I’m never going to be ‘okay’ with my period. We are never going to peaceably co-exist. Partially because I am naturally a hot mess, and partially because we didn’t start off well. In fact, we started off badly. I’ve mentioned this here on the site before. I knew exactly what mine was when it arrived. I took the most sensible plan and decidedly worldly course of action by choosing to accept this reality by quietly secreting my uterine lining into my jeans without saying jack shit about it to anyone. When my mom found a pair of jeans that had fallen victim to my dangerous game, I sort of remember her having a decidedly unlike her “WTF?!” kind of reaction. Not because she was all “Now I am the mom from Carrie, let me curse you and your dirty pillows,” but more along the lines of “Girl, you have been EDUCATED, why did you walk around in this hell of uncomfortable and rank state for a time?” Thinking of it now, it was pretty hilarious, because my mom is basically unflappable. This woman will inspect anyone’s anything – and basically has. She is like an herbalist from a fairy tale, all auguring your future from a mole you have concerns about. To shock her by doing something was pretty fucking rare. I believe our actual conversation went as follows: Mom:…..did you get your period? Me:…..yes? (Long, protracted, aforementioned WTF-Pause.) Mom: Sweetie, you need to use a pad. Me: I know. Mom:… Me:…. Mom:….. Me: (quietly turns away and begins singing all of South Pacific into her Mr. Microphone.) It was a magical time. I moved schools a lot as a kid, but I started sex ed early. This meant lots of freebies. I may not have shaved my legs or used vagina-wash in the shower, but damned if I wasn’t all. “Girl, are you going to use that Summer’s Eve?” – because I was a born product whore. In this fashion, I had amassed a collection of pads, tampons, razors, douches, and, inexplicably, lip balms. I put them all in the bathroom I had the good fortune of sharing with my sister who was a weirdo. We each had our own sink and set of drawers. She had exactly two beauty products – a bottle of soap with a panda on it, and an endless supply of Johnson and Johnson’s No More Tangles – which she was miserable with. The rest of her drawers were filled with stuffed mice and doodles. I, sensing the taboo nature of my newest obsession, installed mine in my bottom-most drawer. I decorated it outside with hologram unicorn stickers. The unicorns had rainbow manes and reared back on their hind legs to reveal my name in an tripped out version of Times Roman Font. I wish I were joking. I am proud I am not. I also wish I still had those stickers. Let’s move past the hilarious inadvertent image of a virgin protecting her stash of feminine hygiene products with unicorns. I basically horded the damn things. I was an eight year old in need of an intervention. I can essentially picture some affable mediator being all “You can pick one bottle of douche, but the rest have to go.” and me being all “BUT WHAT IF I NEED IT?” Not long after my period started, I had to tap into the reserves of pastel colored wrappers, and I did so with a heavy heart. That sadness was quickly replaced with ire when I realized that, as the ads say, not all periods are created equal and most of this cheap, freebie shit I’d been given to staunch the coming crimson tide was exactly that – cheap, freebie, shit. I vividly remember the first time I wore a pad to bed. I woke up with the thing stuck to my side-waist. It was the only item in my bed not waterlogged in copper-colored stank juice. I was livid – these night-time pads were grade A horse shit. To this day I will never understand woman who can slap on a pad and go to sleep. HOW DOES YOUR LOWER HALF WORK? CAN I LEGIT HAVE A SLOPPY VAGINA? HOW DO YOU NOT FLING BLOOD HITHER AND YON? ARE THERE CLASSES? DO THEY COST A LOT? IS THIS SOMETHING GROUPON SHOULD LOOK INTO? I fiercely resented one childhood friend whose period was light enough that when she was lying down it just plain stopped altogether. Meanwhile, unless I am particularly rigorous, I can still have a morning where I wake up and it’s like the mob is trying to send me a message. And that message is chunks of gore. If men bled once a month, they’d develop really awesome, clean, cool, useful ways of dealing with it. But right now, no matter what they say – all tampons, pads, and cups are the same. Catch or stop the blood as best we can while fooling the non-menstruating public into thinking we’ve evolved by packaging our shit like its sugar packets or in black like they are sex toys. You are fooling no one, advertising! No one! No matter how you dress up a tampon, it is fundamentally the same. It is a stick, that holds a wad of cotton-like fibers together that you stick up yourself. You wear it until it’s ‘full’ at which point you perform what I call, “The Guillotine” and yank that sucker out by a string all the while yelling, “Vive Le France!” in the face of the…deluge. Yeah. It’s not advanced – Tampons were designed for reality TV. WHY WERE PEOPLE SURPRISED WHEN TOXIC SHOCK WAS A THING? YOU’RE SHOVING PAPER UP THERE! ESSENTIALLY! It goes to follow, in my humble estimation, that if you are sticking something that shouldn’t be up there, up there, you are running a risk. If I regularly inserted dimes into my vagina and then was diagnosed with an illness, I’d be all “Fair. Probably shouldn’t have put so many dimes up there.” They like to fancy up the stick of the tampon, the applicator. Plastic, cardboard, pearly sheen, gentle head, no slip grip. I thought these things were gimmicks too until I, in an effort to go green, bought recycled cardboard tampons, had a grip-slip issue, and then a running-bare-assed-through-the-bathroom-to-fetch-your-bloodied-applicator-before-anyone-sees issue. I was certainly all, “Touche tampon technology, touche.” That said, buying scented tampons will always be hilarious to me. It’s like you’re walking around going “What’s that? An odd smell, you say? Like room temperature steaks that are a little off but also your grandmother? Hm, yes, that is odd,” all said while backing slowly out of the room. Pads are a joke. A JOKE. Long, short, fat, thin – you will always know that you have got a proverbial catcher in your pants. Just because it’s got a blue section does not mean it’s more absorbent. I roll my eyes with disgust at the very thought that the various rivers and valleys that dot its surface are anything other than a topographical bluff. Everyone knows the only pad innovation that means anything is the wing. For those who don’t know, wings are the equivalent of Bette Davis in All About Eve. You lock and load and they are all, “Fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” Maybe pads work as a solo venture for some folks, but I swear to god nine times out of ten it ends with me getting blood in such weird places – like the inner ankle of my khakis. It is not magical, you guys. For maximum safety I double bag – using pad and tampon. It’s pretty sexy, I can’t lie. I feel like a crampy, sleepy duck. I tried an Instead cup in college and it got kind of uh….lodged? And I freaked out? And had to take a Valium to remove it? Then later on in my life I tried a Diva cup? Only I bought the wrong size. Because there are two. One for later-in-life-ladies who have kids, and then the one I would wear. I got the baby-maker one. And. And. Oh god I’m writing this on the internet – SOMEONE HAD TO HELP ME REMOVE IT! AND IT MADE A SOUND! A POPPING SOUND UPON REMOVAL! As I sat there – decidedly NOT licking my wounds – I got to brooding about how dudes wouldn’t have this problem. It wouldn’t exist. They wouldn’t have to hunt around for the least gross, demoralizing option. Instead they’d do something like design disposable boy-shorts with a built-in heating panel to soothe roaring wombs. They would make a beer that cures it. But since that’s not a reality, I’m left with one more thing that occasionally tries to turn my body into a strange, possibly mentally deficient monster with a hunger for absorbent fibers and expensive bedding. Ryan Moran Wait a minute, aren’t douche’s generally considered to be always harmful without any actual benefits? What sort of crappy sex-ed classes were giving them out as free samples… Rebecca Jane Stokes Ones in Rhode Island. Alex Cranz I am legit dying reading this. Also [email protected] Mollie Muse LMAO. I applaud you for unabashedly recounting some horrid, yet hilarious, anecdotes. Ryan Moran From what I gather, cups are becoming more common these days. While I don’t have the requisite plumbing to have any real idea of how they compare with anything else, I did happen upon a positive youtube review of them the other day which was the first I’d heard of them ever existing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cdsXi__SoE&feature=plcp MsJack Two words: Mirena IUD. My periods now come once every couple of months, and they are but a dull, pink, watery trickle that last 1-3 days. I use the lightest size tampons and some panty liners and I’m good. Cramps are virtually non-existent. (BTW, I tried an Instead cup in Jr. High and they were indeed gross. I’ve heard good things about Diva cups, but haven’t given it a shot yet as I kind of lack the necessity at this time.) Kali Ravel I have both a mirena and a mooncup (UK). They are awesome. Full disclosure though; before the IUD, I lost a grand total of 20ml of blood per month, so I’m probably not the best source of knowledge for dealing with deluges. madwithabox There are tears in my eyes and I legitimately don’t know if I was laughing or crying. Either way, this article is the truth!