Week Three

This was a bad weekend for me. I locked myself in the house and ate cookies and popsicles, only coming out to see the light of day when I needed more cookies. The bad thing was that there were a lot of parties and get-togethers celebrating the end of the school year. But I couldn’t bring myself to be around people and have to get dressed and smile and you know…be a healthy, interacting person. No…I’m wasn’t depressed. I just had a bad case of Week Three.

For those of you wondering what I mean by Week Three, go to the bathroom cabinet and find that little pack of pills. If there are just a few colored pills followed by a whole row of whites left in the pack, you are right smack dab in the middle of it. Week Three is the peak of PMS, days 15 thru 20 of the cycle. It’s real. It’s serious. It’s really serious.

I used to be one of those women in denial. I didn’t have PMS. I’m always moody. That’s just my personality. PMS was for punks. I used to laugh and point and make the looping finger crazy sign at people with so-called PMS because of their inability to control their emotions and what I thought was just plain weakness. That all stopped when I found myself in the middle of Wal-Mart bawling, with real tears, chest heaves and everything, because they did not have the right brand of ceiling texture for my living room. If you had seen me with my face scrunched up, moaning in the middle of the store, you would have thought that my whole house would have to be bulldozed and built from scratch if I did not have this specific brand. Unbelievable? Yes, but undeniable and caught on tape. That day converted me into a believer and a Week Three advocate. If you hang around me long enough, you will be a believer too.

In studies conducted during my advocacy I have found that all women have a Week Three story. I know a woman who stopped talking to her friend over a cheeseburger during Week Three. I also know a woman (read:melodi) who angrily threw everything in her closet on the floor because she couldn’t find what she was looking for and then started crying because the floor was so messy. The floor was a metaphor for her life, she explained as she cried in desperation, “I’m just so saaaadd.” It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Marriages and relationships have been destroyed because of chronic Week Three. Long friendships have been tested and tried during Week Three. My best friend stopped talking to me for two months in high school for no apparent reason and then started talking to me again like nothing happened. She came this close to getting crossed off the friend list. An extreme case, but still caused by Week Three.

In a particularly dazzling display of week-three-nastiness that involved me telling a waitress to split the check, paying for my portion and walking out of a restaurant, my friend-guy, and now boyfriend, asked me, “Why can’t you act right?” I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.” Because I really don’t know why I can’t act right. I meekly offered Week Three as an explanation, but he wasn’t buying it. In order to avoid future situations like these, I’m suggesting that women use this disclaimer:

I am in the middle of Week Three and therefore cannot be held responsible for my attitude. If you still want to be my friend during this time, understand that you do so at the risk of being verbally assaulted, left hanging, stood up, ignored, misunderstood, unfairly accused, and in general, really irritated.

Then people would be able to make informed decisions about whether they want to be in our company instead of suddenly being hit with an unexplainable, what my friend Cassandra termed, “episode.” It’s only fair for all parties involved.

I am also advocating that sororities and other women’s organizations implement a Week Three policy. If two or more women come to the meeting in the middle of Week Three, they should be exempted from attending or the meeting should be postponed because no business can really be transacted that day. Week Three should also be an acceptable excuse for absenteeism from work and other duties as well as aggravated assault. I have found that most Week Three women are non-violent, unless you count the tongue as a weapon, however, some people just have to try us. As long as you state the disclaimer beforehand, kind of like how people with black belts in karate have to warn opponents of their capacity to maim and fatally harm, the charges should be summarily dismissed.

Overall, I’ve found that men have no concept of Week Three. They are usually unsympathetic to what they believe is an overused excuse for bad behavior. Most don’t even know when their wives or girlfriends are in the midst of Week Three. That is why I’m suggesting an assortment of reminders like buttons, doorhangs, bumper stickers, screen savers, mood rings; simple and unobtrusive ways to keep the lines of communication open. I’m even designing one of those ribbon pins so Week Three women can identify their supporters. I’ve already picked out the colors. White with red polka dots.

The best way to raise support for Week Three is for you to become an advocate yourself. If you find yourself with an opportunity to tell someone that you are in the middle of Week Three, please do so. They were probably wondering anyway. It also makes it easier for the next Week Three woman when people become more aware that the verbal thrashing they just received wasn’t personal and could have been avoided if they had heeded the disclaimer and took a little time to pay attention to the white and red screen savers and buttons. So go out and tell everyone: it’s real, it’s serious, it’s really serious. Week Three.

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