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Menstrual calendar apps...for men

The iPhone serves as an attractive platform for apps targeted at men who want to keep track of womens' menstrual cycles.

Seems like every day brings news of a new iPhone app that makes the device all that more indispensable. Take for instance, PMS Buddy, which lets men keep track of the menstrual cycles of the women in their lives.

PMS Buddy, due to launch for the iPhone this week, has been available as a free service for nine months. The site's tagline is "Saving relationships, one month at a time."

"It has exploded. We've passed 150,000 registered users," Jordan Eisenberg, founder and chief executive of PMS Buddy, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. The app also is available on Facebook where it has about 20,000 users, he added.

PMS Buddy offers a free PMS reminder service and will launch an iPhone app this week. PMS Buddy

The idea for the service started as a joke when Eisenberg and a group of friends, including several women, were drinking at a happy hour and talking about relationships. "From there the conversation transgressed, or digressed, whatever it is, into PMS," he said.

The group reached a consensus that "Women don't appreciate it when you come home and maybe things are a little tense and the man says 'Hey, do you have PMS?'" Eisenberg said.

One man said he avoids confrontations by tracking his wife's menstrual cycle on a daily planner. "So we said, 'Wouldn't that be funny to automate it and make it available to the masses,'" Eisenberg added.

No doubt, there are some people who won't appreciate the humor of such a service, particularly given the history of societal denigration of women because of their monthly hormonal changes. But, as far as menstrual tracking services for men go, PMS Buddy handles things a bit more delicately than some.

Take the competing app PMSTracker. "Tired of your wife/girlfriend/sister/mom/secretary biting your head off unexpectedly once a month?" the app summary on iTunes asks prospective buyers. Another one, called uPMS, markets itself as "an application for all guys out there suffering the monthly Psychotic Mood Shifts from their better halves."

Another winner is IAmAMan, an app for "your private life planning." Like PMSTracker, it lets men track cycles of multiple females, but has the additional handy feature of offering passwords for each female so that if one of them "accidentally bumps into this application and makes you enter the password--she will be the only one to appear on the list." Good thinking!

And then there is the PMS Meter iPhone app, which is purely for entertainment purposes and features "hilarious sound effects" and an "animated scanning sequence."

Probably the most diplomatic of the lot is the MyMate app. "Being aware of what your women are going through and knowing where they are in their cycle is essential in being a more caring and understanding man; in short it will help you become a better mate!"

MyMate also offers the ability for men to keep track of a woman's favorite color, song, perfume, likes and gift ideas, and it stores special event dates and her clothing size in "convenient European conversion."

Eisenberg dismissed the critics of the PMS tracking service, saying that he has received 3,000 e-mails from men and women around the globe telling him how useful PMS Buddy is.

"There are a lot of people out there that think we've been misogynistic, but we tell them it's a free country and if you don't like it don't use the Web site," he said. "We think it has an altruistic side to it. It helps people."

Eisenberg, whose other venture is selling shirt collar stays packaged in a credit card size holder called a Collar Card, said his wife is very supportive of PMS Buddy.

"I get a reminder, a heads up via e-mail, and I'll cut her some slack and not let things escalate when I get home if she is not in the best mood," he said.