Sunday, July 4, 2010
It's Wonderful Being a Girl?!?
***WARNING: this blog is filled with semi-frank, OOGEY talk about MENSTRUATION. You have been warned!
I wish, OH how I wish, I could find an image of the completely asinine pamphlet I received from school in grade 6. I think it was grade 6 at least... Anyway, I have searched and searched online in vain, and it may have triggered memories for some of you girls too. It was a pamphlet all the girls were given after a lovely session of SEX ED. On the front of, or inside the pamphlet, as I recall, was a drawing of a girl applying lipstick, and flowers swirled all around her. The pamphlet was titled:
It's Wonderful Being a Girl
and it was filled with info on all the non-wonderful SH*T we girls would soon enter into. It told all about menstruation; cycle of, what to expect, necessary parephernalia, etc. It even had this retarded little Q&A section at the end. I'm going by memory here:
Question: "what happens if a boy asks me to go swimming?" (girl's world has temporarily come to a screeching hault thanks to her PERIOD, and clearly she doesn't wear tampons)
Answer: "Just tell him you can't. He'll understand."
GOOD ONE! Did anyone ever meet a 12 or 13 year old boy who did understand? As I recall, all the boys in my class were so mystified by menstruation, that they never had a clue if you vaguely told them; "I can't go swimming." "Why not?" "Because I can't!" "BUT WHY???" That Stupid pamphlet--now every time I'm curled up into a ball of pain on my bed, hugging a hot water bottle and waiting, JUST WAITING for that ibuprofen to kick in, that pamphlet floats into my head. Every time I'm scrubbing stains out of EVERYTHING, I think of that pamphlet. I also think of it whenever I'm sobbing for no apparent reason a few times a month. Good times.
Let's travel back to when I was 11 and first started to learn about this crap. I learned all of it from school. There was no way in hell my mother was ever going to sit down and have a rewarding conversation about body junk with me. She was from an era of secrecy and shame about involuntary bodily processes. Dirty, dirty, girls! So, I guess I did learn something at school eh? Anyway, all the boys got to go to the library, where they had an eye-opening earthy chat with the principal, and the girls got to suffer through a torturous horror film about a young girl's journey into womanhood. I don't recall a lot about that movie, but I do remember being totally freaked when they showed the old maxi pad and belt contraption (nearly obsolete by the time I journeyed into womanhood). I thought; how on earth am I ever going to be able to figure out how to fanangle that??? It looked as complicated as stringing a guitar. Terrifying. Then the movie ended and we all got that magical little pamphlet. It was like a ticket into a secret society, and my unwitting, naive girlfriends and I couldn't WAIT to get in. Poor little fools.
I was the first of all my friends to get my period. What's hilarious is that one of my friends was JEALOUS. CAN YOU IMAGINE? I felt like I was somehow special. 26 years later, I don't feel so freaking special anymore. Now, here was the problem: the pads were kept downstairs in the pantry as I recall when I was growing up. Because this was A GREAT SECRET AND EMBARASSMENT, each month I'd have to wait till the COAST WAS CLEAR, and scoot down to make off with some feminine protection like some kind of thief. Ridiculous.
I always liked the urban myths that travelled around through my highschool years. There'd always be a horror story about SOME GIRL who GOT HER PERIOD IN CLASS and she was always, always wearing white pants, or white shorts, or a white skirt. Oh, the mortification!
Recently when my red buddy showed up, I decided that I am officially sick of it. Yeah, that's right--sick of it. Normally I don't think about it much because it's an unavoidable fact of life. It also seems to be an unavoidable fact of life that a girl will schedule every vacation and important event to directly coincide with their periods, and every girl will have to haul a small suitcase full of LADY LUGGAGE in addition to their clothes and toiletries. That's right--an entire bag dedicated to tampons and pads. I dropped 30 bucks at the drugstore recently, and it was all on TAMPONS AND PADS. Now that ticks me off. We HAVE to buy the stuff, but it's expensive. Grumble, grumble. I suppose I could buy the cheaper stuff--the nice economy pads I grew up using, but now in my older age I like nice details like "ultra thin," and "wings" and "dry weave" and other f$cked up details. So, I don't get the large, generic bag that screams MAXI PADS. Also, even though I'm getting close to 40, and really should no longer give a crap, I still inwardly sighed when the cash with the shortest line was worked by a young guy. Hey, she's got two boxes of tampons (one: EXTRA HEAVY FLOW, HOORAY!) and two bags of the longest pads that we sell (too bad they don't sell any that sweep from belly button to top of the crack). Super! Maybe I should have added a laxative to the pile just for fun. Sigh.
But like I was saying; I'm tired of it. That's nearly 30 years of bodily inefficiency if you ask me. Think about it: 26 years of menstruating, and 2 kids. GET A CLUE, BODY! How come at some point my body didn't just say; "hey, she's really not using this thing, so I'm just going to dry it up and SHUT IT DOWN.
I've got a vacation coming up this summer, and what do you know--the first day of my vacation, on the calendar, has a little star beside the date. I think we all know what that star indicates, don't we girls. Despite my efforts of mental imaging and meditation, I'll be packing that extra bag.
But what am I complaining about?? IT'S WONDERFUL BEING A GIRL!