No beatin’ around the thesis bush (no pun intended) today: With every passing rotten development that befalls the human body, from adolescence to death, females suffer in extreme disproportion to men.
For me, it started with the mental anguish caused by the onset of puberty, when seemingly overnight, people had a problem with my 70’s era tube top. I didn’t get it, but I did get odd glances and suddenly there was whispering about whether it was appropriate. I was around 12 at the time, so I ignored them and went about my innocent, carefree existence. I don’t know if there exists an equivalent for men. Is it showing up to the public pool one summer during the junior high school years and overhearing someone remark that your Vienna sausage hammock has transformed into a banana hammock? Perhaps.
Then came the bleeding: through shorts, gym clothes, pants, dresses, you name it. Crossing the classroom with purse in hand, convinced that I probably looked like I just sat down at the scene of an ax murder; even if I didn’t, I’m carrying my purse to the bathroom so everyone knows what’s up. I guess a similar fate could befall young men, though an argument could be made they have monumentally more control over daytime emissions than young women do. So ya, no equivalent to be found here.
And then there’s the probing once a year by a total stranger. That started somewhere around 18. It was a male doctor. He entered the room with a lollipop in his mouth and two medical students by his side. While I’ve never been exactly certain why, the lollipop just seemed…unfortunate. Mortification ensued. As a male, did he fully appreciate what it’s like to be an 18-year-old female going through The Exam for the first time, not to mention having it conducted by Kojak and his team of journeymen detectives? I mean, was it really necessary to look up, wink and remark, “Who loves ya baby?!” upon finishing? But I guess the dreaded yearly medical exam for men is a male equivalent, of sorts. Perhaps it would only equal a female’s if it involved a female doctor wearing a mask and a cape, and one of those giant foam fingers when she told her patient to bend over.
Back to bleeding, because I haven’t even scratched the surface. So women will bleed around the clock, anywhere from three, to six or seven days out of the month, for about 40 years, on average, when it’s all said and done. The only time you won’t be bleeding once a month? When another human being has taken up residence inside your body (more on that below, pun intended). But the bleeding isn’t limited to only when it’s convenient, or slightly inconvenient with regard to getting up and walking across a classroom full of snickering punks. I’m talking about bleeding around the clock one week a month, whether you’re asleep, battling the flu, drunk, at a job interview, at the beach, camping, or trying to entertain a bunkmate. You name it, if you’re a female, you will probably have experienced bleeding right through it, and that includes desperately searching for a bathroom, outhouse, tree, or back seat of a car that gives you enough privacy to get things situated. Searching my mental Rolodex of male equivalent….wait, nope. Nothing, zip, nada.
Next, the childbearing years come into focus and the bodily function freak show begins in earnest. Ignoring the obvious “Alien” parallel of a creature living inside you, who one way or another is going to come out of there, there’s a rusty lining to this storm cloud: on the same day that human squatter is finally evicted, it will latch on and use you as a human feeding trough. For me, that was another ten months. That’s 19 months of having another human being physically attached to my body. And men wonder why women go batshit crazy during all or part of that process. Tell me the equivalent for the pregnancy-lactation double-header. Please, I’m dying to know.
Back to the breast. Few people dare to discuss anything but the exalted joy of nurturing a baby at your bosom, with a lovely little blanky fanned across the new mom’s shoulder. Nobody wants to talk about the other side of breastfeeding: scabby nipples. Not sure what I mean? Take the rough side of a kitchen sponge. Rub it back and forth across your nipple (men, I’m talking to you); then, allow to air dry for no more than two hours. Sponge treatment again. After about a week of round the clock, every two-hour sponge treatments, how do you think you’ll feel? A bit on the tense side? Over-reactive to seemingly innocent exchanges with your partner? Grouchy? Exhausted? When you express your discontent, be prepared to hear that lovely “flip side” that non-lactating people, male or female, just love to deliver, about the convenience of being able to feed another human being with your body, anytime, anywhere. Okay, sure, it’s pretty awesome (no sarcasm) when you’re on a bus, your kid is wailing, everyone is staring, and you don’t have any bottles with you, but you do have the one thing that will shut him up; but then again, you’re on a bus, your kid is wailing, everyone is staring, you don’t have any bottles with you, and you have the one thing that will shut him up (with sarcasm this time). It works both ways, my friend. I’m Googling ‘male equivalent for the non-positive attributes of publicly feeding your kid with your body. Not getting nothin’.
To be fair, males have their burdens to bear, like always being the go-to person for heavy lifting, killing hairy spiders and locking up the house at night. And if you’re a male cousin-in-law of mine, it’s your job to “fix the children” when they’re squabbling.
I think that’s a wrap for my scientific comparison of male vs. female bodily functions, adolescence through child-bearing years. Next time: “Male vs. Female Bodily Functions: The Middle Ages.
And yes, women will win again.
Photos courtesy of Lisa Lucke