When I was growing up, nice girls didn’t talk about things like Aunt Flo. I guess it was just assumed that we’d pick up what we needed to know by osmosis, or divine enlightenment, when the time came.
While I did receive a fair amount of intel from listening to the stall-speak in the girls’ room, there were still so many things that I ended up having to learn through trial and error. Which is why I sort of went overboard with my own offspring whenever the topic of Aunt Flo would come up—even resorting to the occasional use of visuals. (Words won’t do justice to answers to questions such as: “Why can’t women wear pads in pools?” and “What keeps a tampon from falling out?” But dropping those suckers in a bowl of water sure will!)
If we could talk as comfortably about the red tide as the smiling women in commercials do, life would be so much easier. But until the day comes when we’re all as giddy about menstruation as the ladies in a Stayfree® ad, maybe our schools should just add an advice chapter to the Sex Ed 101 curriculum, saving countless young ladies from permanent emotional scarring.
Drawing on generations of pubescent pain, I think that the perfect Menstruation Manual would look something like this:
Tips for a Less Emotionally-Scarring Period
String placement is an important decision. Because trying to walk when that sucker’s gotten caught in the leg hole of your underwear becomes a game of tug-of-war that nobody wins.
Make sure you’re on good terms with the interior of your lady parts before trying a menstrual cup. There are no words for the flow of awkward that occurs with the combination of a tilted cervix, a poorly sealed cup, and standing up suddenly after an hour of sitting.
Make sure you have a solid seal on the pad-to-panty equation before tucking in for the night. Forget removing a Band-Aid. The REAL pain in this world comes from the ripping-off of a dislodged lady-diaper from an untrimmed trim.
A working knowledge of the various products is your best friend. If you plan on being shy or secretive when it comes to telling your mom that you’ve “become a woman,” be sure to learn the difference between a sanitary napkin and a panty liner. This knowledge just might save your social life, not to mention your favorite pair of white pants.
No matter how much it hurts, violence is never the answer. The educational handouts might make it look like testicles are nothing more than outdoor ovaries, but hitting a guy there to explain how it feels here is not an acceptable way to describe menstrual cramps. (Even if it might elicit secret smiles from your mom and female teachers.)
While we’re on the subject of menstrual education, it might not be a bad idea for Continuing Education centers to offer an advanced course for new moms. Let’s face it—kids really open a whole new world of unforeseen problems. The course might cover such topics as:
Always keep supplies on hand. Even though artfully-folded paper towels and duct tape might “do in a pinch,” the mental pain and suffering they are sure to bring will last a lifetime.
Always store your items in a secure location. While watching your offspring’s impromptu parade is adorable, it becomes costly when it’s led by a Kotex-covered mummy launching tampons into the air like so many be-stringed rockets.
In a perfect Carefree® world, we mothers will be able to talk to our daughters, casually passing on a lifetime of wisdom without all the stuttering, fumbling, and faces turning as red as . . . well, you know. But until that day comes, I guess there’s always therapy.
(Pssst. We have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to lady bits. Of course we do.)