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For a couple of years now the term “red monsoon” has been propagating amongst my friends as a quick, discrete shorthand for a menstruating. I wouldn’t want you to get the idea that I spend large swaths of my spare time conversing deeply about menstruation but when the topic arrises I do indeed find it useful to have a go-to term. It’s one of those phrases that once it passes your lips it so perfectly and succinctly encapsulates what it’s describing that you find yourself using it almost instantly, or at least such has been the case when I have used it.

People, particularly women (although to be fair I do not often discuss menstruation with men), seem to quickly adopt “red monsoon” into their regular vocabulary with little need for encouragement. What I am saying here is that “red monsoon” is not like fetch, which clearly – and to Gretchen Weiners and my own dismay – never happened. I suppose the problem inherent in red monsoon catching on, and even me blogging about it, is that part of its usefulness lies in its relative obscurity. A co-worker can say to me – or tweet for that matter, which happened on one occasion – that it’s “monsoon season” and I know instantly what is happening without the general populous being any the wiser should they be listening in on my conversation.

As so often happens with great turns of phrase, red monsoon is not a brand new creation but rather an appropriation. I was out for dinner with some friends one night at OPM – which I think has since closed – in Edmonton. It was an Asian-themed restaurant and they had various “Asia-inspired” cocktails, one of these being titled the “Red Monsoon.” I couldn’t. As soon as we read it it just sounded like a euphemism and from that day forward a euphemism it became.

Red monsoon.

Spread the word.

(but not too far)