'Code Red': iPhone/iPad app for men who need to track women's menstrual cycles

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By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 22, 2010

Men: We are sorry.

Here we have been assuming that our lady-business skeeved you out, that you heard "menstruation" and you went "lalalalalalala."

We were wrong.

How else to explain "Code Red," the new iPhone period app that -- and this is really linguistically unfortunate -- also works on the iPad?

It keeps track of periods. It keeps track of them for men. It is, in fact, strong enough for a woman but made for the men who love them, or at least want to monitor their bodies the way that creep-o just might on "Law & Order: SVU" before Detective Benson punched him in the head. Just sayin'.

How it works: Type in the first day of your partner's cycle for a few months. Then sit back and wait for the helpful reminders to pop up on your Apple device. During PMS time, for example, a female symbol appears sporting devil horns. A frisky ovulation alert tells you when your chances for getting down are looking up.

A tour of recent technological creations shows that menstruation apps for men are a booming market. "PMSBuddy," for example, is proudly "saving relationships, one month at a time." "PMS Meter" features "hilarious sound effects." And the infamous "IAmAMan," which is nothing if not unapologetic, allows users to track the menstrual cycles of several women at once, for those special times when you are a big cheater.

At a deep cultural level, one might speculate that the proliferation of these apps all ties into some deep fear of womanhood -- an attempt by men to make sense of what they do not understand. One might offer the possibility that men would chart the life cycle of a fruit fly if they could do it on an iPad, that this is really all about gadgetry. One might also say this is gross.

MEDL Mobile, the company that distributes "Code Red," will not release sales figures, but says that the application has climbed as high as 35 on the Lifestyle division of the Apple app store -- a category that includes hundreds of applications. A spokesperson for the company says Apple cannot confirm this.

Again: Men, we had no idea.

Code Red ("A Survival Guide to Her Monthly Cycle. Period!") was conceptualized by a husband and wife team, Lisi and Kevin Harrison; he is originally from Fairfax and they now live in California. They had no prior app-creation experience, but "we love the iPhone," Kevin says. "We love the whole app culture."

Isn't Code Red kind of . . . funny?

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