All boys try to solve this one big mystery in their childhood days. They see a TV commercial where a peculiar blue liquid makes its way out of a glass beaker that has come straight out of a chemistry lab.
This blue liquid then falls into an odd shaped diaper.
It takes a few years for our pea-sized brains to question the strange non-existence of a toddler in such commercials. The advertisers play their own clever tricks on us but we usually do realize that this is not happening due to urinary incontinence.
So we now embark on a journey of deciphering the mystery behind the blue liquid!
This is the phase when we also start sprouting beards. Slowly we start picking up words like “periods” and “pad” from the commercial.
Then a brilliant idea pops into our heads. We will ask the female species about it.
Women are blessed with a hormone called estrogen. So they are usually one step ahead of us in this game.
When they sense even the slightest of inquisitiveness from our side they will unleash their artillery of well-rehearsed phrases and deliver it with great pride.
They will say, "Oh! We can't tell you. It's a girl thing!" "My mother has warned me not to discuss this with boys."How could you ask me that? You are such a bad boy!"
Only a very brave whistle-blower will dare to confide in us and tell us that it is not urine but blood that the “pad” is shielding every month after regular “periods” of time.
Honestly, we don’t really feel overwhelmed when we come to know this. We may have just cracked the biggest secret of the female race but we don’t feel too excited about it. We then quickly move on to the next question that immediately comes to our minds. Why does a girl’s body choose to pee blood for a few days every month?
Sadly, more often than not even whistle-blower kinds of girls are usually unable to help us out with such questions.
We now embark on phase 2 of the journey.
Not all men choose to embark on this phase though.
Only a handful of men go on to understand the science behind menstruation. They understand that every month a woman’s uterus builds a healthy inner lining within its walls and prepares itself for pregnancy. If a woman does not get pregnant then the lining will bleed itself out. A fresh lining is then created by the next month.
Men who delve into the science of such things are mostly doctors, biologists or scientists. Women who know what goes on inside their bodies when they are on their period too are usually doctors, biologists or scientists.
By the third or the fourth decade of their lives, most men are either married or may have entered into a relationship with a woman.
But most of them are either still unaware or ignorant about what women go through while they are menstruating.
Women don’t expect any empathy from their male counterparts either.
In fact, they would consider it a blessing if men are able to identify even a few of their symptoms at this time.
Only a few men know that all a woman needs at this time is a shoulder to cry on when they are overwhelmed by those erratic mood swings. Only a few men can understand those unreasonable food cravings that women often simply succumb to. If men could just offer them a bar of dark chocolate at this time it would help them forge a stronger bond of understanding with the women in their lives.
On their part, women should never withhold information about menstruation from boys especially when they are young and curious to know more about such things.
When women withhold this kind of information from boys they unknowingly build an invisible barrier between men and women.
Men are not able to satisfy their curiosity about this particular aspect of a woman's life. So men will not question a woman when she is denied entry into the kitchen or a temple for a few days every month.
They will not talk about this topic or ask you how you feel about it because that invisible barrier is firmly in place now. A lifetime of experience has taught them that they are better off by not discussing this topic in front of any woman.
What is the point of a relationship if we cannot even discuss the most natural and physiological problems with our loved ones? Why do we shroud menstruation and make it look so mysterious?
What is the worst thing that could happen if boys knew what “periods” are? Can we not teach our boys to make girls comfortable during their periods by discussing it with them openly? Will boys not understand how uncomfortable girls feel during this time? Will boys not grow up to respect women for the physical and mental anguish that they undergo to show that they are healthy and fertile?