Discover more from Everything Is Copy
A Severe Case of Man-struation
Irritable Male Syndrome, Dead Alpacas and Bloody Avocados
I knew it was coming when I was standing in line at the cafeteria in my office building last week, ordering my third breakfast of the day. I sat down and I began wolfing down large spoonfuls of blueberry compote, avoiding eye contact with the shocked barista who had just served me my third slice of polenta cake. I was ravenous.
I went up to the office and scrolled through my Facebook feed (very 2010 of me) when I saw footage of Geronimo the Alpaca being sent to his death and I felt a tight grip in my stomach accompanied by a sensation that can only be described as the feeling of boiling water in the back of my head. The anticipation of tears.
I might be soft, but I’m not that soft. I mean, I turned up at work the day after my grandmother (my favourite person in the world) died and I did not shed a tear. No one even noticed I was having the worst day of my life. So I wasn’t about to cry over Geronimo the alpaca in Edit Suite 2. No ma'am.
But something was up, and I wondered what it was. I started my shift and began reading through the news agenda for the day: stories of death, illness, bereavement, terror threats. I began to take the news personally, which is never ideal, especially when you work in news. That’s when I knew: I had a severe case of man-struation.
Now, people don’t know that, but being hormonal is no longer a female prerogative (sorry ladies, just another thing men have taken away from you). As it turns out, cis men have periods too: a quick and approximative google search for the sake of this week’s newsletter revealed a shocking truth: testosterone swings in men can cause symptoms that mimic those of pre-menstrual syndrome.
When Katy Perry said ‘’You, PMS, like a bitch, I should know”... I felt that. And of course it doesn’t help that I am notoriously iN tOucH wIth My fEeLings so I can tell with a certain degree of accuracy whether the emotions I’m experiencing are ordinary emotions or the result of whatever chemical and/or hormonal struggle is occurring in my system.
Some people may advise meditation, a long walk in the park or a round of positive affirmations. I find that the best way to deal with IMS (Irritable Male Syndrome) is to take a leaf out of the toxic masculinity book and simply ignore said feelings until they’re buried so deep they’re out of your sight. Because they’re not real!
It’s the body equivalent of closing all the tabs in your browser when it all gets a bit too much: switch off your phone, close the blinds and go to sleep. That’s why last Wednesday I went to bed at 19:48 GMT. I woke up in the morning and picked up where I left off, but at least that natural state of unconsciousness afforded me a break from all the testosterone-induced madness.
Another obvious solution would be to just sit down, have a good cry and get it all out, but my lacrimal glands are a bit rusty lately. I do have a regular routine when I need to induce tears and don’t have time to rewatch Grey’s Anatomy season 5: two shots of Jack Daniels and the song Angels by Sarah McLachlan on repeat, but adding alcohol to the mix when you’re feeling like that is not necessarily a wise choice.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t worry, lads, you don’t have to selectively numb your feelings. Sometimes it’s okay to just ignore them altogether. A lesson I wish I’d learned two years ago, before I cried while on a second date watching the Leonard Cohen documentary at Curzon Cinema in Soho.
Bring on the andropause.
IN THE KITCHEN
I’m in my white pasta phase, triggered by a recipe I found in a book called Autumn in Piemonte, about the cuisine of the ever-charming region of Piemonte, in the North-West of the Italy.
I wasn’t able to source the ingredients for that specific recipe (Taglierini with White Truffles) but decided to experiment and came up with a dish that was substantially different from the one described in the book, but endlessly satisfying: fresh spaghetti with pancetta, butter, sage and smoked cheese.
1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2) Dice about 80g of smoked scamorza (or any other melty-ish smoked cheese) and set aside. Cut the sage in thin strips - scissors work fine for this.
3) Chuck 80g of pancetta in a dry, non-stick pan - it should cook in its own fat, but if it’s looking a bit dry feel free to add a drop of extra virgin olive oil. When it’s nice and crispy, set aside.
4)In the same pan, melt two large knobs of butter, add a smashed clove of garlic and a bunch of fresh sage cut in thin strips. Cook until the garlic clove is golden, then get rid of it.
5) Boil 300g of fresh spaghetti (usually found in the fridge section at Tesco, next to the ravioli and tortellini) for about two minutes - transfer them in the pan with the butter and herbs and mix on a medium flame until they’re coated in that silky, sagey, buttery goodness. Add the reserved pancetta, diced cheese, an extra knob of butter and mix. Sprinkle with parmesan, freshly ground pepper and serve. Feeds two hungry people, or one very irritable, hormonal man.
This profile of the inimitable Fran Lebowitz by Hadley Freeman. She’s the wit of the century and she’d probably make fun of me if we met, but I’m okay with that.
This piece in Times Magazine by a journalist documenting his experience with a female stalker on a mission to ruin his life. Brave, compelling and utterly terrifying .
ON THE TELLY
Dipping in and out of this Netflix documentary series about the unexpected, criminal reality behind some of the most popular foods on our tables. Your favourite avocado toast will never taste the same.
This bop by Norwegian singer Dagny. it’s pop, fresh and endearing. Further proof that Scandinavians do, indeed, do it better.
A classic by Francoise Hardy. This song is the perfect description of the feeling of anticipation I get when my favourite season is approaching.