Often, when I travel, I get dehydrated. I can drink so much water and I still get dehydrated! It's very frustrating. When I am traveling around a lot, right in a row, I get so dehydrated that by the end of my journey I am basically just a pile of dust.
Sometimes, when I get dehydrated, I get a cough. A real hacker of a nagging cough. If I am talking a lot, it makes that cough even worse. Yikes that stupid cough.
The thing is, because I am a cis woman with the expected anatomy, when I cough really hard, sometimes it makes me pee. It's like, I don't even feel like I have to pee but I'm peeing anyway! Sometimes I just peed five minutes ago. WHERE IS THE PEE COMING FROM?!
And I'm a 42-year-old lady who's never had a baby and has no medical conditions that affect my continence (is that a word?), not, as just a totally random example, a 68-year-old lady who has had a baby. I can only imagine what it might be like if I were a completely hypothetical 68-year-old lady who has had a baby and was traveling all the time and talking and coughing!
And when I'm dehydrated from traveling, or talking, or from having pneumonia, I know I need to HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE but also the more water I drink, the more likely I am to pee when I cough.
I had to explain this to a male friend of mine last week. Because I've been sick, I have a cough, and I had to tell him: Can you come over to my house instead of me coming to your house? Because at my house is a dresser full of clean underpants in case I pee myself from coughing.
I wasn't thrilled to have to tell my friend this thing, but he is a cis man with the expected anatomy and so he had never really thought about the whole coughing-peeing conundrum, especially when you're trying to stay hydrated while you're sick.
And also my friend laughed and understood and didn't make me feel weird or less than because I am a woman with different plumbing than he has.
Anyway. This is a story about me, and not about anyone else, and how glad I am that my job means I work at home when I'm cough-peeing and not standing in front of, say, the entire world.
I do sometimes wish, though, that women's bodies and how they work were a part of the public conversation at times other than when some dudes at fancy desks are trying to legislate what we're not allowed to do with them.
Just in case it would ever come up in our national discourse why it is that a lady in a position where no lady has ever been might have mean jokes and things said about her "inexplicable" resistance to hydrating.