I remember when I got my period for the first time. I had just gotten back from the worst day at school ever—I was in a crap mood and had what I thought was a wicked stomach ache. My mom dragged me to my grandparent’s house for dinner and that’s when I discovered what was really going on. I was mortified, scared, excited, in pain. Ever since, I (like all of you ladies except the skippers) have been navigating the complexities of cramps, menstrual products, and rebelling emotions.
So what would happen if a teenage guy woke up one day to find he had a vagina and was getting his period? Would he have a mental breakdown? Or an epiphany where he finally understands women? A new, extremely strange Tampax campaign is positing the latter. They’re pushing all sorts of boundaries with a character named Zack Johnson—a cute 16-year-old dude who wakes up one morning with lady parts. When I first saw his fictional blog Zack16.com, I was too dumbfounded to even know how to process it. The site chronicles his “changes,” day by day. WTF?
Day 1: V-Day. Zack Johnson wakes up one morning with a vajayjay! He kinda glosses over this, but I am left asking the obvious question…ummm…how? He goes to the school nurse and tells her that his body is changing. No crap, Zack. We find out he has a crush on a girl named Chelsea and he is worried that the disappearance of his pee pee will ruin his chances with her. Duh.
Day 3: Men are Pigs. Zack has a sister named Krissy. His new vaj motivates him to let his sister in the bathroom first, a sure sign of departing dudeness. Zack then makes the amazing discovery that “men are pigs” when he has to use the boy’s room at school and is disturbed for the first time by the toilet seats being up. Poor Zack has to hover to pee. Female fact of life.
Day 7: Uh Oh. We know this one well…Zack wakes up and he’s bloated, irritable, and emotional. He snaps at his best friend, is annoyed by all the dudes at soccer practice, and finally looks up symptoms online only to discover that he has…PMS. I’m thinking I know what comes next.
Day 9: Le River Rouge. While little Zackie is in French class, his red river starts to flow. He goes to the bathroom a couple of times and makes a “man pad” out of toilet paper. And then he discovers the Tampax tampons in the girl’s room and for the first time looks almost content. His takeway? “Getting your period sucks but I guess it’s not the end of the world. I mean, 50% of the world has a vagina and they seem to be doing pretty well.” Thanks for the shout out, Zack!
So what do you think? Is this ad campaign crazy or amazing? Will it make you buy Tampax tampons? And are you worried about this poor actor—I mean, it’s bad enough to be in a Valtrex commercial, but to forever be the dude who got a vagina and his period? Will he ever recover?