So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? Menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy,masculine event. Men would brag about how long, and how much. Boys wouldtalk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religiousceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men were hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of some commercial brands such as Di Caprio Tampons, Ryan Reynolds Rope-a-Dope Pads, Elton John Maxi-Pads.
Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods. Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat. (“You have to give blood to take blood”.), occupy high political offices (“Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?”), be priests, ministers, God Himself (“He gave his blood for our sins”), or rabbis (“Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean”).Male liberals or radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join if only she were willing to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights (“Everything else is a single issue”) or self inflict a major wound every month (“You MUST give blood for the revolution.”). Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and give “fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man, you, lookin’ good!”
“Yeah, man I’m on the rag.”TV shows would treat the subject openly. (Hill Street Blues: The whole precinct hits the same cycle.) So would newspapers, (SUMMER SHARK SCARE
THREATENS MENSTRUATING MEN; JUDGE CITES MONTHLIES IN PARDONING RAPIST.)
And so would movies. (Newman and Redford in ‘Blood Brothers’. Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month.” Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself, though all they needed was a good menstruating man. Medical schools would limit women’s entry (“They might faint at the sight of blood.”). Of course intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguments. Without that biological gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets, how could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics–or the ability to measure anything at all? Liberal males would try to be kind. The fact that “these people” have no gift for measuring life, the liberals would explain, should be punishment enough.