One spring afternoon when I was in high school in New York City, I had a bizarre health scare. A friend and I had been lounging by the Hudson River pretending to read and philosophize but really gossiping about our schoolmates — acting exactly our age.
That afternoon, I had miserable symptoms as I always did when I had my period. So I popped some handy painkillers, waited for them to work, gritted my teeth, yakked some more with my friend, and then went home. Later that evening I noticed myself itching at the hairline, then on my face. Within an hour, I was completely covered with distinct red polka dots which would have been cute on a dress, but were horrifying on my skin. Hurriedly I showered, took Benadryl, and woke up fine the next morning. I assumed it had been a reaction to something on the ground or a tree.
But then it happened again the next time I had my period. So my mother, like the good Jewish mom that she is, marched me to the doctor. There I learned I was allergic to anti-inflammatory medicines: Aspirin, Advil, Aleeve, Motrin and their equivalents. I could only take Tylenol, which didn’t help nearly as much as the other pills had.
This newly-diagnosed allergy posed a big problem. Keep reading »
When pop culture depicts transgender people, they usually do it in such a facepalm way that I wonder why anyone bothers anymore. The latest what-were-you-thinking? comes courtesy of Libra tampons in New Zealand, which aired a commercial that implies trans folks who dress as women are not “real women.” The commercial shows an ostensibly “real” woman standing next to a trans person in the bathroom, who I guess is a drag queen. They both put on their lip gloss and mascara and adjust their boobs in their tight party dress. Then the “real” woman pulls a tampon out of her purse. The drag queen makes a “hmmph!” face and walks away. Keep reading »
Men aren’t usually in commercials for period products. But this spoof ad — which Proctor & Gamble denied via Twitter is affiliated with Always — has lots of them. Men in bright red lipstick, men in bustiers, men with beehive hairdos that would put Amy Winehouse to shame. The spoof stars drag queens and lots of ‘em; each one is boo-hooing like a three-year-old girl because he’s got man parts down south. “There are some people who would just love to have a period,” the subtitling reads. “Let alone a happy one.” I, a person not usually known for her love of advertisements, think the commercial is actually pretty revolutionary. I mean, drag queens? In a commercial? And it’s not the Super Bowl and they’re not being mocked?
Other bloggers did not quite agree with me, calling the commercial “transphobic.” Keep reading »
Let’s get one thing straight: my period and I are not friends. And that’s why last week, when I was going through the worst of it, I started referring to my period as The Deathly Hallows. It just seemed appropriate, you know? Granted, I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie or read the books, but come on, what’s more deathly or hallows-y than bleeding for five days straight? With that in mind, I’ve decided we need to come up with some fresh new period euphemisms, because “Aunt Flo,” “the rag,” and “my monthly lusty bloodletting” just aren’t cutting it anymore. Keep reading »
Whoa. Is … is … is that what I think it is? Is this Always maxi-pad daring to suggest that red blood is involved with a woman’s menstrual cycle? Such a thing has never before occurred in the history of tampon and pad ads, which usually imply that a soft, inoffensive blue liquid flows down there. I, for one, am very glad to see Always leading the charge towards getting bloody real. [Tres Sugar] Keep reading »
I just had the strangest thing happen. About 10 minutes ago, I ran to the drugstore to buy a box of tampons, picking up the latest copy of Us Weekly while I was at it. After I paid, the cashier folded the magazine around the outside of the tampon box and stuck them both in a plastic bag. Then she lowered her voice discreetly and said, “Sorry, that’s the best I can do — we’re out of paper bags.” In other words, “When you walk out of the store, someone might notice that you have just purchased tampons which may lead them to assume you are bleeding from your vagina. I am sorry I can’t do anything to prevent this embarrassment from occurring.” Keep reading »
I have been fascinated by the notion of going without a period since the 8th grade, when I heard about an older, incredibly beautiful girl at my school who didn’t wear underwear. I was a maxi pad user at the time — tampons did not register as an option until 10th grade — so I couldn’t understand how this chick could go panty-less during her monthly flow.
“Where does she stick her pad?” I asked a friend as we sat on the school’s front lawn giving each other hairwraps. (It was a hippie school and it was the early-’90s.)
“Oh, I heard her tell someone that she rarely gets her period because she drinks so much water.” Keep reading »
When I was a little kid, my teenage sister explained to me that she had become a woman. This meant that for one week out of the month, I had better do exactly what she tells me. I would never know exactly when that week would be, so for my sake, she lovingly suggested I play it safe and stay out of her way. Because during that week, she would be going through a natural change that happens to all grown adult women and she wouldn’t be able to control her rage.
So, largely, I did what my older sister told me, because it was obvious that she was a werewolf. Keep reading »
The decision to cohabit with my now ex-boyfriend Jeff was prompted by a fight over my period.
Jeff and I came back to my place after dinner to find my male roommate and some of his buddies sitting on the couch. He was angry because he just got laid off. He was drunk. In general he was a big a**hole. Keep reading »