I’ve been thinking a lot about Having Adventures lately, and that always brings me back to those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. Remember those? Then I happened to be chatting to a couple of friends about it last night, and thought I’d put up a link to a post I did a few years ago about a strange and silly discovery I made:
Category Archives: not menstrual but should be
Especially when you’ve partied all weekend and slept through the real one. Does it count that I partied in a foreign country? (The savvy readers among you will remember that I live in a foreign country, so don’t answer that one too quickly.)
Anyway, here’s a great little piece from the Onion that popped up on our facebooks yesterday.
Cheers to all the new facebook fans and new readers from over on Belle’s blog – you may notice that I don’t take a whole lot seriously.
But, in all seriousness, US readers should check out Elissa Stein and her book Flow on The View today. It is about time she got some more recognition!
Those of you who appreciate baking-related humour may love (or loathe, but they say that’s the same emotion, right?) this Cakewrecks feature. I’m giving that a not-menstrual-but-should be.
And finally, if you’re making yourself a stain for our Stains TM campaign, please send in a pic. We’ll post a few on here!
Happy day-after-international-women’s-day, particularly to all the awesome international women I know.
I write a zine called Adventures in Menstruating. In each issue, we review products. Would you be willing to send us a review copy of the recently released iPad? I’m aware that it’s not a feminine hygiene product, but thought it might amuse/amaze my readers.
I’m not this guy. Neither is my wife Sarah. And as long as women aren’t the punchline, and menstruation doesn’t mean ‘bad’ , the iPad jokes are cool by us. See below to find out who that guy is, though.
I must report on my friends’ (and the world’s) first reactions to the iPad by placing it firmly under the heading ‘not menstrual but should be.’ I would dearly, dearly love one made for me in flannel with wings that have little snaps on them. And please, folks, for the sake of the environment, consider using an iMenstrualcup. Think of all that landfill you’d save if you used reusables.
Right, those are the first ones I came up with off the top of my head, but there are plenty more to be had all over the internets. Including a gamut-running list on Feministing, Jezebel’s user-created photo manips, comments and round up, and NPR’s blog feature.
Interestingly, though, a gentleman named Ryan at untoldentertainment has, I think erroneously, gone on the defensive offensive by staging a general intervention for us iPad jokers (and this is a brand new addiction, folks, which surely does not need an intervention just yet), telling us:
But if you’re new to humour, here’s a hot tip: jokes about menstruation aren’t particularly funny. They’re actually kinda sleazy. Women, generally, don’t like them. And more evolved men don’t tend to enjoy them either.
Now we obviously disagree with that, and we welcome all you 24-hour-old menstural jokers to the club, but I think what he’s trying to do may have honourable intentions toward Apple (although working as a flash designer might make one a bit cross about a new piece of hardware that doesn’t support flash), and probably toward women, men, and menstrual comedy as well. He’s even made good on his threat to put all male ‘offenders’ in a hall of fame, and all women who make the irresistable a reality will end up in his ‘honourary hall of fame’. So I’m looking forward to appearing on that blog shortly. Hi!
We don’t need a moratorium, though. Periods are funny. Gross out humour is great! See our sidebar for our very well-thought-out list of reasons why. Ryan at untoldentertainment.com seems to not want to offend women, though, which is fair enough (although we can own that ourselves, thanks) and so we can suggest some guidelines.
Menstrual jokes can be funny in all the ways other bodily function jokes are funny. They have a time and a place and an audience. Recall’s always fun, puns are nice, observational humour if you must, and parody is win + cake. But…menstrual jokes are not cool (although they may still make you laugh, if you’re a jerk) when women are the butt of the joke. A major multinational corporation to whom all publicity is good publicity and who clearly put a lot of thought into this and still came up with ‘the iPad’? They can be the butt of the joke for a change. And so can maxipads!
Ryan also, worryingly, names and shames period joke tellers in the image above. We ain’t them. And we don’t need stifling. Queef Free, anyone?
Edited to add: This just in! Ryan Henson Creighton and I have exchanged a couple of emails today that were pretty funny in and of themselves. He didn’t mean to “incite the ire of the Menstruati”. I am still curious about what position of authority he’s imposed his moritorium and granted our amnesty from, but we have, indeed, been reprieved from the “Unfunny iPad/Menstrual Pad Joke-Telling Douchebag Hall of Fame”. So the upshot at the moment is: Apple have a dubiously effective new product, and we got a prize! And remember, kids, douche is bad for you!
Our facebook is still scrolling with lots of ‘Really, Apple?’ pad jokes, and my mind is reeling with what the inevitable nano version will be called…say it with us…the iPon, one assumes.
Edited to add: The New York Times tech blog got in on it with a comedy nod, although the comments belittle the ‘Bits’ section even further by insulting writer Claire Cain Miller, assuming all things menstrual are automatically perjorative, and ‘expecting more from the Times’ in equal measure. A few bright and sensible sparks shine through, though, so it’s worth a brief perusal. “Cringe” is the wrong word for it though, unless you’re not cringing about periods but Apple’s silliness. Who’d wanna keep the same company as the femcare industry – a bunch of multinationals who like to aggressively pursuade us that we NEED their product…oh, wait.
Thank you to our good friend James Parker for reminding me about Mad TV’s 2nd-place-award-winning zeitgeist-predictor.
And thank you to Apple, for this unintentional* period comedy moment. Menstruation is usually only discussed publicly with indifference or distaste, and pads are fair game. Keep the jokes coming!
*Or is it…intentional? Have Apple’s marketing teams tapped into the period comedy vibe and just decided to go for it? Nah…
If you’ll allow me to riff on the A-Team saying of old, I love it when menstruation and zombies come together, and boy did they for me this weekend. I promised Leeds Uni radio’s Femme Fatale show listeners that I’d post more details of our Halloween Party, and I also had another radio-themed surprise this weekend when I tuned into the podcast for NPR’s comedy quiz show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
But first, I should explain that my retort to anyone who likes horror movies but cringes at menstruation is, “Why are zombies eating brains ok, but if they start menstruating, it’s gross?! Blood and guts are blood and guts.” So part of our show is the film trailer and pitch for my menstrual zombie comedy movie. You know, “In a world where…etc. etc.” Some of you have heard it already, and I’m happy to pitch it to anyone else who wants to know between now and our next gig. In any case, we are so annoyed that the title ’28 days Later’ is already taken…
So, that’s the backstory to my costume for our annual Halloween party that we host for our friends. We get really competitive with ourselves, and it’s kind of a mini comedy installation each year. This year’s theme was the International Undead Convention, and guests were invited to invent a cause or lobbying group that they would represent, as an undead individual. Then I created parody logos for each of them.
Sarah co-hosted on behalf of the Vampire Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. (The GLAAD logo looks amazingly like blood when you give it a re-colour, and the ‘a’ and ‘d’ are particularly blood-droplet-reminiscent as well!) I love GLAAD, and I hope they don’t mind my parody. They get a ‘not menstrual but should be’ tag.
I was a member of Menstrual Zombie Actors’ Equity (again – it should go without saying that I respect and support what Equity does). I had a huge red bloodstain printed onto the bottom of the back of a tshirt. I’m telling ya – one day I am gonna start my Stains TM fashion line (Ha! I have now actually done this: www.stainstm.com! -Chella). Red is the new black.
Meanwhile – over on US radio, we were delighted when we listened to the Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! podcast today and heard the intro by host Peter Sagal:
“In honor of Halloween we’re talking zombies with legendary movie director George Romero — how to recognize them, how to defend against them, and — since this is Public Radio — how to try to reason with them, and come to mutual understanding and respect.”
The whole show was great, as usual, but I really got a kick out of the festive theme, and I love zombies. For George Romero’s bit, he had to answer a question. The answer to the question will lead you to this link, so you may want to listen before you read on. (Is it appropriate to announce spoilers for a radio quiz show?)
Romero gets the answer right (and the video itself is pretty good until it veers off into questionable territory after about minute six or so – further analysis from me will follow in Issue #5 of Adventures in Menstruating). Other than a smattering of groans from the audience (a mild response for this crowd – they have shown much more disgust much more vocally for more appropriate targets in the past, so I’m not complaining), periods were part of the comedy.
Menses even made it back at the end of the show for some recall about an earlier panel topic –
Peter asked for a prediction: “In reference to the first inter-gender golf match, how will President Obama show that he is all about the ladies?”
Panelist Amy Dickinson immediately fired back: “In solidarity to the women on the staff, President Obama is going to adjust his own hormonal cycle so they will all menstruate at the same time.”
Again, good-natured fun, and women were not the butt of the jokes, which means that Wait Wait wins a Second Place Award. I may need to create a new category for menstruating!Obama.
And, now that periods and the undead have shared radio air-time twice in one day on two continents, and even if I’m the only person who noticed or cared, I think menstrual zombie movies are officially on the table.
So, George…can I pencil you in for a storymeeting?
Our friend Hannah came round last night (she contributed a comic to Adventures in Menstruating #4) and told me about something she’d like to contribute to the next issue: Choose Your Own Adventure in Menstruating. Now I’m all over ’80s pop culture references and children’s books, so I’m as happy as…Larry Appleton. While we wait to see what form Hannah’s parody of Choose Your Own Adventure books will take, here’s a cover I found online that could qualify for ‘Not Menstrual But Should Be’.
Why is UFO 54-40 shaped like an applicator tampon?
Now my brain’s constructing an alien menstruation ritual involving the dance of the spider holding the cat toy and those three gold coins. Maybe it’s a subliminal comment by the artist on the cost of feminine hygiene.
Upon further inspection, it turns out this particular book gets a mention on the wikipedia page:
One book, Inside UFO 54-40, revolved around the search for a paradise that no one can actively reach; one of the pages in the book describes the player finding the paradise and living happily ever after, although none of the choices in the book led to that page. The ending could only be found by disregarding the rules and going through the book at random. Upon finding the ending, the reader is congratulated for realizing how to find paradise.
Wow. Who knew? I really did pick this cover at random from a search because of the inexplicable giant tampon. But now it feels kinda like a metaphor for what we’re doing here with this whole menstrual malarkey – breaking a few rules and being a bit random to live happily ever after.
Anyway, I’ll stop killing time and wait for Hannah’s more highbrow (or at least less unintelligibly spontaneous) contribution. But Tampon Crafts oughta get in on some sci-fi stylings. Just sayin’.
Correction, I guess…It’s amazing where I can allow myself to see tampons while I’m editing the next issue of my menstrual comedy zine.
I just finished the cover and it’s in for printing.
We’ve got an interesting new sponsor, as well – whole back cover ad!
By anyway, that’s where I’ve been the past couple of days I should have been posting.
So, in our quest for ever stupider content, Sarah and I have been doing some fart-joke style menstrual riffing. Proper lowest common denominator stuff. That’s your disclaimer.
I mentioned to Sarah that I wanted to come up with some new menstrual euphemisms – just for fun – no stigma attatched but more for vocabularic variety. There are fabulous metaphors for masturbation, defecation and all the other -ations that come out of your body, but menstrual metaphors all seem very negative and 1950s to us.
Her suggestion: When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along – I laughed and laughed. Then we looked up the song and realised it was sung by Doris Day (we love Doris Day), mentioned throbbing, and was about feeling positive. Why not specifically period positive, we say.
Sarah: Hey, Chella, my Red Red Robin just came Bob Bob Bobbin’ along. Have you got a tampon?
Chella: What a coincidence. My 99 Red Balloons have just gone by and and I’ve still got a pad in my bag.
(Only the English version of that song works, by the way, and could have some straw-grasping interpretations about male panic about menstruation rather than an impending invasion.)
In more sensible news, Sarah’s poem was posted on Feminist Review today. For her efforts, she’s won a quite cool looking book. Another winner, Erika Mikkalo, wrote a poem that reminded me of the Radio 4 programme I mentioned the other week about feminists being funny: Call Yourself A Feminist.
Do send us newphemisms.
I’m starting a new category of posts: things that sound like menstrual euphemisms, could be menstrual euphemisms, but aren’t menstrual euphemisms…yet.
Yep – things that are not menstrual but could be – nay should be.
First up: Flora The Red Menace.
This was a 60s musical starring Liza Minelli. It’s about communism, predictably, and, more surprisingly, fashion design.
But to misquote HBO’s favorite 80s rerun, Clue, communism’s just a red herring these days. I doubt this play will have revivals as successful as its sibling creations, Cabaret and Chicago. That’s why I suggest that we give it its own special revival.
Now, I’m obviously not condoning euphemism for period-shame-related cover ups, but I have no problem with nicknaming my period. (Party Weirdo’s Cara gave her period a stage name, after all.)
I nickname all my friends. Most of them don’t mind. Imagine this exchange:
Nicknamed Friend of Chella (who doesn’t mind): Hey Chella, what’s up?
Chella: I’m totally chilling with Flora the Red Menace today, man!
Yeah…that works for me.
Send in your not-menstrual-but-should-be suggestions.