There’s been a lot of public pussy talk over the last few weeks and I’m here to tell you that there’s only one Pussy I’m interested in, apart from my own, and his name is Pudding. (See also: Bertha Mason).
I’m not saying the cretin’s name because I’m trying not to invoke him. I wouldn’t put it past that dinosaur to be in possession of prehistorical (and supernatural) powers that allow him to manifest himself beside his haters, ripe for grabbing (us, not him obvi).
Can we make a deal here that grabbing of any sort, of the pussy, of an arm, of the brain is prohibited? I’m tired of fearing men, of having to look directly ahead and pretending to be deaf just to get home in one piece – and monsters like Flump, openly encouraging men to just kiss the women they like the look of, or grab them by the vulva is just setting everything back decades. It’s positively archaic.
Let’s also agree that, if you don’t have a vagina, you do not get to have an opinion? The (cis) men on Twitter who are so adamant a woman can’t physically be grabbed by their vagina in the first place need to stay in their lanes. Tell that to the women who know only too well that it is possible. It is sexual assault, nothing less.
Everything Flump says and does is disgusting, don’t get me wrong. His racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments are something else and I can’t quite get to grips with the concept of such an openly hateful person but he exists. He’s a joke but what he says is no longer “What’s the old fuck said now?” bemusing, it’s poison. I’m terrified for the future of the US and the world if he continues.
While we’re here, a little aside to the numb nut who can’t tell the difference between a womb and a bladder. Back to Basic Female Anatomy 101 with you, you dufus. Women can’t simply cross their legs to keep their periods from coming. Stop talking please.
‘Nice girls’ aren’t supposed to talk about periods.
It’s uncouth I suppose to discuss something so nasty. We’re cool to talk about sex to our heart’s content though and I’m starting to get a little tired of menstruation discrimination.
I’ve noticed a rise on my social media timelines of people I follow (and admire) being more candid about their bodies and bodily functions, and I’m here for that. So, this is my ode to periods.
Note: I do respect anybody’s decision not to read on. I’m not going to be unnecessarily graphic (maybe a bit) though I do love hilarious nicknames for menstruation.
To periods! Or, as my mother referred to it throughout my adolescence, ‘The Curse’. My preferred term is ‘Shark Week’ though sometimes I go with ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (for particularly bad ones) or ‘Surfing the Crimson Wave’ (which is delightfully VISUAL).
Other great euphemisms for Aunt Flow:
Riding the cotton pony
On the blob/rag
Getting your red wings
In the red tent
Crime scene in my pants
I haven’t really thought this post through by the way, I’m just planning to go with the (heavy) flow (lol) and see where we end up. I have a couple of amusing period anecdotes that deserve to see the light of day. First of all though, I thought I’d share my personal period history.
I identified with these feelings of inadequacy all too much, spending so much of my adolescence fretting about my period, then boobs, then kissing, then virginity or my inability to even give it away. Silly, innit but comparison is the thief of joy and all we did back then was hold ourselves up against our friends and what they were doing.
I wasn’t even that late in finally ‘becoming a woman’. I was about 12/13 and on the day I discovered that first red spot, I also cracked my head open against a door. That’s right, in typical clumsy girl fashion I ended the day bleeding from both ends. It was cool though, Mum got us fish & chips for supper and all was good with the world again.
Periods ever since then have been more of a blessing than a curse as they marked another month of avoided pregnancy. That makes me sound far more sexually active than I was but I’m talking after the age of 18, when I got a bit of action. Now I’m heavily implanted and have the most sporadic periods, like three months off, three months continual, like clockwork or every fortnight. There’s no way to tell how it’ll go and it’s (bloody) annoying.
But that’s the way the tampon swings, eh?
By the way, don’t you just love how disgusted men still are by period talk? How, if you buy a packet of female products at the Co-op they get all shifty, no matter their age? Or how, all too often you get told to shut up if you dare mention you’ve got the painters in?
Dudes – literally every female in your life does or has bled on a regular basis since they came of age and you still find it gross? Try starting your period unexpectedly in a floaty dress with minimal knicker coverage and then we’ll talk. We bleed, it’s never pleasant but there’s little we can do I’m afraid. And the more you insist we should keep this kind of talk to ourselves, the more I think we should chat openly about it. Squirm, motherfuckers!
This isn’t about men though, it’s about celebrating the monthly visitor that annoys the fuck out of us most of the time but has definite plus points, such as period days (blankets, food, Netflix), chocolate as medicine, hot baths and being at one with your sisters. When your cycle syncs with your work mates it is the best, the tea and sympathy flow – and the men stay the fuck away.
Back to those anecdotes. When my best friend L and I were at college, and more interested in bad boys and wine than studying, we hung out with a group of ne’er-do-wells who later ended up in prison (another story). One day we were at their flat and they’d gone out.
L and I were doing our thing, drinking, dancing and snooping – and somehow a used sanitary towel ended up left on the mantelpiece by accident (it happens). L realised several hours later when she was back home and decided to call her man and tell him to throw it away without looking at it (it was wrapped in tissue paper, we weren’t heathens).
He obviously unwrapped it and went ballistic. It’s still one of the funniest stories ever, mainly because he was a big burly thug who couldn’t deal with a tiny amount of female blood.
I also heard the best ever period story through a friend of a friend who happened to be Russian (so the story told in her accent made it even better). She was at a house party slow-dancing with a man to Chris De Burgh‘s Lady in Red (you can’t make this up).
As they shimmied romantically, she felt her sanitary pad slip out (this may have been before the invention of ‘wings’). As it headed down her leg towards her ankle she was somehow able to perform a precision high kick, which sent the pad flying underneath a nearby wardrobe. The guy didn’t notice, nor did anybody else and I challenge any one of you to tell me a better story involving the same song.
So there ends period talk 101 with me, your host, A Voluptuous Mind. For the record, I am currently on the blob hence some of my aggression and I have felt almost too weak to do a lots of stuff this weekend and week so far. But it’s nothing a jumbo pack of Peanut M&Ms and a good book won’t cure.
No clue how to sign this off so I will just say: How do you period, girls? ❤
When I mentioned at the weekend that I would be having a look back at some vintage classics, starting with a couple of Judy Blume‘s best known works, my news feed came alive with nostalgic comments.
A lot of my friends remembered the books fondly and it made me feel even more excited about hunkering down with some familiar characters over a cup of tea.
I wanted to read Forever first but in the end decided to save it until after I’d revisited Margaret. I’m glad I did that, for reasons I will come back to in the Forever review (spoiler alert: it’s still quite saucy!).
But to this book. I love it still and the thing that stood out most for me is the fact that the writing is really good. I have to confess that I half expected to be taking the piss out of the books that I was so into as a kid/teenager but there wasn’t a trace of that as soon as I picked them both up.
AYTGIMM follows 11 year old Margaret Simon as she navigates her way through a new school, new friends, a secret club, periods, boobs and boys. Written from her point of view, we learn some of the secrets that she doesn’t care to share with her friends, such as her true feelings for Moose, the boy who cuts the grass, and how much she really wants to get her period.
Margaret’s core group comprises Nancy Wheeler, Gretchen Potter and Janie Loomis. Together they form the Four PTSs (Pre-teen Sensations) who meet every Monday to pore over their boy books, talk about periods and do their boob enhancing exercises.
All my life it seems I have been semi-aware of the “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” mantra and it comes from this book. It may have been a thing way before it was set to paper but this is where I picked it up. Yes, I did do it myself (and look at me now!). It was very pleasing to get the warm and fuzzies whilst remembering it.
Despite her intimate circle, every night Margaret chats with the one person (or entity) who will listen to her no matter what. But when she starts to question religion on a deeper level and it brings up issues she doesn’t like, their relationship becomes strained. Will Margaret continue to turn to G-O-D or with they grow apart forever?
I thought that the religion thing was actually quite inspired. Margaret is brought up in a similar way to how my brother and I were; encouraged to choose her own faith when she feels ready. Margaret’s father is Jewish, while her mother is Christian so Margaret decides to give each a fair crack before she commits to one of religion, if at all.
I won’t go into it too much, but it’s quite refreshing to think that this topic was approached head on and then handled in such a sensitive way. I’m impressed with the diplomatic way it raises questions but doesn’t veer in any one direction.
Margaret also shares a close relationship with her grandmother, Sylvia. Keen to convert her granddaughter to Judaism, Sylvia nicknames her “Jewish Girl” which just adds pressure to Margaret as she tries to work out which way she should turn, biblically (or Torah-ly).
Blume also addresses the subject of slut shaming, although I am confident that this was not a phrase back when I was 11, even if it was definitely a thing.
Poor Laura Denker is labelled a bit of a goer (my words) because she is tall and well-developed for her age. She is the subject of much bitching (but mostly envy) within the secret club, who have heard rumours about her getting felt up behind the bike sheds (or the US equivalent, the bleachers?) by Nancy’s brother, Evan and the aforementioned, Moose.
But the main topic on all the girls’ minds is of course, puberty. The girls do focus a lot of attention on boys, mainly Phillip Leroy, the class fitty but that’s nothing compared to the massive amount of time they all spend fretting about growing up, finally getting their periods and proving that they are normal.
I remember so vividly how I used to feel before the Big P came along, how much I wanted to get it and kick start womanhood. It’s nice to be reminded of the girl I used to be, who still pops up her head every now and again, who sometimes has the same worries she used to about the way she looks.
Ah, the simpler days.
(Incidentally, on the day I finally got my period, I was running indoors and banged my head, cutting it open. That day I bled from both ends, proof you should be careful what you wish for. Although, as compensation, we did get fish and chips for supper).
All in all, I adored my trip down Memory Lane. Judy Blume did so well because she understood, and was able to convey what it’s like to be this age. In 2010, Margaret was placed on Time magazines Top 100 fiction books written in English since 1923 list: ″Blume turned millions of pre-teens into readers. She did it by asking the right questions—and avoiding pat, easy answers.″ (via Wikipedia).
Which sums it up better than anything. She just gets it.
The question to answer, I suppose, is does the book hold up? I think so. I mean, I’m 25 years older than the main protagonist so the things I worry about now are somewhat different to then. However, from a nostalgic point of view, I can remember those feelings of inadequacy and pressure like they were yesterday.
I like to be reminded of who I was and of being that age. I also wonder if there is that much difference between being (nearly) 12 years old back when I was 12, or indeed back when AYTGIMM was first published in 1970 (over 40 years ago), and being 12 now. I would imagine, at the centre of it they have the same worries with a lot more besides.
I think my generation are lucky they didn’t have to grow up in the digital age. Nobody had a phone of their own until the very early naughties (or I definitely didn’t) and MySpace was just about the most exciting thing happening on the web, which was still dial-up and patchy at best.
I can only imagine what this book would be like if it were rewritten in today’s setting. A hell of a lot more slut shaming, a bit of internet trolling and a lot of distracted tweeting, rather than two minutes in the closet, I’d bet.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking a trip down memory lane with some of the books I loved as a child and teenager. I thought it would be interesting to revisit the themes of the day and relate them to life now.
Just holding these two books in my hands takes me back to the girl I used to be (and still am at heart), though I am slightly dismayed that the covers aren’t the same as the ones I had, and the ones advertised on eBay. Still, it’s the content that matters.
Watch this space as I review these two Judy Blume classics as an adult and ponder why they meant so much back then.