We are failing at sex education if dudes are not aware that women are menstruating around them all the time. As a public service to dudes, I must inform the world that if you are in the presence of women between the ages of 13 and 60, someone is probably sloughing off superfluous uterine tissue right now. But apparently this is not common knowledge, because a dude just got so freaked out by the idea that one of his coworkers was having menstrual cramps that he reported her to HR for making him feel “uncomfortable.”
This is a story that needs to be told in detail to capture just how weird it was.
Menstruatin’ in the office, like you do.
Over on Mumsnet, a woman wrote that she was at work and having really terrible menstrual cramps, which medication was not helping. Then she remembered that she had a hot water bottle in her desk, because during the winter the office got very cold and many employees–male and female–used hot water bottles to keep warm.
So she gets the bright idea to fill up her hot water bottle and put it in her lap, because a hot water bottle in the lap often feels really good when a person is having nasty cramps. She’s working at a desk with a computer, so nobody can even really see that she has it there.
Then a coworker she calls “Guy” (love the pseudonym) comes to ask her something, and he comments about the water bottle. People used them during the winter to keep warm, but it’s hot now, so he was like, “You can’t possibly be hot in this weather!” She says no, she’s just using it for pain relief.
Guy stands there looking confused, then abjectly horrified as he realizes she’s talking about “lady pain,” and goes scurrying away.
Then she gets a message from HR saying that Guy just showed up and said she was sick and had to go home.
She said no, and told the HR person that she just had menstrual cramps and was fine.
THEN she gets called in to see the HR director, who tells her never to disclose medical problems at work because it is unprofessional and makes people uncomfortable.
Bewildered, she explains to the HR director that Guy asked her why she had the water bottle, and she just said “pain relief.”
“Yes I understand, if you’re so unwell you need a hot water bottle you should be home, Guy is extremely uncomfortable and it’s unprofessional”
This is pretty ridiculous. If she had the hot water bottle on her shoulder and said she pulled a muscle, nobody would have batted an eye.
Is a period really a medical problem now?
And did that HR director just give her permission to go home every time she has her period? Because that office is about to get a whole lot less crowded if menstruation gets a person out of work.
On top of that, the Mumsnet poster says Guy himself frequently holds face-to-face meetings with clients while lying on his back on the floor because he has a bad back. That’s way more discomfiting and unprofessional than having a hot water bottle under one’s desk when one is not working with clients.
“Other people have standing desks, weird foot rests, all kinds of chairs and special backrests for their back pain and wrist braces for their wrist pain and a hundred other things and I’m not allowed to have a hot water bottle for my menstrual cramps? Am I right to be completely fucking furious?” she asked over on Mumsnet.
She’s not wrong at all. Guy is a great big baby.
(Image: iStockPhoto / bowie15)