On Friday I went to happy hour. It was like having lunch, only with alcohol, which means the conversation was even more coarse.
So of course it was a menstruation conversation.
I thought I might shock young Miss "I Don't Know What a Brassiere Is" by telling her stories of menstruation back in the day.
I mock-whispered, "Back when I was in school, if you didn't want to participate in gym that day, you just had to tell the gym teacher you were having your period and you got to sit out."
She said, "Well, yeah, sure, but I loved P.E. so I never used that excuse."
"Wait," I said, "You mean you even know about it? It still comes up?"
"Oh yes," added a woman who might be thirty, "I hated P.E.. I used that as an excuse all the time."
"Did you say 'No shower' during roll call? Because that was the code."
She laughed and said, yes that is still the code, and she got out of gym all the time because her male gym teacher was to embarrassed to call her on her perpetual period.
I pulled the shower scam every other week myself, only my gym teachers were all women. None of them called me on it. At some point in the 70s Title IX was put in place and I found myself in co-ed gym classes, but roll call was still segregated so the boys wouldn't know why we were sitting out.
Gary, who finished high school in '72, claims I lie and would never have had a gym class with a boy. He also is skeptical about the shower excuse. "Why couldn't you play sports during your period? No one would make up such a stupid rule."
"No, you could have played the sports but you couldn't shower afterward, so that's why you couldn't play, you'd be all sweaty." I really don't know the logic after that. You'd catch a chill in your delicates? You'd bleed on the shower floor? No place to dispose of your pad? Of course, I'd gone from pads to tampons in eighth grade, but I wasn't telling anyone that.
Here's what I really want to know, since the shower scam evidently still goes on, does it continue into college? Anyone take college P.E.?