Wednesday, October 10, 2007

HTT, in the middle of an argument, my boyfriend asked me if it was "that time of the month"!

Dear HTT,

I need your help. In the midst of an argument, my boyfriend committed a cardinal sin. This is a man who is normally very kind, supportive, and understanding. This *event* might have been a minor lapse in judgment. However, I'm still pretty steamed over it -- so I need your help to figure out, objectively, if I am overreacting!

OK -- here was the situation. He and I started to have a disagreement about something that he felt was trivial. The fact that he thought the issue was trivial caused this disagreement to blow up into a full ARGUMENT. At this point in the argument, I'm feeling really frustrated that he appeared to have a complete lack of regard for something that I felt was very important. So, we go 'round and 'round... things are getting really heated... he still thinks this whole thing is ridiculous... when he says, "What time of the month is it?" OHHHHH let me tell you, I was NOT amused. I flew off the handle. What started as frustration because he wasn't giving as much care to an issue that *I* felt was important - became anger that he overtly stated that I was irrational for even feeling upset in the first place. Like I said, he's normally very kind and supportive. What he said really shocked me. Is he secretly a real jerk?

Am I overreacting? What should I do?


Not Laughing

Dear Not Laughing,

At first, this line of questioning struck me as extremely sexist. If a woman and a man disagree about something, what makes it o.k. to assume the only cause of the disagreement is the woman’s hormonal state? Why can’t it simply be because the man is wrong? I mean, having a period is not the same as having a botched lobotomy. And I don’t know any women who, when arguing with a man, say something like, “Oh you just can’t think straight because you’re still distraught over your failure to achieve an erection last night.” Or, “honey, your sensitivity about your ever-growing bald spot is really clouding your judgment.”

But then, to be fair, I’m also willing to admit that some of us (and by “us” I mean some of womankind in general…certainly not me) do become a little emotional, a little hair-trigger-tempered when Aunt Dot comes to town.

So, for the sake of argument, let’s even say your hormones did rear their heads that day. Still, even if your boyfriend guessed correctly, did he actually gain anything by smugly mentioning it? Clearly not; you became more enraged.

So, guys, a tip from me to you: pulling the “is it THAT time of the month?” card will never help you win an argument. I’ll bet that no woman in the history of menstruation has ever, when confronted with that question in the middle of a heated discussion, responded, “Gee, you’re right honey, I’m just being totally irrational because my hormones are screwing with my head and my entire torso is wracked with cramps. Don’t even bother paying attention to my opinions for another four days.”

Now, men, if the woman in your life does suffer from mood swings when her period rolls around, and if you choose to track her cycle clandestinely for your own well being (or, better yet, to avoid arguments and to remember to bring home chocolate and red wine), feel free to do so. But mention it at your peril. And remember, just because we’re crabby doesn’t mean we’re wrong.

Yours truly,