A couple of nights ago, Kirsti pointed out to me that I have never once asked her if she was "PMSing". What prompted it was the fact that apparently a friend of hers hears this from her boyfriend quite often. When she told me this, I wasn't startled that I had never said it. (And keep in mind, I have never asked her any variation of that - like the infamous "Are you on the rag"?) I knew that I had never said this. It's not like I make a concentrated effort to not say it; it just never occurs to me.
Want to know why? It's because I'm not a colossal asshole, that's why. That's right; if you're a man and you have asked your significant other (or mother, or sister, or whatever) when she was upset if she was on her period, then you're an asshole. (And by "ask" I mean in the tone that implies that the reason why she's upset is because she is on her period.)
Here's the thing - I am not a woman and I don't have the plumbing or hormone ratio that a woman has. I do not know what it's like to have a period, and I can't ever pretend that I do. What I do relate to is people saying things that are totally clueless. For instance, I can't stand it when people tell me when I'm sweating that I'm sweating. I mean - DUH! I know that I'm sweating! What do you want me to do about it? Maybe it's because I'm flippin' hot!
The "Are you PMSing?" question is somewhere along those lines but far, far worse. Because here's the thing: if that is indeed the case, then all you're doing is pointing out something that she is no doubt not happy about. I can't imagine that there's any woman who enjoys that hormonal shift, and I think it's safe to say that they all view it as more of a burden than anything else. So, you're pointing out something that she already doesn't feel good about , and the very nature of what she's going through is going to make her less tolerant about you and your stupid comments than she usually is.
But what if it isn't her time of the month and then you ask that question? Well, then the problem can very well be that you are even more clueless than you have ever fathomed. That sort of thing reminds me of when my students are being annoying and then I get upset. One of them will say, "Are you in a bad mood?" To which I have to explain that my mood was just fine until he started acting like a jackass. So, maybe the problem is that you're being a jerk, and you're just too stupid to even realize it.
Whether you're right or wrong about that particular analysis of her menstrual cycle, it's a stupid thing to say. And even if the problem lies solely on the fact that she's a tad hormonal, then how about being a little bit sensitive about it. Or better yet, be a MAN and tough it out until she's feeling normal. After all, if she has to go through with bleeding for five days every month, then you can shut your hole for a while and put up with a little abuse. (Not that I think that my wife "abuses" me - but you get my point, I hope.)