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142 Bottles of Rum

September 5, 2009

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Before I launch into this rant I want to make it clear that I’m not political at all. I love Aristotle, he was right about a lot of things (and god bless his students for preserving his lecture notes, kids today wouldn’t do that for their professors), but he was wrong about me. I’m not a political animal. There’s some stuff I could get pretty obnoxious and loud about if I were so inclined, but I prefer another idea of Aristotle’s, that you should live your life as though the world actually is the way you’d like it to be. As far as I’m concerned, the vast majority of what goes on in my life is no one else’s business and no one else’s problem. I’m a nice quiet respectable citizen. Decent credit, no criminal record, good-looking university transcripts, strictly indoor cat…

But I’m troubled about something. Slightly over half the population of the planet Earth is female. Maybe things are different for other species–I don’t know, I’m not a scientist–but in the case of human beings, it is a fact that all of the shittiest biological shit happens to women. Over the years I’ve compiled a long list of things that I want evolution and/or technology to step in and put some real effort into improving. Some of them are psychological and the rest are gynecological–like, for example, how childbirth is a physical impossibility. (There has to be a better way. There has to. Come on. It’s 2009. Why are we still putting up with this archaic bullshit? I’m just shaking my head over here. Can’t we devise a painless extraction process, possibly involving lasers? If we can put a man on the moon, etc…)

I know there’s nothing you can do to speed evolution along, H-Dogg, but I think you do have the power to help me out with something else. From my wallet’s standpoint, an even bigger concern is this: along with the privilege of, through no fault or desire of my own, embodying the gender that plays the starring role in the human reproduction show, there comes a very very long period (fortuitous pun) of time whose every fourth week is a showcase of horrors and indignities the alleviation/concealment/containment of which requires certain vitally necessary monthly expenditures to the tune of about $12. That sounds negligible, but it’s not: over the course of a year, said expenditures amount to about $144, and considering that this garbage goes on for about 3.5 decades whether the woman wants kids or not, by the time it finally stops for good, its total cost will have added up to over $5000.

CINNAMON COCKS!! Are you fucking kidding me? Maybe my calculator is broken. Let me do the math again with a pen.

No, by the briny beard of Poseidon, I got it right the first time. It’s really over $5000, not counting inflation. That is every shade of ridiculous. And so at this point I have no choice but to dip a toe into political waters and ask my government: Gentlemen, where is my tampon refund?

And Stephen, you can shut the eff up before you even try to compare menstrual expenses to the money guys spend on shaving cream or condoms. Women pay for the feminine equivalents of that shit too, plus many other expensive ablutionary items that men don’t have to use and in some cases probably don’t even know about, and I’m not asking for any of that money back. Shaving in all of its forms is a choice. Contraception is a choice. Both are really good positive choices that contribute to the well-being of all. But they aren’t in the same league as tampon purchase. They’re not even in the same fucking ballpark. We all have to spend a lot of money on stuff we’d rather not have to spend money on. That’s life. I’m a reasonable person. I’m only upset about this one thing that for inescapable biological reasons is a mandatory ongoing and quite arguably medical expense for half of the population when the other half gets to save its $5000 and spend that money on anything it wants. Fuck!

Thanks to pop psychology it is trendy these days to claim that one’s currency is sex or food or quality time. To quote Snoop Dogg: you know I ain’t with that shit, Lieutenant. My currency is currency. This is about money and nothing else. I’m a feminist–every intelligent person is a feminist, that’s a tautology–but this has nothing to do with feminism. It’s about ca$h money dollarzz. It’s all about the Lauriers. Menstruation is a giant rip-off and I feel like I’m the only woman around here who’s sufficiently pissed off about how much liquor she’s missing out on as a result of what it costs to have been born female. Ladies, our periods, which would blow goats even if they came to us free of charge, are costing us about 142 bottles of delicious Lemon Hart each. Look at it in caps lock: ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-TWO BOTTLES OF RUM. Which works out to about twice that many bottles of wine, if you’re more highbrow than I am, or three times that many cases of Grower’s Granny Smith, if you’re one of the two friends of mine who dig that particular brand of bitch beer. It’s unacceptable, damn it. We should be rioting in the streets about this. Actually, I bet I could get the Lemon Hart company to sponsor a protest march…

But now I’m getting off topic. Mr. Harper, if you’d rather not allow me to claim $144 worth of menstrual expenses on my yearly tax return, maybe you’d like to take a page from your beloved Bible and set up designated straw huts for the ladies to hang out in en masse during our Special Times. The only problem with that idea, I mean aside from its general ass-backward stupidity, is that these days most of us have full-time jobs, so if you want to go with the straw hut thing instead of the tax refund thing, every woman in the country is going to need to take a week off every month, and you’re going to have to either pay for that or pass some kind of legislation that will force our companies pay for it. And also there will be all kinds of child care hassles and headaches to deal with. Plus you’re going to have to have the huts built. And they should actually probably be constructed of something other than straw, given Canada’s weather patterns.

I think the refund idea would work out better for everyone, but it’s your call, Steve. You’re the boss, applesauce. I look forward to hearing from you.

Throwin’ it down from C-Town,

Kate Strayer


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