Sunday, January 29, 2006

The last taboo

Society over the years has grown more and more permissive. I would say that the biggest changes came in the sixties with the “Hippy” generation; what had been frowned upon a decade earlier was now fully acceptable. It was accepted for couples co-habiting outside marriage; it was nothing out of the ordinary for someone to declare he or she was homosexual. Values had changed; some said for the better, some said for the worse. Personally, I don’t think there was more adultery, more homosexuality than there was fifty years ago; it was just that very few either spoke of it or practised it in the open before this time.
These days, just about anything goes and there are very few subjects that are regarded as too personal to mention. One of these subjects is menstruation
Way back in the seventies, it was never mentioned in normal conversation and only whispered about in various euphemisms. Even Iris, with whom I shared a close loving relationship, was a little embarrassed in the early days about telling me when she was “unwell.”
At first, she used that expression as it was the easiest explanation but she once told me that different terms were used depending to whom she was speaking. For instance, among her female workmates, it was “Auntie Rose is in town” or “Having the decorators in.” Other expressions used by women to women were, “On the blob”, “Mother Nature’s revenge” or simply “The time of the month", usually abbreviated to “TOTM.” She once told me that most women, even when married, disliked referring to it to their partners. She said that everybody at work fell about laughing fit to bust when one of the girls said she was “Riding the cotton cowboy!” Another of her friends said that she always told her husband, “You’d better go fishing this weekend!”
I once stumbled on a website that listed about a hundred different euphemisms. Quite frankly, I wondered why anybody had ever bothered to list them! Iris, however, used a term neither I nor anyone else I knew had ever heard of; she called it “Sorry, Graeme!”
I must apologise to readers if some find it rather offensive but I suppose, in the 21st Century, it’s no big thing.

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