the employee handbook."
It was a brilliant delivery, resembling the tone of one of those '80s-comedy ultra-preppy bad-guy jerks. Sarah whirled around, brandishing the knife in my face: "Rich. Back off. I'm not in the mood for it today."
Fleeting moments in history spark explosions: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand setting off WWI, British gunfire on Boston citizenry stirring the flames of Revolution...
I'm not sure what caused my buddy to say the stupidest thing ever. Perhaps it was the word "today," despite the fact that we had been annoying her all summer.
But Mike fired a gunshot of his own: "Whoa ... Rich, we better back off. Looks like it's period day."
Then, Sarah stuck the knife in my buddy's face and delivered an icy, seething message: "Mike. Get a life."
Sarah returned to cutting her bread. Mike and I remained on edge the rest of the day, as if we had seen really bad roadkill up close ... totally shaken.
I've tried to forget that story, but I recently read my friend's post in her Shmitten Kitten blog regarding PMS, stating that
any guy who can handle PMS is a keeper.
I appreciate her point of view, but it's pretty tough for us. The underlying problem is that we don't get it.
For example, I'm not even sure if "PMS" is the same as "period." And which is worse?
We don't mean to be rude when we suggest that you're PMSing. Humankind universally seeks to explain the unexplainable. In that sense, it's no different than Greek mythology or stories of giant squids devouring ships that disappeared at sea.
We attempt to explain the unexplainable: You were happy yesterday, and today you want to kill me.
I know there are cramps and mood swings; I know I should never, under any circumstances, suggest you're PMSing ... unless I need an amputation and I can't pay for a doctor.
In addition to not suggesting she's PMSing, I shouldn't attempt to "understand" her discomfort, anger, or pain. I should try to make it more bearable.
The Shmitten Kitten wants a guy who can face it without being squeamish — this translates to "a mature and thoughtful guy."
I'm a bit squeamish, and I have my immature moments, but I actually enjoy catering to a girl when she's upset.
Here are a few "dealing with it" options I'd try with a PMSing girlfriend:
1. Do not spring into action until she tells me she is PMSing. Otherwise, I'll look like I'm assuming and I'll get a knife pulled on me.
2. Take advantage of my "giving and relieving" skills. I love cooking. Maybe I learn some new recipes and cook, cook, cook until she's feeling better.
3. Kill her with kindness. For my advertising job, presenting to clients, we bend over backwards. We ensure that they feel they are always right. We listen, and we understand. During PMS, maybe my girlfriend becomes my "client"...actually, maybe she should always be my client, regardless of when PMS hits.
4. Do the dates I've been wriggling out of. Okay, Okay, I'll see that stupid romantic comedy. I'll see that Jackson Pollock thing at MoMA (even though I could fill a straw with paint and spit it on a canvas for $5 for you).
5. Just leave. take the bomb-shelter mentality. Go away, to a safer place, get the hell out of her way, and return when things are settled. That might eliminate confrontation, but it might make her angry.
What do you think of my strategies? What's the best way for your significant other to deal with your PMS? Do you find that most guys are clueless in dealing with it? Is it annoying when a guy tries to help?
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