posted by Joe Anaya on December 5th, 2011

Years ago, a man would be roasted on a stick if he suggested a woman’s mood was related to her menstrual cycle. So, even though every man knew something was up, we kept those heretical thoughts to ourselves. Then a scientific study came that described PMS and overnight women reveled in the notion that there was scientific evidence that they couldn’t help their mood swings and chocolate cravings. Now scientists are questioning whether the original study was flawed. But whether or not there is quantitative evidence that “the moon effects the tides,” the idea has stuck, mainly because we all, men and women, have plenty of anecdotal evidence that PMS is real.

Once while I was dating, I went to my girlfriend’s house. As I entered, I found her sitting on the couch, her eyes were red and puffy. Clearly, she had been crying. “Are you okay,” I asked. “Fine.” I was experienced enough to know that it’s never a good sign when a woman just says, “Fine.” Like weaving through a minefield with eggshell shoes, I made my way through the apartment closer to her. She sobs, “Can’t you see, I could use a hug?” “I’m sorry.” I move towards her with arms outstretched. Just as I am about to comfort her with a warm embrace, her hand is in my face, she shudders and admonishes through gritted teeth, “Ooo, don’t touch me.” Thus began my introduction to the mood swings of PMS.

I kept that knowledge in mind through other girlfriends and even my wife. When my son was born, for self-preservation purposes, I spent a couple years secretly noting when my wife’s “Aunt Flo” came to visit. Like Copernicus charting the stars and predicting their movements, I meticulously tracked every cycle and the emotional flotsam and jetsam that came with it. I knew it was worth the work when, while on our way to a party, my wife burst into tears both furious and devastated that I left my reading glasses on the desk at home. I wouldn’t need them at this party or at any other point in the evening, but because I was aware of the date, I simply admitted, “Yes, you’re right, it was selfish of me to leave my glasses at home.” (A decade later, my wife will now admit that “maybe” she over-reacted.) But whether PMS is real or not, I’m convinced I’ve saved myself many escalating arguments by being vigilant to the weeks of the months.

Who did these debunking scientists ask about the moods of the test subjects? You can’t ask the women being studied, women never think they’re being unreasonable, even when they are nothing but unreasonable. If scientists want to know the true state of a woman’s mood, they should ask the significant others whether there is a change. I have a hidden journal with all the empirical data they’d need.

File Under King of the Castle