If Men Could Menstruate----Gloria Steinem So, what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event. Men would brag about how long and how much. Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day. To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men were hormonally protected, but everything about cramps. Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammed Ali's Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields--"For Those Light Bachelor Days."--yeah, I know, it's a little dated. Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods. Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ("men-struation") as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat ("You have to give blood to take blood"), occupy political office ("Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priests, ministers, God himself ("He gave this blood for our sins"), or rabbis ("Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean"). Male liberals or radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join their ranks of only she were silling to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights ("Everything else is a single issue") or self-inflict a major wound each month ("You must give blood for the revolution"). Street guys would invent slang ("He's a three-pad man") and "give fives" on the corner with some exchange like, "Man, you lookin' good!" "Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!" TV shows would treat the subject openly. (Happy Days: Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still "The Fonz," though he has missed two periods in a row. Hill Street Blues: The whole precinct hits the same cycle.) So would newspapers. (SUMMER SHARK SCARE THREATENS MENSTRUATING MEN. JUDGE CITES MONTHLIES IN PARDONING RAPIST.) Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at "the time of the month." Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself, though all they needed was a good menstruating man. Medical schools would limit women's entry ("they might faint at the sight of blood"). Of course, intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguments. Without that biological gift for measuring the cycles of the moons and planets, how could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics--or the ability to measure anything at all? In philosophy and religion, how could women compensate for being disconnected from the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic death and resurrection each month? Menopause would be celebrated as a positive event, the symbol that men had accumulated enough cyclical wisdom to need no more. Liberal males in every field would try to be kind. The fact that "these people" have no gift for measuring life, the liberals would explain, should be punishment enough. Submitted in good humor by Kerri Roepke ------------------------------------------------------------------------ An Irish man walks into a pub. The bartender asks him, "what'll you have?" The man says, "Give me three pints of Guinness please." So the bartender brings him three pints and the man proceeds to alternately sip one, then the other, then the third until they're gone. He then orders three more. The bartender says, "Sir, I know you like them cold. You don't have to order three at a time. I can keep an eye on it and when you get low I'll bring you a fresh cold one." The man says, "You don't understand. I have two brothers, one in Australia and one in the States. We made a vow to each other that every Saturday night we'd still drink together. So right now, my brothers have three Guinness Stouts too, and we're drinking together. The bartender thought that was a wonderful tradition. Every week the man came in and ordered three beers. Then one week he came in and ordered only two. He drank them and then ordered two more. The bartender said to him, "I know what your tradition is, and I'd just like to say that I'm sorry that one of your brothers died." The man said, "Oh, me brothers are fine----I just quit drinking."