Tell the bartender you're on the rag, and you'll receive 25 percent off your bar bill, since women spend roughly one-fourth of their lives menstruating.
Photo via Flickr user CC Chapman
There are dueling stories about the origins of the name for everyone's favorite morning-after cocktail. Some people believe the Bloody Mary was named in honor of the Bucket of Blood nightclub in Chicago, while others argue it was a somewhat frivolous reminder of Mary I of England's terroristic time on the throne. But there are zero questions about why Israel's Anna LouLou bar named its new promotion the Bloody Hour, because two super-involved regulars hope to both encourage discussion about menstruation and give women a break on a glass of wine at a time when they might really, seriously appreciate one.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, if a women tells the 'tender that she's having her period, she'll get an immediate 25 percent off her bill, a number that was chosen to either honor or emphasize the fact that women menstruate for a full 25 percent of their lives. "We want women to say, 'Hey, I'm on my period,' and for it to have a deeper and broader resonance, for it to be legitimate for women to talk about it," Bloody Hour organizer Moran Barir told Haaretz. "When it comes to men, I think these evenings will begin to normalize the situation—yes, women menstruate, and [men] should also ask questions and gather information about the subject. It's not only girl talk."
The promotion is good for 25 percent off the total bar tab, for the entire evening, on the four days a week the bar participates. According to Anna LouLou's Facebook post about the event, the discount is based on "trust," and that all a woman has to do is tell them that she's currently experiencing her "special situation," as Barir called it. She told the news outlet that she got the idea from the promotion when a bartender couldn't remember what kind of wine she'd ordered. "I told him simply, 'Here's how you'll remember: I'm on my period, so bring me red.'"
The bar hosted its first Bloody Hour over the weekend and, according to Barir, it was a great success. "Some feedback was especially touching for me," she told MUNCHIES. "One guy told me that he sat with a female friend, and for the first time in their years-long relationship, they both talked about the period. He said his friend was embarrassed at first, but the setting enabled her, and them, to discuss it and confront the mixed emotions that arose."
She acknowledged that some women were initially embarrassed to tell the bartender that they were having their period, but she said that's exactly the kind of feeling that she hopes the event will help eradicate. "This is exactly the point, to start talking freely about it even though it might embarrass or sound strange at first," she said. "We should make it a normal thing that exists, something that is happening for 51 percent of the population, as opposed to the messages we receive that we should hide it and not discuss it in public."
This isn't the first time that Anna Loulou has attempted to start dialogue and promote inclusion; it has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community and has been praised for bringing the community together, regardless of individual customers' religions, political beliefs, or backgrounds. "There is no other bar like this in Israel," Anna Loulou regular Vera Korman told Mic. "Usually even the left-wing doesn't interact much with Palestinians [...] They don't even know about their existence. So the bar fills a blind spot. It is the place for the few people in this country who have the spirit and the will to really encounter and understand the other. It is a place of possibilities."
Much like its commitment to peace and multiculturalism, Barir hopes that Bloody Hour starts one more discussion that will continue long after last call. She and Bloody Hour co-founder Dana Etgar hope to also address some concerns that the first event raised, about whether the bar should find a way to include members of the trans community, and how best to combat the idea that menstruation (or lack of menstruation) as a biological function is somehow a signifier of womanhood or femininity.
She has also been questioned whether this particular cause is the one she should be focusing on. "I see myself as a feminist, and I see the Bloody Hour as a feminist act," she said. "But I understand the criticism about priorities. I believe that all of those feminist struggles relate to one another and I always try to learn more, and understand how I can work with all of the struggles that I believe in."
We'll drink to that, any day of the month.