Blume for Boys
January 13, 2019 | New York, NY
My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Pialto, found me troublesome.
While the rest of class learned about the formation of sedimentary rocks, I spent all day reading books under my desk. I read Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Blubber and Fudge-a-Mania. Preparing for new adventures – like puberty and breasts and following my imagination – felt way more important than dirt.
Ms. Pialto disagreed. “Soné, put the book away,” she’d say, with a mild eye roll.
And so I slouched further in my seat, out of sight. I soon begged my mother to let me wear my hair down, thinking, A) It’d make me prettier, and B) It’d help me hide my books. (Style always = utilization.)
But this bookish madness had a purpose. All I wanted was to spend time with Judy Blume. Judy understood me. She was always one step ahead. She had all the answers.
In the years since, neither of us, it seems, has changed. Blume celebrated her 80th birthday last year and to wrap up 2018, she wrote a new book: Periodically Pissed.
But wait. This one’s for men.
It started with the words of Blume fan, singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer. “Women are currently scaring the bejesus out of people by doing something very non-dramatic and mundane: Telling It Like It is,” Palmer said last February.
New experiences are scary. They make us sweaty, nervous, unsure of what’s going to happen next. Everyone’s just too gosh darn exasperated with men lately. Maybe there are too many expectations, too many landmines, too many women saying, This isn’t the 60s anymore. We demand decency.
New experiences are scary. They make us sweaty, nervous, unsure of what’s going to happen next. Everyone’s just too gosh darn exasperated with men lately.
Who better than Judy Blume to gently guide the way for an entire gender?
It’s 2019 and women are taking ownership, not just over their bodies, but things like Congress too. And in a time brimming with uncertainty, Judy’s here to share some secrets into the unknown.
“My books have always been about the universal questions of adulthood and one question men always seem to have is: ‘Is she pissed or is she on her period?’” Blume said, sipping an iced tea on the porch of her Key West home, “It’s been a while since I wrote a banned book. It’s nice to live on the edge.”
My hero has done it again. She’s written another coming-of-age bible.
Periodically Pissed is a travel-sized guide. Chapters are short, with illustrations here and there, to help men better interact with women in the workplace, romantic relationships, and regular activities like grocery shopping. Emotions are separated by plastic tabs so that one can easily locate a Blumian explanation for them. See a woman crying? Flip to the Blue Tab. Screaming? That’s the Scarlet section. Is she no longer speaking to you? Go to Ivory.
It’s small but this paperback is chock-full of everyday scenarios that befuddle men. Judy’s voice is warm and cheerful throughout, like friendly gossip over blueberry muffins on a Saturday morning.
Oh, she marched out of that meeting when it ran 45 minutes over? Well, that’s understandable. And her voice shook when she stood up for that great idea no one liked? Mhmm. She ordered two baskets of fries at happy hour now, did she? Atrocious, but then again, all humans get hungry. And she sobbed uncontrollably at that video of a baby bonobo kissing a toddler? Okay, fine, that one’s probably her period.
Most explanations offer the same solution: “Treat her like a peer, anyway.”
“My books have always been about the universal questions of adulthood and one question men always seem to have is: ‘Is she pissed or is she on her period?’”
“This book, just like my past books, is an acknowledgement. It’s a way of saying, ‘I’m here. I understand. Life’s hard and all these women be so crazy,’” she mused.
And so, Periodically Pissed is for the everyman. It’s for the twenty-something with 2 female roommates, the men of Wall Street, the new CEO of that media corporation, the politicians in meetings with the Fab Four, or the respectful co-worker with a crush. It’s for highlighting and dog-earing and sharing over group texts.
It’s a secret asset detailing the world’s worst kept secret:
“Men don’t seem to have their s*** together. But a good book can help guide the way,” she said, and then paused, with a twinkle in her eye. “Then again, what do I know?”
Periodically Pissed is available at all stores with books. Get your copy today!