Friday, March 02, 2012

A week of petty annoyance: thought experiment and child-naming edition

So it's that special, beautiful, womanly time of the month--when my estrogen levels start to drop and I begin fantasizing, fleetingly, about breaking windows/laws/heads as the primal rage that I normally keep suppressed beneath conscious awareness bubbles to the surface. That is to say: PMS. Not jokey, ha-ha-a-woman-expressed-something-other-than-insipid-cheerfulness PMS. Not Roseanne Barr stand-up routine PMS. Real, Cheez-It-craving, migraine-having, vivid-dreaming, obscenities-in-traffic-screaming PMS. And it got me thinking: We live in a society where the Catholic church is OK with paying for their employees' Viagra but not their birth control. We live in a society where Chris Brown can be invited to perform at the Grammys (not once but TWICE) and receive an award three years after beating the everliving hell out of his then-girlfriend. Clearly this is a still, in a lot of ways, a man's world. Women's issues are frequently overlooked, or if acknowledged, reduced to the status of laughable nuisances. But what...I wondered, peering into my crystal ball...what would the world be like if men had PMS? What if guys MENstruated?

Pads and tampons wouldn't be hidden in what is euphemistically termed the 'feminine hygiene' aisle anymore. The masculine hygiene aisle at WalMart would include cardboard cutouts of NASCAR drivers (or maybe Larry the Cable Guy?) hawking their wares. Louis Vuitton, which has of late produced high-end $38-apiece condoms (I'm actually NOT making that up), would start making couture pads. Far from something to conceal, as when they were associated with--ewwww!--girlyparts, pads and tampons would become badges of honor and prestige. Monogramming would be available at fine retailers like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren--for a fee, of course.

 Pharmaceutical companies would invest heavily in research for new drugs to target cramps, bloating and digestive issues related to fluctuating hormone levels.

Monthly munchie allotments (say, vouchers for boxes of Cheez-Its, pints of Ben and Jerry's, or Trader Joe's Pound Plus bars of dark chocolate). The vouchers would sort of be based on the WIC food lists, in that anything healthy enough to be paid for with Women Infant Children food stamps would be disallowed.

The mind reels.

And, just to round things out, another minor annoyance (because who wants to have a positive attitude all the time? And also because I think my next post is going to be something semi-serious and heavy):

 People who give their poor, unsuspecting children 'creative' names. Don't name your child after a natural phenomenon (Rainbow, Sunshine, River--this is mostly a problem in California), a random noun (I'm looking at you, Gwyneth Paltrow, with your child Apple) or a western state/city (interesting that there are lots of Dakotas and Cheyennes but I've never heard of a kid christened Vermont or Teaneck).

Even more gauche, at least from my point of view, is a "common" name that has been creatively spelled--usually in a manner that suggests the parents had a two-for-one coupon at the vowel store and decided to make the most of it. Ashley becomes Asheleighee, Evelyn becomes Aivelinn, and Xochiles;djk is pronounced 'Sarah.' The random-interchangable-syllable names should probably be mentioned here too, though they don't provoke quite the same ire in me: Jaelyn, Brayden, Kaylee, Braylee, Kaylyn...they're modular. They are, to me, the Ikea furniture of names. Perfectly serviceable, but they will one day be dated and are considered (by some folks at least...not me, necessarily) rather cheap.

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