haven't seen many willing to talk about this, so I'm going there.
Psychological (yes, we are crazy)
woman comes home from work to find her pubescent daughter sitting on the couch
sobbing uncontrollably. She gently asks, "honey, what's wrong?" and
the daughter, still sobbing, frightened and half yelling, replies "I DON'T
is an old joke. Why does it take 5 women with PMS to change a light bulb? The
answer, "IT JUST DOES, OKAY?"
lot scene from Fried Green Tomatoes
where an older woman loses her ability to "hide her crazy and act like a lady:" http://youtu.be/lx0z9FjxP-Y.
mothers comparing notes of raising boys versus girls noted that with boys, it's
all physical and with girls it's all mental.
find comfort in hearing and seeing these things because it reassures me I'm not
alone in my feelings and I'm somewhat normal in my actions and that maybe my own "moments"
will one day be a source of humor.
never forget the day, as a young adult, I sat in my gynecologist's office
asking the doctor why I couldn't just be calm and stable like a man. He
proceeded to start drawing a graph on the white board showing me the normal
hormone fluctuations of the female body each month from a few years before
puberty until a few years after menopause. I sat there with my mouth hanging
open and finally said, "That's a bad design. No two days of hormone levels
are ever the same. No wonder men think we're crazy. WE ARE … by design!"
This is the starting framework for women. In that framework lies the reason for every "why" question you've ever had about a woman. As you can see, the actual answers to your questions are as random and variable as the day of the month.
Physiological (no, we are not stable)
month, from puberty to menopause, the unaltered female body prepares to make a
baby. This has both psychological and physiological ramifications that can and
do affect her desire and ability to sail.
have been studies that show women perform best during the part of the monthly
cycle when estrogen levels are high. When progesterone levels are high; however, the studies show they perform their worst.
also alter the set-point of the female's body temperature which means it changes the temperature at which her body will begin to attempt to cool or warm itself. When estrogen is high, the body temperature is lower and when progesterone is high, the body temperature is higher, both of which can become very real issues if sailing in extreme temperatures.
For instance, in
the second half of the cycle, a woman's body must reach a higher temperature
before her thermostat compensates and begins to cool itself plus there is also a
decreased ability to dilate the small blood vessels under skin. Hyperthermia
(an increased body temperature) is one of the factors that causes fatigue during exercise and because the
body won't begin to attempt to cool itself, there is an increased risk of
heat-related issues such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As the hormones fluctuate normally,
this can affect everything from the available oxygen in the blood and iron levels to hydration
and electrolytes. Plus, fluctuations in hormones are exacerbated during exercise.
On particularly hot days, race committees will often remind people to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated and quietly keep an eye out for older participants. Everyone should be more aware of women's monthly vulnerabilities and sensitivities to heat.
Here is a graphic showing the body temperature fluctuations throughout the month:
time of the month (bob and weave guys)
those who organize events and want to encourage women to sail, especially on dinghies, you MUST realize that planning for women includes planning for their hormones.
is a time of the month when women have an extra issue to deal with (beyond the
lack of stable hormones) and having a guaranteed bathroom break is essential. To
be somewhat crude, for those of us who still have a monthly visitor, we have
two options: diaper or plug. Leaving either of those unattended for a day of
sailing simply isn't an option without adverse consequences ranging from
embarrassment to hospitalization. Don't try to squeeze in that extra race.
and I were sailing yesterday and he was on race duty. It wasn't an optimal time
for me to be sailing psychologically or physiologically but our race format is
two races, a break and then one final race so I figured I'd be okay. Doug tells
me before the racing begins that the fleet captain has decided to do three
races back to back because the wind is supposed to die. I'm not pleased.
degree temperatures, a bob and weave time of month and my bathroom
break taken away. Quite subconsciously (I hope) I proceeded to foul the fleet
captain on the start line, have an emotional meltdown on the course, then t-boned
the fleet captain on the finish line after I finished and circled around making
my way to the committee boat to give Doug a piece of my mind (we had just had a
failed experiment with two way-radios) and by the third race I was having waves
nausea and early signs of heat exhaustion and had to call out for assistance. Lovely.
I went from irritable and impatient to batshit crazy to sick and
Oh joy ... next month I get to do it again ... poor Doug.