So, having completely and totally transitioned in the workplace to the point of stealth with a new teaching position, in a new school district, today I was gripped with momentary terror as I realised: how common is it for period discussion to come up at work, and what the fuck do I say about it if asked?
As I wrote about last year, it was actually pretty common for some of my previous coworkers to discuss their menstrual cycle (月経 or gekkei in Japanese), not just with me, but specifically with their female Japanese coworkers if it affected their ability work during the day. Being in the position of an advisor to some of these coworkers (and being known to these coworkers as a woman outside of the work environment), there was no real concern about keeping me from overhearing (in some cases I was even directly included in the conversation).
So why the panic? I was greatly concerned that not ever mentioning it as the reason for an off day might be weird, and if asked about it, I had no idea what to say. I have zero interest in outing myself at this point in time, I've only just met all of my classes. Nor do I wish to have some version of the, "I am infertile and cannot menstruate" conversation either, not only because it's possibly inappropriate, but because the implication is not accurate.
...also, I do have off days which are related the my hormone levels, and I definitely suffer the slings and arrows of PMS from time to time when shit is all out of whack. I even sometimes get stomach (I think?) cramps from time to time that feel pretty much like my insides are trying to eat themselves alive. I've been known to borrow midol/women's tylenol in these situations—it works. And no, before someone pops up to suggest it, it's not psychosomatic (that's just damn creepy, staaaahp), but is definitely related to the serious complexity of hormone rebalancing.
After consulting LUDA, I was relieved to find she said that it's not unusual to never mention it, and that other teachers she knows refuse to discuss it ever, and she suggested that if I am ever asked to just say my cycle is average and refuse to go into more details. HMMM.... What say you hivemind? Or are you just trying desperately not to laugh into your coffee cups?