Sure, it’s great to learn about the many practical ways you can use the hormonal effects in your monthly cycle to plan your day based on what your mood, energy, brain skills, etc., will be like.
But, we should also remember that we can make our day easier by planning it around a guy’s 24-hour hormone cycle if we’re spending time with a male partner, friend, family member or colleague.
I was reminded of this when I was careering through the streets of Saint Petersburg this morning with my husband, Douglas, behind the wheel. See, we were running a little late to an appointment at my orthopedic surgeon’s office for a follow-up x-ray to check to see how well my spine is fusing since my surgery in January. It was about 8:45 am and Douglas seemed to make it his mission to hit the gas to make every green light and speed past everyone he felt was lagging behind–not his normal safe style of driving. But, when I reminded him that we were only a few minutes behind schedule and it usually takes awhile to get seen, anyway, this just made him clench his teeth and gun the engine even harder.
Then, I remembered: His high morning testosterone was making him naturally more aggressive–and being late was making this hormone-fueled effect more intense.
That’s when I realized I should have been the one to drive to the office this morning.
So, I think it’s a good time to remind you of a few easy ways that you can plan your day around a guy’s hormone cycle if you’re doing activities with a man. Naturally these are generalizations–there are going to be exceptions and many factors can impact a man’s testosterone level (for instance, a man’s testosterone spikes when he sees an image of someone he’s attracted to or competes in an event and it drops when he watches his team lose). So, think of these as general guidelines you can use and tailor them as you see fit:
Morning: His testosterone is highest
- Take the lead when doing activities that could be frustrating: When testosterone is high, so is a guy’s level of aggression. This doesn’t mean he wakes up breathing fire and smashing buildings to the ground Godzilla-style till lunchtime rolls around. But, you know how when during your premenstrual week, things could be going along just fine then someone does something to drive you up a wall and you just lose it? Well, that’s what can happen with a guy in the morning: He could be going along just fine, then he stubs his toe, misplaces his keys, a driver cuts him off in traffic or he’s late to an appointment and he has the kind of response that makes you wonder if he just downed four Red Bulls after being stung by a swarm of Africanized bees. So, if you’re doing an activity that has the potential to cause frustration, consider taking it over so you can avoid risking his trigger-happy testosterone explosion.
- Let him put together the 1,000-piece desk lamp: When testosterone is high, so is a man’s spatial ability–the skill needed to mentally rotate images in your head, which is needed when reading maps, playing Jenga and putting together any piece of IKEA furniture ever made. While you also have spatial skills (especially during your period), if you’re looking to clear some space in your day, hand over the task to him since he’s likely to excel at the project, eliminating the need to fix it on the downlow when his back is turned.
- Sign him up for doubles tennis: Thanks to peaking testosterone, a man’s hand-eye coordination and reaction speed are top-notch (after his breakfast and first cup of coffee, that is) and so is his energy and competitiveness. So, capitalize on his hormonal strengths by signing up the both of you up for a competitive activity that uses these skills, such as tennis, basketball or a Tough Mudder course.
- Avoid situations where flexibility is needed: All that bubbling-over testosterone is great for confidence-building, but it can also make him so confident in his plans, opinions and abilities that he isn’t likely to budge when someone suggests another way of doing things.
Afternoon: His testosterone dips to the middle
- Invite him to participate more on a task: As the day goes on, a man’s testosterone dips to the middle of his daily cycle. This means by the afternoon, he’s still got lots of energy, his brain skills are peaking and he’s rarin’ to go–but he’s also friendlier and more patient and flexible. So, this is a time to invite him to be a bigger part of a task that could have frustrating moments, for instance, fixing a broken sink, talking to a difficult client or taking over the driving.
- Introduce new ideas: Thanks to his lower testosterone, making him more patient and flexible, he’s more open to recommendations other folks bring to the table. This makes it a good time of day to ask him to brainstorm with you, introduce him to a new technique, food or activity or set him up with an appointment with a doctor, lawyer, contractor or other specialist who might suggest a different–and, perhaps, better–direction than he was headed.
- Take him shopping: Does he need new pants? Do you need to buy house paint? Whatever it is you need to shop for, you might want to jump on it while his testosterone-fueled energy is revved and his openness and flexibility are high. (Tip: Make sure he’s had lunch since research shows that men get a mood boost after their noon meal. It’s one reason male judges are more lenient after their lunch break!)
Early evening: His testosterone drops to a low point
- Ask him for a request or favor: By now, male partners, friends and family members of cycling women who are Hormonology fans know that they’re more likely to hear a “yes” to a request or favor from a woman when you ask her during her Week 2–the week leading up to and including ovulation. The reasoning is that high estrogen makes women more upbeat, open, flexible and optimistic–which makes them more willing to grant someone’s wish. Well, guys also have a time in their 24-hour hormone cycle when they’re more like to say “yes” to a favor or request, too–and it’s in the evening after they’ve eaten. That’s because testosterone has dropped low, which makes them more passive, agreeable and low-key, so they’re not as likely to look for reasons to turn you down. If you’re approaching a male supervisor about a raise, promotion or other request, try to catch him as late in the day as possible–and maybe ask a friend to bring him a snack shortly before you make your entrance.