Concessions for Women

Hats off to Fu Yuanhui, the twenty-year old swimmer, for mentioning the P word at the Olympics. And I’m not talking about the P in Phelps.angry-1429013_1280


When asked how she felt after her race, she responded with:


“My period came last night and I’m really tired right now … but this isn’t an excuse, I still did not swim as well as I should have.”


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be that honest in the workplace and our colleagues were mature enough to demonstrate some empathy rather than smirking patronisation?


No, menstruation is not an excuse for poor performance and women don’t expect it to be, but perhaps it should be? Other athletes concede matches due to injury such as inflamed joints or muscle strain. Picture the pats on the back when a guy comes into the office with his arm in a sling because he sprained his wrist playing rugby; then imagine the reaction in the photocopying room if a woman suddenly bent down in agony from excruciating period pain.


Why is there this expectation that women have to be stronger and tougher to be equal ie. Superwomen? They suffer through menstruation, giving birth and breastfeeding while working and are still not considered as good as their male counterparts.


I read a very funny article recently about the true, nitty-gritty symptoms of menopause – the bits we don’t talk about. ‘Clots the size of tennis balls’ is one of the descriptions that stuck in my brain – cue exit of all my male readers – and it made me laugh out loud, because every one of us has at least one horror story about birth and embarrassing period accidents.


So, even though I’m usually quite vocal about my demand for equal rights, it did cross my mind when I read that piece that too right! women should be given some concessions in the workplace for all the hormonal shit we have to put up with at the same time as doing our jobs. But we’re not. We’re expected to forge through it, which means that sometimes our life feels like our own Olympic competition to to see if we’re good enough to do ‘a man’s job’; as if what they do is what we need to aspire to.


Even though we push their babies out of our bodies.


At the same time we’re fighting the stereotype of women being complainers and moaners, so to counter balance that accusation most of us try to make as little fuss as possible in the workplace, even though no man has ever had to give a presentation while worrying about leaking from either boobs or vagina or being over-tired because they couldn’t sleep through period pain or the crying of a newborn the night before.


*Steps down from soapbox*


The Holiday Period

Dear Period,


Forgive me for abandoning all hope of ever being able to decipher how your special powers of diarising work exactly, when no matter how meticulously I plan ahead you always seem to appear slap bang in the middle of my hard-earned two weeks of holiday.

The Holiday Period
Courtesy of Libra


I begrudgingly give you ten out of ten for accuracy once again this year.


Admittedly, having you join me on this skiing holiday isn’t as bad as when we were on our beach holiday last year, when already humiliated by having to wear swimmers in front of a posse of gorgeous teenage girls, I had to deal with you too.


But wearing twenty-five layers of warm clothing and thick gloves isn’t much easier and can be plain cumbersome when attending to your intimate needs en piste. And there is very little sympathy from ‘Da Boyz’ when we have to search for a toilet every hour in the middle of the mountains. There are only so many Hot Chocolates even they can drink! And why does the ladies room always seems to be located in the deepest, darkest cavern of the mountain when walking in ski boots for any length of time is an extra torture sent down by God when periods, childbirth and men weren’t enough, to test the inner strength of womenkind?


Added to which ‘Da Boyz’ have already consumed all the Neurofen for pathetic and whimsical boy ailments such as muscle strain and mountain flu, (the symptoms of which seem very similar to that of the common après-ski hangover, although they deny it profusely).


Cabin Fever certainly becomes all the more apparent in a real cabin with the combination of hormonal teenagers, ADHD, no Foxtel, tired limbs, those kids next door (who must live permanently on sugar) and your company.


So frankly, I wish you’d stayed at home. You know that this is one of those special weeks in the year, like Christmas and our birthdays, which the old man and I set aside for some catch-up intimacy, when we leave the excuses of hair washing, stress and tiredness at home. So I guess I should thank you for that ‘out’ you provided me with, although if truth be told I was quite excited at the prospect of having a laugh in the sack at my husband’s expense this year, in spite of the fear of Kurt wandering in at every opportunity and shouting ‘FUCKING GROSS’.


Remind me of your exact purpose in my life these days again, other than to fuck over my holidays?


Yours truly,



Letter Of Resignation To The Women’s Menstruation Club.

Photo courtesy of urszulakk at
Photo courtesy of urszulakk at

For the attention of the Director, The Women’s Menstruation Club

Dear Sir/Madam,

It is with no regret that I wish to inform you of my resignation from The Women’s Menstruation Club.

As you are no doubt aware, I have been an active member of the club for the past thirty-four years, and believe that I have taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded to me in that time. However, as I no longer have need of the facilities, I feel it is time to withdraw my membership and cancel your services.

When I first joined the club at the age of fourteen, (at your sister club in Tenerife; on holiday with my father!) I was initially quite naive regarding the services you offered, but having been influenced by other club members I was nevertheless keen to experience the opportunities firsthand. Since that time, I believe that I have taken those opportunities and run with them.

However, upon reaching my forties, I have come to realise that as I am using your facilities less and less, it is probably time to cancel my membership.

I am finding the costs of membership quite prohibitive these days, especially when I am gaining absolutely no tangible benefit from your services. Added to which, I have recently heard of a new women’s club in the area, called The Menopause Club, which may suit my needs better.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some benefits to my membership and I do not look back on my time at the club with only regret.

I am aware that there are a lot of women who never get the chance to belong to such a high profile club or use the facilities and for that I am eternally grateful. When I first joined the club, your facilities even provided me with the perfect excuse for a break on occasion, a means of avoiding other activities, and more recently, my now irregular visits to the club have provided me with the welcome excuse of not always having to exercise with my husband.

I would also like to add that I did take full advantage of those two special offers you made to me, and although often on occasion, they don’t always seem quite so ‘special’ any more, on the whole they have been a worthwhile investment.

But as you will probably understand, paying for services that are no longer required can cause a certain amount of stress. My husband believes that the responsibility of my membership at the club has recently begun to put pressure on me, and may in fact be the root cause of a very subtle change in my humour these days. Especially since my visits have become more erratic and there is less continuity or community involvement.

I will miss the club for other reasons, of course. Being a member has been a big part of my life and cancelling my membership will herald the next phase; and who knows what opportunities that will bring.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Louisa Simmonds

Panties/Containers for Tampons courtesy of urszulakk at