I have a friend named Neal who thinks Christine Lavin is one of America's greatest songwriters. I don't exactly agree with that assessment, but I know that I sure appreciate almost every musical effort ever made by a human being, and Christine Lavin's music is unusually clever and enjoyable. One of her songs is titled, "I Want To be A Mysterious Woman." I thought of Christine Lavin's song when I was giving advice to an ex-student.
I keep in touch with one of my ex-students who is now in the ninth grade, and in our email correspondence, she told me that she went to Disneyland and had a horrible time because she was on her period.
Now I don't mind having a girl feel so comfortable with me that she can tell me this very personal information, but I also have a lot of reservations about knowing it. So I replied to her, and here is what I said.
"I am flattered that you feel so comfortable with me that you would tell me that you were on your period. I also feel concerned that you may be telling other people that information. It is none of your boyfriends' business when you are menstruating, and it isn't any of mine, either.
I want you to keep your menstrual cycle to yourself. Don't even tell me. And certainly don't tell any boys! In the matter of your menstrual periods, I want you to be a Mysterious Woman. I want the boys to wonder about you, but to have no idea what is going on. And that includes what you look like when you are naked. Keep your clothes on, and keep your periods to yourself. Be a Mysterious Woman. Keep boys and men wondering about your sexuality but don't let them find out anything, ever, because as soon as they find out, the mystery is over. Case closed. The "Mystery of You" will have been solved. Don't tell them anything. Don't show them anything. Remain Mysterious."
Some would say my advice doesn't actually fit the meaning of the lyrics of Christine Lavin's song, but on a simple level I think it certainly does. I hope it was good advice. It was advice to a girl whose father and mother don't talk to her properly, and certainly not about such etiquettte, and it was advice from a man who has never had a daughter.
I also have some alarm bells going off about our email correspondence. I am not sure anymore about the legality nor the safety and security of common sense truth.