I hadn’t had my period since February 10, 2001.
I knew this because the date was etched indelibly in my mind, along with the day I gave birth, my daughter’s first day of preschool, both of the “special” days involving my marriage vows, and that horrible, traumatic night my boss took me to a swingers’ party (or what he thought was a swinger’s party).
All of these moments have long resided in my “Memory Hall of Fame,” and you can probably guess that the day I thought my period had ended for good was always one of my favorites.
Sadly, my period had not ended for good. I thought it had; my friend (let’s call her “Aunt Flo” for old times’ sake) hadn’t made a visit in over a year, and I was pretty sure she had gone on permanent vacation. But suddenly, there I was in a concert hall, on a toilet in the ladies’ room, when she arrived for a surprise visit.
“Oh, God!” I cried out, scrambling through my purse for what I already knew wasn’t there. And not only was I unprepared, the dispensers on the wall were also empty.
I envisioned myself walking back to my seat with a wad of toilet paper between my legs, my butt pinched tighter than the clenched fist of a miserly old woman. But God must have heard my cry, because within five minutes, Aunt Flo suddenly left the building. She’d rushed in like an old friend who’d forgotten something important she had to take care of, but only had a few minutes to spare.
And then she was gone.
Perhaps her visit was just to remind me of all the time we’d spent together, and to assure me that just because she was no longer a part of my life, it didn’t mean I was any less of a woman. But her plan had backfired. All she’d reminded me of was how many times I had forgotten to carry a tampon when I was younger—times when I’d really needed one.
Back then, we hadn’t had to remember to take many things with us. There’d been no cell phones. No iPads. No iPods. No laptops. Not even debit cards. All we’d needed was our wallets and some lipstick.
So why had it been so hard for me to keep that necessary item—the emergency tampon—in my purse at all times? By not being prepared, had I been hoping that Aunt Flo would delay her visit for a little while?
I don’t have the answer to that question.
But I do know that look when I see it on the faces of other women. The look of fear and embarrassment. The one that asks, “What’s wrong with me? How can I be so forgetful?” The one that swears, “As God is my witness, I will never leave the house without a tampon again.” The one that says, “I have a toilet seat cover jammed between my legs.”
Ladies, just know that if this ever happens to you, you’re not alone. You are part of an exclusive club of women who have gambled and lost. And waddled away with a gigantic stack of brown paper towels in their panties.
And don’t forget the best part—you’ve got a hilarious story to share with your friends.
(Pssst. We have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to lady bits. Of course we do.)