I can’t believe it took me five years to stumble across this little nugget of information. Well actually I can, as it is not something that I am discussing openly with a lot of women. Although women do seem to be much more open in discussing problems in this area than what I have experienced back home.
Now to anyone from the western world this will seem like the most bizarre and disgusting practice. When I was told this I thought that it was a joke, and that they were just winding me up. But quite a few people put their hands up and said they had done this.
Apparently it is a widely believed practice that when a young lady has her first menstruation that if you wipe the blood on your face it will prevent your skin from acne in the future. You heard me right. Period blood all over the face! Seriously WTF!!
I did not believe this even after being assured it wasn’t a joke, and a number of female colleagues recounting for me their first facial. So I had to jump on Google to validate this. Well it was not hard to find a consensus that this is a widely believed myth that seems to have survived the spotlight that modern medical science can shine on things like this.
Now while a Cosmo article about Pinoy menstruation myths may not be the American Medical Journal, I would hope that these things spread like wildfire and young ladies are not put through this torturous event for what is essentially a superstition passed down the generations. As with anything like this, my brain always wonders who were the pioneers. Who was that first person in the world who looked down and thought “I am going to rub this on my face and see what happens.” Coincidentally this person was also blessed with perfect skin. Due to some shoddy cause & effect analysis young ladies all over the country have been put through…. Ok I am going to stop there.
Being a man it is possible that I am overreacting here. Women reading this may be rolling their eyes and wondering what the big deal is. Maybe I am old fashioned in thinking that period blood on the face should only be the result of some ill timed cunnalingus resulting in the Dolmio Grin until you realise your mistake and rush to clean yourself up… or is this a new fashion? I don’t know. Either way I will say it again. WTF!
In the same conversation I also discovered the traditional method of circumcision in the Philippines. At this point all the blood drained out of my face, and I turned white. This sounded so traumatic that I could not repeat it here. I felt this way before I found out that this happens when a young man is already 12 years old! Stunned! At least if you were a baby you wouldn’t remember. But 12!
This was without a doubt the biggest cultural slap in the face I have received in my time here. Eating duck foetus, chicken guts, pigs blood. All easy compared to this one conversation! No judgement towards those who practice these things. But I will forever be grateful that I never had to.