Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life's Little PMS Moments

Gave wrong answer to
"Does this make me look fat?"
Read the next two sentences in the voice of Andy Rooney. I don't know why, but it's just more fun.

I've read countless romance novels over the years, but I don't remember ever reading one that featured a PMS moment.  Why is that?

There are plenty of delicate mentions of women's "courses" in romantic fiction, but never any discussion of those dicey, emotionally fraught days leading up to her "monthlies".  Granted, there isn't much romantic about PMS, but the symptoms could provide some funny or suspenseful plot devices.

Jim Carrey's classic SNL skit about a PMS Hotline 
illustrates this.  It's one of my all-time favorites.
Here's a video link:

Apparently PMS is also a fact of life for insects. I snapped this shot of a Praying Mantis casually dismembering her paramour on my back porch last summer.

The Mantis Method of ending affairs is highly efficient.  One brief postcoital picnic, and you're done.  No need to change the locks or decide who gets custody of mutual friends. No restraining orders. I had long ago learned that this was the Mantis Way, but it was nevertheless unsettling to witness the chow-down firsthand. I wonder when he first realized there would be no spooning... and was his last thought, "God, she was worth it!"  

(I hope so; that would be so romantic!)

 Suggested breast augmentation surgery.
Note: The hammer has not changed in 300 years.
For the sake of realism, I think it's high time PMS was introduced into scenes at Almack's.  
“Lord Pifflewaithe, I thought I made myself abundantly clear.  I do not prefer cloves in my ratafia!”  She mutters behind her fan, "Sodding nodcock!” Then she "accidentally" drenches his Hessians with the offending beverage...  

In Hyde Park our wild-eyed heroine launches herself from a galloping curricle, dives into the duke's landau, and bitch-slaps a saucy minx for giving her the cut direct at a ball...

Other possible scenes... A courtesan, vexed upon receiving her conge via footman (sans de rigueur separation baubles), slips her moorings and rampages through White's, tearing sconces off the walls...  

A premenstrual costermonger goes berserk and fatally brains our villain (a former Bow Street Runner addled by syphilis-induced dementia) 
with a Golden Delicious.  

Marsha on the day in question.  (Just kidding!)
Think about it.  That's all I'm saying.

The trick would be to adapt modern examples to the past.  I offer a true story from my actual life.  I arrived at work one morning to find my boss Marsha staring down at the commuter lot from our third floor office window.  Marsha looked for all the world as if she wished she had a high-powered rifle. As you can imagine, I was frightened.  I tried to slip quietly into my cubicle, but I was 18 months pregnant, and therefore quite ungainly. My outie bellybutton upended a rolodex. 

Her head snapped around and she pierced me with the eyes of a chupacabra.  “Did you ever wake up and wish you had a mouse to kill?” she asked without the slightest trace of humor.  I've never forgotten that question.  Those thirteen little words summed up her feelings in a way every woman on earth could relate to.

I think it would be easiest for writers of sci-fi and paranormal fantasy romance to work PMS into their plot lines. Buff, butt-kicking alpha heroines could use it to their advantage in obvious ways. I don't think goddesses or vampires would suffer from PMS.  Well, maybe Hera.  I'm on the fence with faeries, sprites, and mermaids.  Trolls, ogres, witches, are a no-brainer. Now, she-werewolves... oh my!  Werewolf PMS would be an awesome thing to behold!

Well, those are all my thoughts on the subject of historical PMS.  This is my very first blog ever, with the notable exception of one very long-winded, ill-considered, extremely rabid political rant about four years ago. My phone is probably still being tapped and I may be on a no-fly list.  (Come to think of it, I may have been PMSing at the time).

I have been reading other author blogs, and it seems to be the thing to do to ask questions to encourage feedback.  So here are my questions:
1) Did you enjoy my blog?
2) Do you fear for my sanity?
3) Would you like to share an amusing PMS story?  If so, please do.
4) My use of parenthetical observations annoys my best friend Kathy.  Does it annoy you?

DISCLAIMER:  I would just like to say at this point that I'm a card-carrying feminist. I'm not being disloyal, nor is it my intention to perpetuate negative sexist stereotypes; I just have a sense of humor.

Judith With Head of Holofernes, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Circa 1500s
Jael & Sisera (Lady with Hammer), Gregoria Lazzarini, Circa 1700s, posted on wikipedia
Praying Mantis Photo, Courtesy My Hydrangea Bush, Circa Last Summer
Chupacabra Photo (Or Possibly Just an Ugly Dog), Date Unknown, Courtesy www.frogcitycheese.com

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The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links: