No cramping their style -- Writers address complexities and absurdities of PMS

Ranging from bloating and fatigue to irritability and hostility, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are experienced by an estimated 75 percent of menstruating women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

And while PMS can be a serious matter for these women and their families, North County life coaches Elizabeth Goodman and Brian Young see no reason not to have a good belly laugh about it.

"The only other books out there about PMS are boring," said Goodman, 57, a former political consultant and fundraiser who lives with her husband, Herb Tanzer, in Cardiff. "We wanted to give out sound advice ---- there are specific things you can do ---- but make it fun. Because if you can laugh about it, it makes it better."

The two friends' new book, "The Princess and the PMS and The Prince and the PMS" ($14.75, Quantum Leaves Publishing) is really two separate books in one --- the blue cover written from the man's perspective by Young ("The Prince and the PMS") and the other flip side with a pink cover, from the woman's point of view ("The Princess and the PMS").

No matter which side they read, both men and women will nod their heads to familiar scenarios and find solace in the knowledge that they are not alone, said the authors.

Goodman is an ardent advocate of communication between the sexes. "I really believe that we can alter the planet with compassionate communication," she said. "There is nothing that you cannot resolve through communication."

And when dealing with PMS as well as life's other difficulties, Goodman suggests women tell the men in their lives how they are feeling ---- whether that is angry or depressed or spiraling out of control.

"We can alert them and say, 'I may be temporarily insane for the next couple of days, and I request you to be more patient with me' ---- and a hot bath and chocolates are nice, too."

Filled with up-to-date diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplement advice, the "Princess" side of the book begins with a short questionnaire to determine which kind of PMS sufferer the reader might be.

Are you Lois Pain, the woman for whom every part of her body hurts? Or Attila the Hungry, who is always eating? Or perhaps you're Scary Poppins (moody), Weeping Beauty (prone to crying jags), or Lizzie Warden (whose "bumper sticker reads 'How's My Driving? Call 1-800-Kissmya--").

It is also peppered with amusing cartoons as well as a monthly "monstral" chart to keep track of menstrual periods.

While roughly two-thirds of the book is devoted to the female reader, the other part is for the men who love them. Brian Young, 40something author of the "Prince" part of the book, is a real estate entrepreneur in Encinitas. He got the idea for the book when he was having relationship difficulties with a previous girlfriend. And the format of having two books in one is his too: He modeled it on a marriage/divorce book he had seen on bookshelves.

"The men's side (of the book) is meant to be read on the toilet in one seating," said Young of its shorter length. He added that the text includes a glossary of terms women use and men misinterpret, a list of rules to live by (literally), as well as how to use the PMS Red Flag, an e-mail alert system, on the authors' Web site at www.PMSredflag.com, which will notify a man of the first day of his partner's period.

The book, which recently climbed onto the Barnes & Noble best-sellers list, is also available online from www.PMS Central.com, a Web portal for women that features PMS-related information and coping tools from the authors of "The Princess and the Prince of PMS."

Author:RUTH MARVIN WEBSTER - Staff Writer, North County Times