Hormonal holiday shopping

Broadsheet's first "Press Release of the Week" award may cause you to spontaneously combust.

Published November 17, 2005 6:38PM (EST)

I've said it before: I get weird press releases.

Reading today's crazy-ass contender, however, nearly caused my head to burst into flames. Feast your eyes, if you will, on the "Hormonology Guide to Holiday Shopping for women 15-50."

Oh, it's not a joke! Apparently, Gabrielle Lichterman, founder of "Hormonology, the hormone horoscope" and author of the "ground-breaking book" "28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential," is peddling her hormone shtick by sending out this manual about what kinds of shopping you should do depending on what day of your menstrual cycle you're on.

Again, this does not seem to be a joke.

The "good news for gals" is that, as Lichterman is quoted as saying, "when you plan your holiday shopping according to the ups and downs of your monthly hormone cycle, you can make it a lot less stressful and way more fun."

There is nothing to do here but to fill you in on the following scientific and money-saving tips:

On Days 1 to 3 of your cycle (Day 1 being your first day of menstruation) Lichterman suggests heading to "neighborhood shops and craft stores" because low levels of estrogen and testosterone will have you feeling "creative" and wanting to stick close to home. Days 4-10, Lichterman suggests, are perfect for taking on the mall, since spiking hormones give you "energy, endurance and optimism and put you in an upbeat mood." Apparently these are great days for bargain shopping, "which you're a whiz at now that rising hormones are highlighting your logical left brain."

On Days 11-13 you feel "curious, adventurous, energetic and in the mood to travel," so head to new and faraway retail locations. Days 14-22 (which include ovulation) "make you tire out more quickly." Best to stick to "department stores, like Sears and JC Penney, or mass merchandisers, like Target and Costco, which have many different types of items all under one roof, enabling you to get more gift buying done in less time." But wait for the most dire warning -- that during these days, women should beware of "getting suckered by a cute face," since increased progesterone makes them "susceptible to buying anything that uses adorable images of babies, puppies, and other cuddly creatures."

According to the Lichterman, you should basically write off the premenstrual Days 23-28. Who wants grumpy women standing in checkout lines and jockeying for parking spaces anyway?!?!

But I have remaining questions: What is the best day in my cycle to hit Gabrielle Lichterman over the head with some of the more advanced texts on the biological stereotyping and marginalization of women? Will such a project require that hormones go directly to the logical left side of my brain or will my ordinary non-hormone-boosted right side be up to the task? Does she have a cute face, or maybe a litter of puppies that might distract me from my mission?

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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