Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Sneaky. Conniving. Mischievous. Period.

'What happened to the pretty dress????'...was the question in the comment section asked by a curious and alert reader. I shall endeavor to answer:

The dress went the way of all other inanimate objects that fall prey to my sneaky, conniving, mischievous: Period.

No matter how many men I shall meet in this lifetime, (and I blush to say I am in the tens of thousands at this point in time), and no matter how well I think I understand that species, there are of course, things about being a man that I could never know, no matter how powerful my imaginative capabilities.

One is what it is like to have a penis.
And the second follows naturally, as what it is like to be driven by Testosterone.

Along this same line of thinking, men, some men, may begin to understand many things about women but they will never truly comprehend what it is like to have a vagina.
And what it is like to deal with a Period every month.

(Also, most men may never understand the joy in shoes. But that goes without saying.)

If you are a man reading this, or a woman who knows men fairly well, I must press upon you, before you read this, to admit that your Penis has a life of it’s own. It does. Excuse me.


He does.

He is the Captain of the ship. You, if you are honest with yourself, are merely the First Mate.

Women, for most of their lives, usually are more integrated within their bodies.

(Except for the ‘baby-bearing’ years when our ovaries seem to take on a life of their own.)

The only other time I am segregated from my body, is during my period. My Period, like your Penis, has a personality unique unto itself. No two women’s Periods are alike.

(Aren’t you glad I’m telling you this?)

I’ll give you a character sketch:
Picture that cartoon of the Tasmanian Devil as a female. Got it? We’re halfway there.
Now picture the cartoon of Cinderella, looking lovely even as she is on her knees scouring the kitchen floor, gazing into the distance, pining for her Prince as she sings in a high soprano, "I enjoy being a girl."

For two weeks of every month, that sweet feminine Cinderella lives inside my abdomen, occasionally bursting into song, making me subtly aware of her presence, insuring every man I meet is a possible suitor.

For the other two weeks, Cinderella goes through a not so quiet transformation, during which time she is slowly becoming the Tasmanian Devil locked in a cage, testing the bars, biting her way out.

By this point in my life, I’m used to it. But my Tasmanian Devil is just that, a Devilish creature. It likes to play with me. It enjoys unpredictability. It howls with glee as it watches me scramble in public and pay huge sums of money to reimburse anyone who happens to own anything I’ve sat on when It decides to make itself known.

It also adores anything white.

Throughout my lifetime, as a ‘woman’, I have learned to avoid wearing anything white (or similarly light colored) on weeks close to the approximate arrival time. As well as avoiding sitting or laying on anything that doesn’t belong to me that is light in color.
Try that for a week.
Difficult but unavoidable as I am not a fool and have learned from the past.

The Past:

Terribly poor. Attending college full-time, working as a room-service waiter at night. Living at the YMCA. Occasionally house-sitting for more affluent friends. A nice break from the Y.

Fall asleep on this friend’s futon, on an ordinary night, nowhere near in timing to the arrival of my period. Awake at 3 am to the roar of something familiar but not welcome. Hands immediately fly knowingly to my naked crotch where, oh no but yes, it is too too wet.

Turn the light on to discover that indeed, there is a hemorrhage. No tampons in the house. It is a male’s apartment. No tampons in my purse. Not yet near time. Thank god it’s New York—the city that supposedly never sleeps.

Bleed my way to the nearest open Duane Reade. Bleed my way home as they will not permit me to use their facilities.

And then, oh yikes, the futon.

Finish the night hours on my knees with a bleach cleanser and a Brillo Pad. No use. One can toss out sheets but there is no salvaging an entire futon.

Apologize. Apologize. Apologize. Then graciously pay my friend $300.00 for a replacement futon.

($300.00 is my monthly salary.)

We walk back together to the Y, my Period and I. I, crying. My Period, laughing the whole way.

A city bus.

The sauna heat of summer. No air. Sweat beads rolling into the cleavage of my cotton white dress. No Panties. Too hot. Feel a pearl of wetness squeeze between my lower lips. Swallow hard and non-chalantly dip my hand under my butt to feel the skirt. Wet.

Wet and far, far away from home.

Ring the bus bell. Exit and again search desperately for the nearest Duane Reade as my hand holds the spot on my skirt like a Princess ready to curtsy. Buy the tampons and whisper to the counter girl my need to use the employee rest room. No dice. She has rules to follow.

Insane, I storm to the back of the store, bang my way through the two gray doors where customers are not allowed and lock myself in the mop closet for the insertion. Exiting they threaten to arrest me. I dare them.

Actually, I don’t dare them. The Tasmanian Devil does. They back off.

Spend $35.00 on a taxi to get back home. Miss my interview.

Me? Not happy. My Period? Roaring like a Hyena.

Oslo, Norway.

Survive the airport, the eight-hour flight in coach, the search after I arrive making it all the way to my host’s apartment where I drop into a gorgeous white fluffy chair and listen to broken conversation as I fight off jet lag.

I don’t even feel it I’m so tired and numb.

Rise to shower and change for dinner when, for a moment, I glance down and there it is.

$450.00 American dollars to replace the chair.

So much for saving money by staying with friends.

My period laughs in Norwegian.

Last story because you get the idea by now.

Still working for an agency. Madame with high-enthusiasm and low-brain-cells. On the plane, tickets in hand to meet a client I’ve never met before for an ‘overnight’ in Aspen, Colorado. Need to change planes in Denver.

Denver. Do you know the Denver Airport? Railway cars to transport travelers from one gate to another.

Wearing my pretty light pink Vivian Westwood mini-skirt and matching hour-glass cut suit jacket, (as requested by the client who prefers I look demure and somewhat business-like.)It’s May—warm in New York, warm in Aspen. So I’m told.

With my overnight bag rolling behind me, I long-distance sprint, in my platform pink sandals across the endless maze they call an airport, past restaurants and shops, to catch the train to my connection. Step aboard the tram and feel the heat between my legs. The only blessing is I’m not sitting, so I have a chance.

Quick stop at the Hudson News. They have everything. Everything. Aspirin. Diarrhea pills. Magazines. Popcorn. Even Suppositories. (Suppositories? For goodness sake. Can’t even begin to mull that one…) But no, yes you guessed it, no tampons.

No tampons in the entire of the enormous Denver airport? Who the heck do they think travels? Only men? Or only women with no vaginas?

Beg at United, my connection counter, to the 'Unfriendly Skies' Attendant. Not only does she show no mercy but informs me my ticket will not take me to Aspen. It has been incorrectly booked.

Run to every ticket counter where there is an attendant. Finally find a tampon.


Unsure it will take me to Aspen but will have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

Pay-phone. Call Madame informing her of the mistake. Wait by the phone as she calls her travel agent. About to miss the flight. Need to go to the main building to get the ticket re-booked at my own expense with a promise for re-imbursement.

Run to the train. Cramps like fat fist gripping my tummy. Buckles on my shoes biting at my ankles. Plead for a new ticket-FAST! The counters are only peopled by tortoises. Miss the flight. Call the client, telling him of the new arrival time. Tampon going fast.

Leave the airport in a taxi for a 20-minute jaunt to the nearest drug store to purchase not just tampons but a sponge as I have work to do when I finally, if ever, arrive. Back to the airport, paying the driver $58.00 (for tampons and a sponge).

Exhale sharply as I sit finally in the fifteen-seat tin-can that will fly me to Aspen. Re-do my make-up on the flight, viewing myself in pieces through the tiny compact mirror I carry.

Then, because it is me on the plane and I will remind you again of my constant companion—Murphy and his Law---it begins to snow. An unusual snow. Not expected. The temperature has suddenly dropped and ‘hurray’ shout the passengers! It’s snowing in Aspen. What luck.

I, however, as you can imagine, am none too pleased as I am wearing a summer suit, no stockings and open-toed sandals, carrying no coat. No tampons. No sponge. No coat. What was I thinking?

Drop my suitcase at the hotel. Hobble, limping into the five-star restaurant. My ankles, among other things, are killing me.

Dinner with the somewhat persnickety, pretentious client. Giggle too much. Drink too much red wine to stop the shivering in my bones. Drink a bit more to dull the ache in my belly and strangely enough, on my ankles.

Back to the hotel where the charade begins. Exhausted. Been up since 5am to catch the flights. It’s now after midnight and time to perform. In too much angst and pain to truly enjoy myself. He is too self-involved to notice anything out of the ordinary. To the bathroom to impale myself with an entire sea creature the size of a baby’s head. Then out to the hotel bedroom to be impaled yet again by him. If there is room in there. The lights are dim. I am moaning like a good porno star. He is king of the Universe. Suddenly, he yelps.

"Oh my god! What is that?"

"What? What?"

‘It’s dark. On you. On me! What is that?"

I look, but I know. The sea creature has failed me.
Both our pelvises, both sets of our thighs are covered in my menstrual blood.
He’s on overdrive, scrambling around the room, grabbing towels, running water, screaming things so fast I’m unclear what he’s actually saying.
I’m still perched naked on the bed.

"Don’t panic. Honey. Don’t panic. I just must have gotten my period, that’s all. It’s okay."

"You got what?"

"My period."


"Women get those things." (My goodness. He’s 46 years old. Doesn’t he know that by now?)

"How could this happen?!"

"It just does. Sometimes it comes when you don’t expect it.""Oh FUCK! Fuck! Now I’ve got AIDS or something right!? FUCK!"

"Honey, please. Calm down. I don’t have AIDS. Just because there’s blood doesn’t mean there’s AIDS."

"You’re a Prostitute. You’re high-risk. That’s what they say!"


"I’m calling Bessy." He declares. (Bessy is the Madame.)

"At two in the morning? Honey? What can she do?"

"I’m not paying for this."

Sigh. I’m too worn out.

"I’m telling you, I’m not paying for this."

"I heard you." I say as I make my way past him to the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. I remove the useless sponge, slip a tampon inside and ahhh…much more comfortable. The cramps lessen. Wash my coochie. Wash my legs. Wash my face. Notice the throbbing again coming from my ankles. Look. Bloody. Bloody and scabby from the long sprints back and forth through the Denver Airport. I dress entirely, pick up my purse and head back into the room.

He is sitting on the edge of the bed like the statue of ‘The Thinker’, hand in head, elbow on knee.

Walking past him, I pull out the bar to my suitcase and tip it to engage the wheels.
It’s 2:30 am and 40 degrees in Aspen with fresh fallen snow on the ground. My return flight is not until 9am. I roll over to him, running my hand over the sparse hair on his head. He shrugs away my touch. Leaning down to his ear, I whisper with a light kiss,

"Honey, you have nothing to worry about. I don’t have AIDS."

I wait.

No movement from the male statue.

"Honey?" One more try. It’s cold outside and I want to be paid.

"Honey? Why don’t you let me take care of you in another way? I can make you happy in other ways too you know?"


"Do you want to just sleep and then in the morning we’ll wake up early and I can take care of you then? With my mouth? Or my hands?"

No reply.

"Jeff. You need to pay me either way. Wouldn’t my way be better?"

His body bolts upright. His eyes shoot daggers.

Well, harumph.

Know I will have to pay Bessy her share out of my own pocket. For myself, the day is a total financial loss.

Closing the door behind me, I trudge out into the storybook village that is Aspen. It’s gorgeous. The tiny homes covered with a light tousle of snow reflect the street lights as I wander in my light pink suit and my open-toed shoes toward anyplace where I might find a taxi back to the airport.

I am not crying. The night is too beautiful. And I feel free—I can just bleed and bleed and not worry about visitors.

But my period is snickering all the way.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger Saturngirl said...

I wanted to take a moment to tell how how much I'm enjoying your blog. Today especially, as this has been a terrible period day for me, I at least know, it could have been worse.

At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah Saturn! Does yours have an entity all it's own? Today I worked three calls, all with a giant sponge up my coochie and those icky waves of dizziness...you would think we would be able to harness this by now, no?
We need better squishy drugs!

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Saturngirl said...

What bothers me most is the self imposed imprisonment.

Boy: Hey what's that movie you've been wanting to see?

Me: You mean the one I've really been wanting to see that's playing at the art-house theater that I can't get any of my Philistine friends to go see? That one?

Boy: Umm, yeah. I was thinking we could go tonight.

Me: Yes, and the only reason you're asking if I want to go see it tonight is because you know I just started my period and there's no way I'm getting dressed up to go out to sit in a theater for 2 and a half hours with cramps and risk either missing some of the movie or having a hideous accident.

Boy: Well, you're always saying how I never offer to take you to see movies with subtitles.

Actually, what I had in mind to get a handle on this whole situation is a device called the Period-Vac. A handy little hand held vacuum. Insert when symptoms begin, turn on the switch, and it's all sucked out into a handly little disposable plastic bag. I made that up when I was in 10th grade and I still say it'd make a fortune.


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