IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY 
BEING A MAN

   I was in a bad mood, and had been for a couple of days. No reason. Business was fine, family was fine, health was fine. I was just in a bad mood and wanted to show the world, starting with my wife.
   It took her three days to notice, but she finally realized my one-word responses and sullen attitude were a bit out of the ordinary.
   "What's the matter?" she asked. "Something wrong?"
   "Everything's fine," I replied, squaring my manly shoulders. "I'm just having my period."
   Like most women, she didn't take kindly to me attacking their territory, but I didn't care. I tell it like it is, and I had no other reason to be in a bad mood.
   "Hey, I've got hormones, too," I said as she tried to wave me off. "And let me tell you---they're raging right now."
   "Men don't get periods," she replied. "I don't know where you get these ideas."
   "Well, I've got news for you, little lady," I huffed. "For your information, I'VE GOT .IMS!!!!"
   She actually looked at me with curiosity, which I took as a victory. "What the hell is IMS?"
   "Irritable Male Syndrome," I confidently answered. "I read all about it in Cosmopolitan."
   I could have predicted her response. "First of all, what are you doing reading Cosmopolitan? And secondly, you're out of your mind."
   "Yes, I am a little out of my mind, but that's because I happen to have IMS right now. I Googled male periods and the Cosmopolitan article about IMS was right in my face. Anyway, I chart these things. You'll be happy to know I don't get it every month. More like every 10 weeks."
   I actually don't chart it, but when you have IMS you don't really care about exaggerating. It just seems like every 10 weeks, so I went with it.
   "What about menopause?" she asked, looking for ways to diffuse my condition. "Shouldn't you be too old to be getting your period?"
   I wasn't deterred. In fact, I was encouraged. "Maybe that explains the hot flashes I've been getting lately. Do you think there's some light at the end of the tunnel for my IMS episodes?"
   She actually patted me on the shoulder. "That's why they call it The Golden Years."
   My mood actually brightened with the news. I could actually see a time, far in the future, when my hormones would no longer fluctuate wildly, and I could blame a bad mood on something that actually happened in my life.
   The discussion ended, though, and we went to bed without her being convinced I was having my period. So when I woke up with night sweats, I let her know.
   "Oh, my God," she said sleepily. "It's just hot in here. Open a window."
   She just didn't get it. Women never do. Irritated, I got up the next morning and went right to the computer and printed out the Cosmopolitan article about Irritable Male Syndrome.
   She skimmed it while eating breakfast, but she couldn't miss the part I circled. It asked the question "What should you do when he's male PMS-ing?"
    She read the answer aloud. "Talk to your man if his moodiness becomes an issue. If you think your guy is on his 'period' or experiencing some IMS, cut him some slack."
   I nodded from across the table as she read. Maybe now that Cosmopolitan had investigated the issue, she would understand what I was going through.
   Or maybe not. Apparently, Cosmopolitan is a step below The New England Journal of Medicine when it comes to diagnosing bodily health.
   "OK, I'll cut you some slack," she said. "I will admit that you are in a bad mood for no reason whatsoever, and that your testosterone level must have dropped considerably."
   I didn't like her tone. "What do you mean by that?" I asked, worried where this was going. "I'm talking about my mood, not my manhood."
   "You said your hormones were off, and I'm agreeing," she answered, tossing the article to the side. "I'm cutting you some slack and being sympathetic. You poor boy. Your testosterone must be at an all time low."
   Smart woman. Very smart woman. My unexplained bad mood went away, never to be discussed again.
 

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