Here’s the thing about being in an irritable mood at work: Men get to be grumpy. Women only get to be PMSing bitches.
Nobody says to a man who’s in a bad mood, “Hey Frank, do you have too much testosterone today or something?”, or assumes nosey things about bodily functions. No. A man in a bad mood has had a hard day, or someone pissed him off. Something external has caused the anger. It’s totally understandable, and it will pass. He’s a good guy who just happens to be in a bad mood.
A woman, on the other hand, is the one that has somehow caused her own bad mood. It must be fluctuating hormones, or she is too sensitive in general. Women aren’t allowed to be angry because they had a bad day or someone pissed them off, without charges of being weak or it being “that time of the month”. And as for being a good gal who happens to be in a bad mood? No. She is a bitch. Even if the mood passes and she is perfectly cordial for the rest of the day, that label seems to float in the air waiting for another day to land on her once again.
Now, I don’t doubt that everyone knows plenty of women who are grouchy most of the time, and other women who are mostly grouchy or sensitive during one particularly hormonal week every month. But for each of these women, there are also plenty of women that are pretty much on an even keel all the time. These women happen to be drugged – kidding. What I’m getting at is the unfair painting of every woman in a bad mood as an irrational screeching harpy on her period. Men sometimes tease women about this “to be funny”, but in some humor, there is a fair element of unspoken truths being shared under the guise of humor.
When placed in a situation where a man is “teasing” a woman about being angry because she is PMSing, the woman is in a lose-lose position. If she laughs and goes along with the joke, she is reinforcing the pattern of charging women with being out of control of their emotions, and that the woman laughs because she is accepting that premise. If, however, she replies with anything negative about the “joke”, it is taken as Exhibit A in the case of Rational Men v. All Them Thar PMSing Womenfolk. It’s exasperating. And it makes me cranky. And no, I’m not on my period, smartass.