Bloody Bitches: Soak It Up

medieval-couple-in-garden 

“Will you walk with me, milady?”

He is gallant, cultured, handsome in his gentleman’s velvet jacket, and slashed silk breeches.

From your position on the garden bench, you glance at him coyly. Beneath your sun bonnet, you bat your lashes alluringly.

His chest (or whatever) swells with ardor.

“Aye. But only to the rose arbor,” you agree, with stipulation. Eagerness in a noblewoman is unbecoming.

“You honor me, milady.” He bows, extends a muscular arm for you to take.

You rise, fluff your gown. You wish madly for his attention to be momentarily diverted so that you may pinch your cheeks surreptitiously. The sun is setting, but there is a lantern at the rose arbor. You want to be pink and pretty in the glow of its flame.

The walk begins with covert glances, shy smiles. This progresses into lovely conversation centered upon your grace and beauty. As you warm enough to grasp his arm more intimately, a sudden tug on yours startles you.

“What ever…?” You turn to find yourself facing one of your maids.

“Please forgive my bold intrusion, your ladyship,” she begs. “But I must speak with thee.”

‘Dare thee intrude…?”

“Your ladyship, please!” Your maid grasps your arm. “I beseech thee! The matter is urgent!”

Indignation flares your nostrils. This peasant! Who on the Lord’s green earth does she believe herself to be? Insinuating herself..pulling at you this way – the audacity!

“Unhand me, maid!” you hiss through clenched teeth. “Have you taken leave of your senses?”

“Er…milady. If I may…” Your gentleman removes his waistcoat, ties the dangling arms about your waist.

You blanche.

Your cheeks flame wildfire.

Grasping your skirts into trembling fists, you run.

Like the wind.

Because you know there is only one reason a gentleman would do such a thing. A supremely embarrassing, humiliating, scourge-of-the-earth reason.

red-forest 

You, milady, have morphed into a bloody bitch.

And you are leaving a scarlet trail of evidence of your affliction.

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Sex With Bloody Bitches

 medieval-couple-in-bedYour husband wants progeny – males, of course – to carry forth his name. 

He also wants sex.

But alas, you bleed.

No sex for you!

 

Okay. 

But let’s say you’re not married. 

You’re a damsel in sexual distress. You show no sign of pregnancy but you have not bled for months, and need relief in the worst way. 

And so, your gallant lover stands beside your bed. As he gazes down upon your nakedness, his medieval erection rises and slumps in unison with the expressions on his face. The poor dear is torn…

Arousal…repulsion…sworn duty…

Huh?

Repulsion? Are you that hideous?

And what’s this ‘sworn duty’ crap?

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Holy Bloody Bitches

medieval-nunYou are a woman of God.

In fact, you are His wife.

Other women may choose to endure bloody bitchdom, but not you.

You have decided upon a cleaner life, a life in which you are no longer ostracized monthly, a life in which blood no longer stains your person, your reputation, your very existence.

You have chosen to become a nun.

You have made this momentous decision for many reasons, not the least of which being the escape it offers from your monthly plague…

Many medieval women became nuns for relief from the emotional burden of menses. The belief system of menstruation at the time was that it was not a natural bodily process, but instead something “much more sinister.”

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Bloated Bloody Bitches: Bleed ‘Em Out

It’s not bad enough that you are bleeding.

You must now be bled as well.

The bloating from your bleeding must be blotted out by being bled.

bleeding-medieval-woman

In medieval attempts to “cure” the swelling which accompanied menstruation, doctors would slice the ankles of bleeding women to “release” built-up “poisonous humours” which they believed caused bloating.

Doctors would then apply “repellant” in the form of cold plasters, to prevent further swelling from occurring.

They also used suppositories to flush out “poisonous menstrual matter.

medieval-suppository

Bleeding and cramping and pooping. Oh, my!

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Bloody Bitches: Pliny’s Pros & Other Cons

If a woman has this flow and looks into a mirror during this time, the mirror becomes like a bloody cloud.”

— De Secretis Mulierum (On the Secrets of Women) – circa 1300

mirror-image-of-bloody-woman

It wasn’t bad enough that men could not stand to look at bloody bitches; they made sure women would not want to look at themselves.

This, it turns out, is not so medieval.

A 1927 Johnson & Johnson “silent purchase coupon” for a box of Modess sanitary napkins promised, “This item may be obtained in a crowded store without embarrassment or discussion.”

silent-purchase-coupon

Though constant childbirth and breastfeeding meant that medieval women did not menstruate often, when they did, they were shunned.  Who would want to be in the orbit of a bleeding woman who could, with a glance,  “poison the eyes of children lying in their cradles?”

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Bloody Bitches: She-Midas

medieval-woman-alone

Your husband will not touch you.

He will not even come near you.

He barely looks at you at all.

Who can blame him?

You are the scourge of mankind right now, the cause of deep discomfiture and confusion to men.

In your present state, you are beyond the aid of medicine – doctors cannot heal your illness. 

You are poisonous to plant life – farmers struggle to save crops that have come into contact with you. 

Your very nearness to metal turns it to rust – blacksmiths, coppersmiths, gilders & goldsmiths have reason to secretly fear and openly bar you from their shops.

In your present state, no man can tolerate the emotional turmoil you create within their superior psyche.

You, milady, are a bloody woman.

And you are bleeding from a place that men cannot fully control.

unclothed-medieval-woman-surrounded-by-men

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