Monday, December 19, 2005


I was thinking just now of my friend Christy's mom who took us into the bathroom when we were in eighth grade and tried to teach us about tampons. Up until that point, the only thing we ever used tampons for was to shoot them at my brothers after church. In fact, I'm almost certain that it was upon being caught flinging tampons around the sanctuary that we were forced to endure the tampon lesson. Basically, this involved us sitting on the edge of the tub, hoping to god that Christy's mom couldn't smell the cigarette smoke on us, while her mom lined up a series of glasses on the bathroom counter and tampons of all different brands. She explained how to use them, handed us each some instructions, and then made the stupidest mistake a mom can make while administering the tampon lesson. She proceeded open each tampon, take it out of its applicator, if it had one, and drop each one into its own glass. And there they swelled, like... well... unless you've seen it, it's hard to describe. But tampons come in a small variety of shapes. Some open up into little mattresses (Tampax) or unfurl like billowy umbrellas (Tampax Pearl) or untwist into some other uncomfortable shape. The thing is that, when left to their own devices, unfettered by a vagina, tampons will balloon up. And Christy and I looked at these cottony messes growing larger and larger in the glasses and looked at each other and Christy looks at her mom, eyes wide in terror, and says, "Jesus Christ, Mom, how the hell does that fucker come out?!" "Well, hmm, now they don't get that big..." "The fuck they don't! You think I'm going to put that thing up inside me when it does that?!?!" "Well, they're very convenient." "Are you fucking nuts?" "There's no need to swear." "Does B.'s mom know you're telling her this shit?" "Yes." "Has the world gone fucking mad?" Needless to say, neither one of us were converted to tampon use that day. But I remember when I got home, my mom sort of wanted to continue to talk about it. I'm sure she'd been briefed about the disaster. She handed me another sheet of instructions and said, "Now, you may have discovered that you have a hole. I just want you to know that such exploration is natural and that even though I don't want to know about it, you shouldn't be ashamed of it. Just read this and if you have any questions..." "Yeah, ma?" "Maybe we can ask your Aunt B. to answer them. She's a nurse."


Blogger Ted said...

It's true that men are generally stupid, ubiquitiously horny, and unquestionably self-centered.

Yet I read posts like this, and I thank the Good Lord himself that I'm a guy.

Yeesh. Nothin' goes inside me that swells up, if I can help it (assuming I do manage to stay out of jail).

12/19/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

HaHa! Tiny Cat Pants, making guys uncomfortable since 2004.

Myself, I was a Playtex girl. Gentle Glide, if you please. TMI?

12/19/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Ted, in all fairness, they don't really swell up that big when inside us. They are, after all, just cotton and some carcinogenic stuff and we are muscle-y, especially if we've been working on our ping-pong ball trick. Ha.

Peg, I totally should change the motto of my blog to "Making Guys Uncomfortable Since 2004." That is great.

12/19/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Oh, well then. I'm pretty sure I partook of more than my share of cottony carcinogens in college, so I take it all back.

I'm not uncomfortable any more.

Except, of course, for the 'jail' thing.

12/19/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger bridgett said...

One other drawback of providing our daughters with TMI re: tampons: one discovers, in one's hour of need, that one's daughter (not saying this happened to me, mind you) had chosen that very day -- nay, that very hour -- to completely plug up the bathroom sink by stuffing the last of mommy's tampons down the drain to make them do that neat swelling up thing that Mom had demonstrated the week before.

In my house, there are many messes...

12/19/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Haha, my introduction to tampons was something like this. I got my period right around the time we started swimming in gym class. I told them, "I can't swim, I have my period." They told me I needed to use tampons, and to get my butt into the pool. I freaked out and started crying because I had never even *heard* of tampons before.

They let me stay out of class that time, but I had to figure out how to use them the next day. So I bought a box and spent the better part of an hour trying to figure it out.

I have no idea why it never occurred to me to ask my mom.

12/19/2005 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aunt B, I've been reading you ever since I googled up "honyock". My Gma used that term frequently, and I never really understood what it meant.....but I understood the tone! I too have an odd dog (lab/chow mix that I got as a pound dog) and 2 cats. My man isn't the butcher...I call him Mr. Mike.
This tampon thing hit me so, I have 4 sisters, and Mom worked nights. Daddy had to deal with all of us, and he did admirably. He called tampex..Mouse matresses, and he called tampons corks.
I look forward to reading your postings, and those of sarcasot and professor. Thanks for the smiles. otherChristy

12/19/2005 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

The whole time I was reading this post, I thought for sure it was leading up to this.

12/19/2005 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger grandefille said...

Lord God.

Just thank your stars that they'd already quit using the belt and the pads with the long tails by the time you were taught.

I just about excommunicated myself from womandom right there, in the purple tiled bathroom, holding that little hot pink "Becoming A Woman" box and booklet from Kotex with my mouth agape and my legs crossed.

Fortunately, my exceptionally wise mum was up on the latest thang and said, "This is what they sent you in a kit? Have they not been to their own aisle in the store? You're not using that. Come on." And we proceeded to the local IGA's "feminine products" aisle and got me some o' those newfangled stickum kinda pads. Whew.

I subsequently discovered tampons on my own, bought them with babysitting money and allowance and read the owner's manual to install. (They were "Pursettes," the O.B. of their day.) When my mom realized I was using tampons, she said, "But you can't ... you're a ... oh. Well, you're already using them, so never mind."

By the way, the O.B. are not as scary when demonstrating. Just sayin'.

I hope your friend's mom didn't use that Windex-colored fluid to demonstrate absorbency. I actually had a friend who expected to see blue, thanks to the wonder of Madison Avenue. Ew.

12/19/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

As always, I am a little late to the party, but this made me laugh out loud. I may have just fallen in love with Christy.


12/21/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

oh. my. goodness.
Since everyone has a tampon story here's mine:
canoe trip.
girl scout camp.
no stores.
nothing in first aid kit but tampons.
went deep in woods while best friend read directions to me from many feet away.
much easier with indoor plumbing and electricity.

12/21/2005 04:21:00 PM  

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