The first day of my period is always a bad time for me. I'm lucky that my periods only last three days, but unlucky that the reason for this is because I spend the first day haemorraging so hard it makes me light-headed. This is coupled with nausea, diarrhoea, and cramps so bad that if I don't take pain-killers I can't begin to function. Even with the pain-killers there are always two to three hours where I feel as if someone is slowly winding my intestines out of my body with a fork.
It has been an extremely long and painful Saturday. It is 5pm. My system now contains two paracetamol, two ibuprofen, half a bottle of red wine and half a spliff and I can feel my body relaxing as the cramps finally start to recede. It's only when you have spent some time in considerable pain that you realise how wonderful it is - how good it feels - to be pain-free.
The combination of the various drugs I have taken and the sudden cessation of the cramps which have kept me awake since 6am are making me sleepy.
I was supposed to be going to a party tonight. A guy I've met at a few gigs invited me. It'll be a big party. There's a lot of people I know going. It'll be fun, but I don't want to go. I want to lie here on my sofa and drink the rest of the wine and watch An American Werewolf in London.
I sleepily think that it's strange how most literary and cinematic werewolves are men. Surely, as myths go, that one – with its central change in the body, uncontrollable and primal, dictated by the full moon - was made for women.
I don't have anything to wear, anyway. And tonight a room full of shouty strangers doesn't appeal.
My phone pings. It's a text from Amanda.
- r u going to Sams tonight
- not feeling too good, I'm staying in.
- dont be a fucking lame asshole
I mutter under my breath and switch on the TV. My phone pings. I'm not looking at it. I'm looking at it.
- get ur ass off ur fucking sofa and help me drink all this tequila
I text, furiously.
- I've got my period and I feel like shit leave me alone bitch
Five hours later I am lying on a beanbag at Sam's house, talking to a guy with dollar signs shaved into the sides of his hair who is just finishing off his degree in computer science. We have been talking for some time about music. He's a nice guy, but not my type. I don't like men with beards. I am debating how to make a graceful exit when he looks at me sideways.
"It's a shame my girlfriend couldn't make it tonight, she's not well. She loves Sam," he says, a little too casually.
Oh God. Awkward. I suddenly want to laugh at the idea of both of us sitting there thinking "I'm enjoying this conversation but how do I let her/him down?"
(There are many people who think a straight man and a straight woman can't be friends. I strongly disagree. And I also think this is a ridiculous and boringly limiting generalisation which doesn't allow for the almost infinite variation possible in human personalities. But I do think two people who could mesh sexually and are trying to maintain a platonic friendship face a number of possible pitfalls. This incident, while actually pretty amusing, is a good example of the kind of misunderstanding I'm talking about)
I'm now faced with a choice of possible responses:
1) I wasn't trying to come on to you anyway.
No. That sounds like I was. And also like I'm psychotic.
2) Ha! I thought you were trying to pull ME! Hilarious!
Really, Alice? That's even a suggestion? No.
3) Look, I don't know why I gave you the wrong impression, but really I don't even ever have sex with people because I have too much baggage left over from my childhood and intimacy terrifies me. However, if I was going to pick someone to take home and be unable to have sex with because it freaks me out, it wouldn't be you.
Oh Christ. I'm too stoned to cope with this kind of social minefield right now.
Finally I come up with 4.
"She's not well? That's a shame - I hope she feels better soon. How do you two know Sam?"