I’m in a new relationship with a man and to me he seems quite squeamish. It doesn’t upset me really, I know I’m a very un-squeamish person and remember that not everybody feels as matter of fact as I do.
However, my new beau seems to really dislike it when women talk or joke about bodily fluids and the like. I find that women are often better with dark humour based on the functions, or dysfunctions rather of the human body, than men are. Perhaps because we have to endure a lot more of the crap (pun intended) in life. He often complains about overhearing women talk about bodies, especially their own, and when they’re anything less than perfectly ticking over. I laugh it off, but am inwardly curious nonetheless at how bothered he is by women being, as I see it, themselves.
One day, I talked about being in pain when on my period. ‘Lots of women have period pains’ he said patronisingly. He has said this quite a few times before and this time it irked me more than usual. I thought, I shall describe as best I can the pain I and many other women feel every month, maybe then I won’t be told to be quiet and get on with it.
‘Imagine leg cramp, right? Comes on suddenly and makes you want to cry out and you can’t move properly. Well put that pain in that triangley bit just above your bits where the fat doesn’t grow as much. Okay? That comes every five minutes for 30 seconds when it’s bad. Then imagine a throbbing achy pain in your balls that goes on all the time. Also every now and then you get like a reverse punch, as if there is a hand behind your innards that grabs and suddenly pulls inwards.’
He’s already pulling faces, as I finish with; ‘and blood trickles out of your penis all day at different speeds and you can feel it making your pants soggy.’ I left out the bit about blood clots, I felt that would be overkill. To my surprise he was angry at me for describing my pain so vividly. He wasn’t empathetic or concerned, he was actually irritated that I’d shared that experience with him. He asked why I’d had to tell him like that, that is was so gruesome. His biggest issue wasn’t even the penis blood, it was the description of the pain.
His friends have sent him pictures of gashes and cuts and injuries that I would say ‘gruesome’ was too soft a word to describe them. He has watched fail videos laughing and wincing merrily as expected. Neither of these situations make him angry though, he’s never angry at the friends for the pictures, or the creators for the videos. He’s never annoyed that they put those vivid images in his head.
I have slowly come to the conclusion that his anger seems to come from me and other women ruining his image of perfection. He really likes women, he likes that they are serene, graceful, strong and hold it together in the face of adversity. He doesn’t like the idea that they might be soggy, frazzled, loud, expressive or writhing uncontrollably in agony. That conclusion makes me sad, and I hope to one day be proven wrong, but from what I’ve seen and heard I can’t think of any other reason.