If Men could Menstruate....


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What would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and
women could not?

The answer is clear: menstruation would become an enviable,
boast-worthy, masculine event.

Men would brag about how long and how much.

Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood,
with religious ritual and stag parties.

Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp
out monthly discomforts.

Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course,
some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as
John Wayne Tampons, Muhammed Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock
Shields - "For Those Light Bachelor Days," and Robert "Baretta" Blake
Maxi-Pads.)

Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists
would cite menstruation ("MENstruation") as proof that only men could
serve in the army ("you have to give blood to take blood"), occupy
political office ("can women be aggressive without that steadfast
cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priests and ministers ("how
could a woman give her blood for our sins"), or rabbis ("without the
monthly loss of impurities, women remain unclean").

Male radicals, left-wing politicians, and mystics, however, would
insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could
enter their ranks if only she were willing to self-inflict a major
wound every month ("you MUST give blood for the revolution"),
recognize the preeminence of menstrual issues, or subordinate her
selfness to all men in their Cycle of Enlightenment.

Street guys would brag ("I'm a three-pad man") or answer praise from a
buddy ("Man, you are lookin' good") by high-fiving and saying, "Yeah,
man, I'm on the rag!" TV shows would treat the subject at length.
("Happy Days": Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is
still "The Fonz," though he has missed two periods in a row.) So would
newspapers. (SHARK SCARE THREATENS MENSTRUATING MEN. JUDGE CITES
MONTHLY STRESS IN PARDONING RAPIST.) And movies. (Newman and Redford
in "Blood Brothers!")

Men would try to convince women that intercourse was more pleasurable
at "that time of the month." Lesbians would be said to fear blood and
therefore life itself -- though probably only because they needed a
good menstruating man.

Of course, male intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical
arguments. How could a woman master any discipline that demanded a
sense of time, space, mathematics, or measurement, for instance,
without that in-built gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and
planets -- and thus for measuring anything at all? In the rarefied
fields of philosophy and religion, could women compensate for missing
the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic
death-and-resurrection every month?

Liberal males in every field would be kind to women: the fact that
"these people" have no gift for measuring life or connecting the
universe, the liberals would explain, that should be punishment
enough.





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