Vagina and I have always been at odds. Our relationship was never the cheery, pantyliner commercial I was led to believe it would be. She’s erratic and has zero concern for my needs. At age ten, Vagina inflicted upon me a sick little prank. Doctors and family claimed it was “perfectly natural” and “no big deal.”
They called it menstruation. I called it felony harassment.
After enduring her filthy antics for years, I made a reasonable request: “Vagina, can you just go away? SHOO! And take all that blood with you. SHOO!!!”
Vagina took offense, and proceeded to fling blood here, there, everywhere, burdening me with very embarrassing “polka dot pant” moments in public. Any idea how laborsome coordinating ensembles with surprise-blood-polka dots are? Answer: VERY LABORSOME.
Soon enough, I joined the American workforce. Having to feign being a capable adult-woman-person, no longer could I run to the bathroom every two hours to check on Vagina’s bloodshed. In order to avoid disciplinary action for having a hemorrhaging vag, I was forced to accept that cute girly feminine products were not manufactured with me in mind.
FLASHBACK: In high school, I ask my friend for a pad. She grabs one from her purse and places it in my palm.
Where is it?
Oh. That’s your pad? I thought it was a Saltine’s single.
(Good thing I wasn’t hungry.)
To help other menstruationally-challenged women, below are my adventures-in-bleeding field notes. I hope you find the method that best suites your vag needs.
Over-night Jumbo Extra Absorbent Pads: Vagina has gone bonkers and I need a minimum of two jumbo pads to restrain her. I am positive she will not escape the confines of these jumbo pads! The catch? I feel as if I’m smuggling a brick of cocaine between my legs. But it’s all shame and no thrill. My ass also appears to have grown a smaller, and extremely saggy, third butt cheek.
This jumbo-pads method works for a few years, but soon enough, Vagina finds her escape route…
Heavy Flow Tampons: At the age of twenty, jumbo pads aren’t jumbo enough. Plus, there is no way I’ll ever get a date with this third butt cheek thing. And so, I purchase my first box of tampons. Tampons have a reputation for being leak-proof; this seems too good to be true. It was.
Inserting my first tampon brought the unwanted realization that I am only 80% sure where my vagina is located.
AND WHY DOES THIS HURT SO MUCH? OMG I HAVE TO TAKE IT OUT. Having lost my virginity to a tampon, I begin to imagine our future; horseback riding with tampon, swimming at the beach with tampon. Wow. Tampon and I were meant for each other!
Interlude: Vagina wants me dead. She’s hit me with a month-long period and the doctors have diagnosed me with anemia, prescribe birth control pills, and mention I never have to menstruate again. Oh sweet, sweet modern medicine! You have saved me from my Vagina!
For about a year.
Then my health insurance no longer allows me to skip the placebo pills. I was going through the birth control “too quickly.” It was as if birth control access was restricted by people who never dealt with menstruation. Hmm.
And the desperate experimentation continues…
The Tampon & Pad Duo: Vagina cannot be corralled by tampon alone. Rising from a chair, I must check for blood splatter. Walking, I not-so-casually brush my palm across my ass to assure there is no bloody polka dot. I am known around the water cooler for having absolutely no love life, so coworkers must think I’m partaking in an office romance with myself (they’re not wrong). I fantasize about adult diapers and the possible liberation they’d bring.
Menstrual Cup: At twenty-eight, I could locate my vagina 100% of the time, and a new product put my skills to the test! For a mere $39.95, I have hope that 1) the blood will stay neatly INSIDE my womanly orifice and 2) my reduction in single-use hygiene products will make up for not recycling! Two days later: I am tossing this dunce cap of a cup because 1) inserting into my hole is NOT easy 2) I swear it tore something 3) the blood did NOT stay put. I wonder if I can get a refund.
Adult Diapers: Changing out the tampon-pad duo every hour can’t be normal. The ER doc confirms this suspicion. I left the ER with my second anemia diagnosis, and a newfound determination to obtain adult diapers. The pharmacy has a lovely display. Oh, they come in different colors now? For $11.99, the Menstrual Blood Gates may release and I no longer risk coworkers happening upon a blood trail going from my chair to the bathroom.
Here’s the thing about adult diapers – all shame is obliterated once you luxuriate in the ultimate plushness that is adult diapers! Adult diapers are the security and protection I was searching for all these years! The downside? I look 10 lbs. fatter in the ass area, but this is nothing after enduring a fake third butt cheek!
It was the Depo-Provera shot that finally freed me from my menstruating hell. Pushing age 30 and on the hunt for a man who’ll pet my hair and feed me chocolate, I worried adult diapers may dampen the romance factor (though diapers DO come in black now). I am forever grateful for adult diapers and their seemingly endless absorbency powers. And if this dating thing doesn’t work out, it’s entirely possible I’ll return to adult diapers’ warm embrace.