• Mon, Mar 8 2010

What to Call Your Period in Other Countries

Have you ever used cutesy phrases to talk about your period, like “Aunt Flo is in town” or “I’m surfing the crimson tide”? Well, you’re far from being the only one. The new book Flow: the Cultural Story of Menstruation, by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim, manages to be both hilarious and educational in its approach to menstrual history. Here, they list common euphemisms for periods from around the world.

  • The Netherlands: “The tomato soup is overcooked”
  • Brazil: “I’m with Chico”
  • China: “Little Sister has come”
  • many parts of Latin America: “Jenny has a red dress on”
  • Australia: “I’ve got the flags out”
  • Denmark: “There are Communists in the funhouse”
  • Ireland: “I’m wearing a jam rag”
  • England: “I’m flying the Japanese flag”
  • Japan: “Little Miss Strawberry”
  • France: “The English have arrived”
  • Germany: “The cranberry woman is coming”
  • Puerto Rico: “Did the rooster already sing?”
  • South Africa: “Granny’s stuck in traffic”

In other news, I am stealing that Danish phrase pronto.

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  • hijean

    The Irish one kind of grosses me out. I think it’s the word “rag.”

  • val1124

    Any of these having to do with fruit/food substances just seem…wrong. I may have to start using “Granny’s stuck in traffic,” however.

  • canonizer

    rag is classic.

  • magenta

    I’m from the Netherlands, and someone played a trick on you. I’ve never heard menstruation called overcooked tomato soup.

  • thedane

    I’m with magenta on this one…someone must be playing tricks on you. I’m from Denmark, and I certainly have never heard the expression “there are communists in the funhouse”

  • terryo

    ewwwwwwwwww, Ya jammy hoor ya :))))

  • lnrland

    Im from Ireland and I have never ever heard of the term “I’m wearing a jam rag”

    • Irishgal

      I’m also from Ireland and this is not a phrase I have ever heard of. There is a phrase ‘on the rag’ which is very vulgar and not often used by the girlies!

  • bebopdesigner

    In Costa Rica: “I’m with the ruler” (as in measuring ruler) no idea why.

    • Curlysiren

      I spent a year in France where I learned to call my period “mes regles”, which translates to “my rules.” Your comment made me think of that.

      Sorry if I remembered it wrong, guys.

  • biassis

    I’m from Brazil and once I read the headlines thought this article would be somehow interesting.
    However, it only demonstrated how ignorant one can be about other cultures.

    Since it seems like the supposed euphemism for period in Brazil isn’t the only one absurdly and ridiculously wrong, I strongly recommend better sources for articles that deal with other countries customs.

    So much ignorance can be misunderstood and even considered offensive, but I rather think this was a result of amateurism.

    • val

      Hey, biassis, the ignorant hater!
      I’m from Brazil too and I used to say that very expression in my teenagehood, “Tô de Chico!”, which I learned with some girls at school. It may not be as popular in the region you live, or a very used expression nowadays, but it does exist.
      One other thing: cool your head, girl! All that hatred does not go with Brazilians… ;o)

    • 3lackat

      @ biassis: Ironically, this article is about periods and you seem to be on yours!

    • biassis

      I apologize for my comment and not knowing about this expression (probably because it isn’t used anymore or as often as before). And I am especially sorry about questioning the author’s skills.
      And thanks for the heads-up, val.
      I guess this was a misunderstanding and I hope 3lackat learns the difference between pms and being on a period. X]

  • bocifius

    My mother, from Quebec, used to say “The Communists are in town”. “Les communistes sont en ville”. True or not, the Danish one is the best! Funhouse! wow!

  • jessypf

    In Puerto Rico we say that the first time “it comes” :D LOL

  • elizafayle

    I grew up with ‘riding the cotton pony’ … Ontario, Canada.

  • lysbella

    I’m from Brazil and I used this expression in the past. “Estou de chico” Nowadays I use I

  • lysbella

    wrong comment: Nowadays I use I’m a red days

  • dandanel

    I’m from Denmark and the expression “communists in the funhouse” is being used here.

  • Pat

    I’m English and have never heard of “flying the Japanese flag” – but the jam rag one is familiar – we said that when I was at school. The one I’ve heard most is “I’ve got the painters in”.

  • Floris

    In the Netherlands we call it the red sea, or just ‘period’, sometimes we think of strange things, but tomtatosoup? I never heard that one!

  • Corrado

    In Italy we say that “the marquis has come”…Add that!

  • sia

    In Sweden people say “lingonberry week” (lingonvecka).

  • Janae

    Me and my Best friend say Aunt Flow has come to town, or is here to visit!

  • lizzie

    on the rag is a great irish one
    also, talking about TOM (time of month) and how he’s being a dickhead or how u just got into an argument with him
    squeezin’ doughnuts is one me and my broher made :D

    • Jan

      Haha, I like the TOM one.

  • emilie

    The Red Army is in town ;)

  • genny

    the lady tides have come to shore

  • lily

    the german, ustralian and dutchone are completely made up. there isn’t even a german word for cranberry.

    • fee Regenbogen

      That’s true!

      I use the phrase: “strawberry week” (“Erdbeerwoche”). When I was younger we used to say “surfing on the red wave”(“auf der Roten Welle surfen”) or just: “i’ve got my days” (ich hab’ meine Tage”)

  • danielle

    riding the crimson wave would be a better one for australia..

    Denmark is definitely the best though

  • Jen

    English say “I’ve got the decorators in”

  • JP

    Shark week.

  • Caitlin

    Aunt Flo(w) has come to visit

  • Saint

    Never heard the apparent Australian one.

  • Ordinary Colby

    I’m just over-blushing .

  • Patricia

    i’ve lived in ireland all my life and i’ve never heard that phrase being used! we talk about “aunt erma”, and her coming to visit, nothing about jam?!

  • saffa

    i’ve never heard anyone in south africa say “granny’s stuck in traffic” when referring to their period. “aunty flow is visiting” i have heard… we also talk about what a bitch she is etc.
    a british friend of mine once said “she’s on the blob” which i thought was quite funny.

  • Nerdbox

    my friend used the term:
    “My steak is Rare today”

  • BBB

    I used to say “my cousin from Red River Valley has come to visit”

  • poppinyouall

    I’m English and I’ve never heard that Japanese flag one :S

  • Kelli Lorraine

    Aunt Flow has come to visit.

  • on the rag

    uncle tom is in town

  • S

    i’m from romania and we say ” Santa Claus came to town” :)

  • Linda


  • Lili

    the one from puerto rico is kinda wrong…that may be said (though I’m from puerto rico and I’ve never heard it before) when you FIRST get your period…not EVERYTIME you get it…that is like “she got her period already?”
    what women say really differs from women to women…from group of friends to group of friends…my friends usually just say “I’m in those days…” or “cai” (which can translate to I am on my period, literally it is I fell :) )

  • jo

    I’m American and I always refer to it as “I’m under going maintenance ” lol

  • Julie

    We always said that “the ladycave was undergoing some renovations” and whenever my boyfriend asks if it’s over, he phrases it like “has the paint dried yet?” (*^~^*)

  • ebberuber

    in the Philippines we say, “My monthly visitor has arrived!” LOL

  • jellybean

    America: My boyfriend and I always say, “Is TOM here?” (time of month)

  • Finne

    In Finland we say: “She has the jam week”

  • Bee

    i say “my friend came”

  • Geek TV

    1. The Russians have arrived
    2. Olimpiakos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympiacos_CFP) has a match today

  • jenny

    in ireland we say the painters and decorators are in

  • leenzy

    the river overflowed.

  • frida

    In central Mexico, it’s used “vino andrés” (andrew came), because it rhymes with “el que viene cada mes” (the one that comes each month) :P

  • Huck

    America: Aunt Flo is in town

  • H

    I’m Irish and I’ve never heard that one before. “on the rag”

  • Anna

    In England you could say “the painters are in” but I have never heard the thing about the Japanese flag. I doubt that anyone would know what you were talking about if you said that.

  • Heidi

    hmm I’m Dutch, never heard of that one. I always say my red friend’s come to visit. Or red flag’s week. when I was in high school me and a friend used to say that we were camping out :P

  • ana

    im from mexico and everyone i know uses that one!

  • Mary

    My husband and I say that I am “being invaded.”

    • Sam Miller

      if the wife is on the rag she aint being invaded by her husband,thats for sure

    • Bec

      OH! [crowd cheers]

  • Elle

    my friend is sick and throwing her cookies.

  • Tegs

    “It’s Maintenance Week”

  • unapachadeguaro

    I’m from Costa Rica and we say “me vino la regla” like normal people do

  • emmy

    “meri happy birthday hogai” (i got my happy birthday)……lolx

  • Briella

    En Argentina decimos “Vino Andrés… el que viene una vez al mes”

  • Patty

    I always say that its shark week

  • Ella

    I’m Australian but i’ve never heard that phrase, we usually say tom’s in town. tom as in Time Of Month.

  • sophie g

    the red monster is in town

  • Autumn

    I call it Bloody Mary… o///o

  • chelsea

    “The Crazy Bitch.”

  • Mificutz

    In romania we kinda say ” Santa came to town” or “she`s got guests”

    • nickolle

      adevarat :)))) am mai auzit si “a venit madam popescu” :)))

    • xiawesome

      sau “e pe stop” :p

  • barbara

    In Greece we say “I have my clothes on” :P

  • Chels

    If anyone asks I say “I have my period”
    …no need to step around the situation, I bleed what of it?

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  • Emma

    I sometimes say Aunty Red’s come for a visit or that I’m surfin the crimson wave

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  • V

    Im English, I have never ever heard a single person mention Japanise flags! I’ve heard crimson tide and jam rag (I think the latter was from the olden days) and heard aunt flow but most just say ‘I’m on’ or ‘time of the month’

  • Slartibartfast

    No one has ever EVER said “I’m flying the Japanese flag.” in England, this list is such horse crap, hahaha! It did give me a proper laugh though.

  • Aida

    I’m from Bosnia, and we just say “I have it”, or “I got it”, and everyone gets what it’s about.

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  • Sam Miller

    Ive heard the phrase ‘the cherry pie is still in the oven’

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  • Bethanellie

    A phrase that me and my friends use here in America is ” I fell off the roof “. It is by far my favorite. (Although,”the Comies in the fun house is quit popular with us too.)

  • Country Lady

    If someone were to ask me, I would reply….end of sentence ssshhh.

  • wendy king

    People keep referring to this chart and I don’t know where these people got their research from but I’ve never heard an Australian refer to a period with those sayings. It’s all made up or they didn’t research very well. Really and everyone is believing this, I hope not!!!!

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