The ambience in Dysfunctionality House has been ‘tetchy’ this week – a direct result of girl hormones creating chaos.
When I was a young girl and packed off to a girls’ boarding school, we all took part in a sport called ‘sychronised menstruating‘ whereby the timing of our periods would synch with time, usually by the end of the first term of each academic year. This meant that we were all fucking miserable for only one week of each month and then had three weeks to pretend to be human again.
Unfortunately, NC and I haven’t synched, most likely due to the erraticism of my peri-menopausal period, which seems to turn up these days when the fuck it likes. So the lucky boys in our house can be privy to our errant mood swings, sometimes for a month in its entirety.
Luckily, NC and I handle PMS really well.
That was a lie.
We both share the uncontrollable sobbing stage of PMS – I actually cried when Charlie Pickering announced he was leaving The Project a few weeks ago and she cries every time they play a Disney song on Smooth FM – as well as the psychotic ‘don’t look at me or dare talk to me full-blown hell’ of the actual period.
It must be like living in the hormonal Hunger Games for the boys, only there’s no wilderness in which to hide.
Although the old man has his places. If he cannot camouflage himself in the darkest recesses of Dysfunctionality house or down at our local pub, he relies on the faithfulness of his invisibility cloak which is his best strategy for avoiding anything he doesn’t want to be involved in.
NC and I have very different personalities; in fact some might say that she was definitely switched at birth we are polar opposites. Mentally, she is a clone of the old man, but luckily for her, she looks like me physically. And people assume that because she looks like me, her temperament will be as calm and easy-going as mine (!). Even I am fooled sometimes by the aloofness she can demonstrate in a crisis, but that is not the case when she is PMSing (because it has become a verb in our house), when a viper lurks under the shell of my blonde, nerdy bombshell of a daughter.
Add to the menstruation equation problems like the after shocks of an argument with NB (Nerd Boy), or under-achieving in her latest ‘rock’ assignment, and she and I dance around each other in the house, territorially, like two Tyrannosaurus Rex, about to rip each others throats out.
Little things set us off. For me it can be the health and safety violations in her bedroom and bathroom; for her, the trigger can be as inane as no Marmite in the pantry.
Everything irritates us during our PMS, but we irritate each other the most.
We have learned to avoid eye contact over our afternoon cup of tea. So we sit there sipping silently, secretly congratulating ourselves on our self-control.
But sometimes a catalyst enters the equation.
Catalysts speed up a chemical reaction where sometimes it would be best left alone. Our catalyst is Kurt.
Kurt’s ADHD makes him impulsive and daring and fearless of consequences. People with ADHD are often those crazy people that take up extreme sports and talking to NC or myself before, after or during our period could be categorised as a very extreme sport.
And when you’re physically hurting, mentally fragile, angry most of the time, completely irrational and at the mercy of a hormone rave, communication is not a priority.
But Kurt doesn’t understand the concepts of personal space or how women tick. It is like living with an overgrown puppy or Tigger – highly energetic, full of life, reactionary and a little bit crazy.
And at the first sign of a reaction from us, when he has either hit a nerve, or detected some resilience or weakness, his game seems to sharpen. Mercilessly. He bounces around us and between us like a big, fat bumble bee looking to sting, winding us up, prodding and baiting us until the steam begins to stream out of our orifices.
Then he goes in for the kill suddenly and there is no going back because the she-devils have been released.
’You’ve got your period, haven’t you?’ he’ll ask.
Suffice it to say, the consequences of his foolhardiness are neither instant nor painless.