Since you regular readers are four of my very best friends, and based on what I’ve read on some other blogs, it’s clear we’re all comfortable with a little TMI, I’m going to put this out there.
I am 45 years old, and I am still embarrassed when I have to
There. I said it.
I know, "it" happens to almost all women (except those lucky
bitches who have, one way or another, rid themselves of the massive pain in the
ass that is the monthly menstrual cycle; I long
for menopause), and it’s a natural part of life and blah blah blah, but I can’t
help it. I reach for that box of Tampax, or that package of Stay Free Maxi Pads,
and I’m fourteen years old again. Why don’t I just wear an enormous sign that
says, “GUESS WHAT TIME OF THE MONTH IT IS
FOR ME?” What's more, inevitably when I'm buying them, every fucking guy in the entire store needs something that's on the same aisle with the feminine products. I can feel their eyes following me as I make sure I get the right things (yes, I know, not really, but that's how it feels, you know?). Creeps.
Yes, I have given birth three times, with all the delicacy
and modesty that implies. The first time I started a vaginal birth, and I’m
convinced that every single person who worked in that hospital, with the possible
exception of the woman who ran the gift shop and one of the part time
maintenance guys (he wasn’t working that day), stuck their head between my
knees and had a look at my…you know. I ended up with an emergency C-section,
which meant that the twenty three people in the operating room got to look not
only at The Place We Mean When We Talk About Feeling Not So Fresh, but at what
that looked like from the point of view of my unborn child. It was a very
special moment for all of us, I’m sure. I know it was for me. Fortunately 17
hours of labor had kind of dulled my sense of embarrassment (that, plus there
were all those people who’d already seen everything anyway, so there wasn’t
much more I could offer them in the way of oversharing).
And god help me when I’m buying these things and the checker
is a man. I’ve been known to go to another store to avoid having to have a guy
check me out.
I was in New England a few weeks ago when A Need Arose. I
was running an errand (OK, fine, I was
going to the liquor store—and really, Massachusetts, please join the rest of us in the 21st
century and sell wine in the goddamned grocery stores) and figured I’d
pop in someplace and pick up a box of tampons. I looked for a CVS or similar
and when I came up
short, was forced to seek out a convenience store for the task. (Dear Town of North Andover, feel free to reach out to CVS and suggest a location for them in your area. You have the world’s worst Cracker Barrel—it was worse than any other one I’ve been in, and that’s saying something because Cracker Barrel is pretty nasty to start with, but this one literally made me barf—but you don’t seem to have a drug store? That’s just weird. If nothing else, your residents need access to Pepto Bismol and Tums to help them get over eating at that shitty Cracker Barrel. Love, Me.)
I knew I was going to be annoyed at the selection a convenience
store would have. Most likely the only thing that would be available would be “Regular.”
Since I’m clearly going full TMI on you poor folks today, I’ll just share that I’m
more of a “Super Plus” kinda gal most of the time. We’ll leave it at that. I
want you to be able to come back here without fear that you’ll be subjected to
too many graphic details.
There was a convenience store next to the liquor store, so I
checked it out. Sure enough, the checker was a guy. Well, fuck that. Next.
I drove back toward the hotel in which we were staying, and remembered
there was a gas station with an attached convenience store. Since I was running
out of time, as well as options, this was it, and if there was a male checker,
well, that was just going to be how it was.
Guess what? There was not a male checker. There were two goddamned male checkers. And a male
customer who stuck his head around the point of sale display between us to look
for a different flavor of Copenhagen or Trident or something just as I had gently and
discretely laid my intended purchase on the counter in front of Butch (I’m
assuming he was wearing his own shirt, and therefore the name on the tag was
Here’s the really shitty thing: I blush.
If I get embarrassed because I think I’ve made a mistake, or
because I feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about (these two
things happen regularly at work), or if I just feel like I’ve said something
stupid, I turn bright red. Naturally this also happens when I feel like I’m in
an awkward situation. Like, oh, I don’t know, buying tampons from a guy named
Butch in a convenience store and having a male customer stick his head around
and see exactly what I’m buying. You know, hypothetically speaking something
like that would make me blush. And when I feel myself blush, I feel stupider
than I did when the thing that made me blush happened, which I’m sure makes me
blush more. I hate my blood vessels.
It’s clear that like my dislike of eggplant, or lack of
interest in Science Fiction, this embarrassment over the purchase of feminine products is not something I’m going to “get over” when
I get older. In fact, I suspect that the only thing that will enable me to get
over this is actual menopause. I’ll spare you the gory details of how things are
going in that department. I’ve probably done enough oversharing for one post.
Or one lifetime. So I guess I shouldn't add that it’s been
recommended that I get an IUD. Oops. Sorry about that. I’ll stop talking
now. I think that’s for the best. I’ve started blushing, and that’s usually an
indicator that I should just shut up.