Periods. A great subject for songs, jokes and essays (a must-read: If Men Could Menstruate by Gloria Steinem). But menstruation also lends itself to hilarious quotes. Like these five legendary sayings.
‘I just don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.’
It’s a classic one-liner and, of course, it was the slogan of Period! Magazine for several years. Many people have said it, but it sounds best when coming from South Park’s Mr. Garrison’s mouth. Mr. Garrison, the sad third-grade teacher of South Park Elementary school, isn’t the only one who doesn’t trust anything that is still alive after bleeding five days in a row. Keith (Michael Rooker) in Keys To Tulsa (1996) had the same idea. Chad (Aaron Eckhart) in In The Company Of Men (1997) allowed two days more; he suggested ‘Never trust anything that can bleed for a week and not die.’ The origin of this quote is unknown. Although there are cultures that regard this female ability to bleed without getting killed as something enviable, like super-powers, most Western cultures consider it very suspicious.
‘She’s so cold. I bet she has her period in cubes.’
It’s one of the many absolutely brilliant one-liners from Absolutely Fabulous, the British comedy show starring Jennifer Saunders (left) and Joanna Lumley. Saunders, who plays Edina Monsoon, wrote the scene. This quote was considered so funny, it made it into The Mammoth Book Of New Comic Quotes which contains ‘over 3,500 modern gems of wit and wisdom from TV, films and stand-up’. There, it was written as ‘She’s so cold, sweetie, I’ll just bet she has her period in cubes.’ It can be found in the ‘periods’ category, a bit below the equally hilarious quote ‘I have no problem with buying tampons. I am a fairly modern man. But apparently they’re not a ‘proper’ present’ by comedian Jimmy Carr.
‘Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the only time of the month when I can be myself.’
Originally said by the American comedian, actress and author Roseanne Barr, apparently many women can relate to these words. When researchers in 2010 analysed 2,211 English-language tweets that referenced menstruation (‘time of the month’), this was the second most popular re-tweet they found. Despite being a popular subject for jokes, PMS isn’t actually that funny, with symptoms that range from headaches to tummy pain and from crying spells to depression. Even worse, the severe form of PMS: PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
‘Women are feminine and men are male. According to gynaecologists women are menstruating about every month, while men, because they are men, do not menstruate every month’.
No shit Sherlock! Think this is a biology test answer from a fifth-grader? Wrong, it’s an actual quote from the Green Book, part 3, chapter Women. This book was written by the former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi who has probably never heard of gender-neutral menstruating. In the past there have been men who came up with more creative reasons why women menstruate and men don’t. Like Aristotle (who thought women menstruated because they couldn’t heat up the food they ate and change it into semen like men could) and Hippocrates (who thought men could sweat out moisture through hard labour and women couldn’t, so menstruation was a way of getting rid of excess moisture).
‘The wine is sour, flowers wilt, seeds dry out, bee colonies die, even the mirror becomes dull and ivory loses its gloss’.
Nope, this isn’t a line from The Day After Tomorrow or I Am Legend. What may sound like a scene of an apocalyptic movie, is actually the impact of menstrual blood. At least, if you’d believe amateur scientist Pliny the Elder who wrote this quote in his work Naturalis Historia (The Natural History), in the 1st century AD. Pliny considered menstrual blood to be very dangerous stuff indeed. There are also people who believe in the positive powers of menstrual blood, like the Cherokee (who consider it a source of feminine strength with the power to destroy enemies) and female Aboriginal healers (who use it to treat wounds and bruises).