I’ve had my period for the majority of my life at this point and generally speaking, I’m totally unphased by it. It doesn’t gross me out or even inconvenience me all that much—that is, until I have to go and buy tampons and start internally freaking out.
I can’t buy just tampons.
I grab the first pack I see, making sure it’s not the cheap cardboard brand (because how painful are those?) before hightailing it out of the feminine care aisle ASAP. Instead of heading up to the tills, I freeze. I can’t just buy tampons either; I have to buy something else to make it look more discreet. What goes with tampons? Toilet paper? Chocolate? I at least need something to hold that will cover the box.
Male cashiers are a no-no.
At the store I frequent, only one cashier is a woman but that’s fine by me—at least there’s someone there who understands the struggle. The problem is, her line is always a mile long. The only other open cashier is always a man and I just can’t do it. I always end up at the self-checkout in the end, which is the least embarrassing option anyway. Thank God I only have to do that once a month.
It’s like everyone can see into my soul.
When I go to buy tampons, I literally feel like I’m walking around with a sign on my forehead that reads, “Hey everyone, look at me! I’m on my period!” It’s downright embarrassing. I know this is probably just my issue and that most people aren’t even paying attention to my Tampax (and even if they are, they probably don’t care). Still, I just can’t shake that feeling of utter mortification.
Going late at night is better.
I usually try to buy my tampons at the same time I buy my other groceries. Why? Because it’s just that much more stuff I can use to hide the big elephant in the room. However, sometimes I hit up the pharmacy later at night when there are fewer people out and about and therefore less potential embarrassment to deal with.
Stockpiling tampons is a must.
To avoid all the awkwardness, sometimes I just get several months worth of tampon buying over at once. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals estimates that women will have about 450 periods in their lifetime. If I stockpile my tampon supply just right, I can go months without having to go back to buy more. I’d love it if I could buy a year’s worth in a single shop, but that might look a bit weird…
I hate when I have to sneak a tampon to the bathroom too.
Have you ever been in public and suddenly you know you have to get to the bathroom ASAP before you leak all over the place? Some kinds of tampons are small enough that you can shove right into your pockets, but what if you didn’t plan ahead? I’ve seen some girls carry around a small zipper pouch to store the goods in and I’ve done the same myself, but still. When I walk away with a small purse, it’s not hard to tell what I’m about to do and I can’t stand people knowing it.
Why the bright, fluorescent-colored packaging?
Speaking of having to be sneaky with your tampons, they really don’t make it any easier with their neon packaging. I don’t think having a period is anything shameful, but it’s certainly not worth a multicolored celebration! The packaging should be totally nondescript, I think. It’s a necessity, not a luxury.
I’m always mortified when a dude sees me with a tampon, for some reason.
Yeah, guys know that women have periods, but I still don’t want them knowing when I have mine and what I use for it. A while back, I’d stuffed a few tampons into my jacket pocket because I was going out for a while and figured I might need them. They ended up spilling out all over the floor in front of my dad and my grandpa and I just about died of embarrassment. I know it sounds immature but it’s how I felt.
I know deep down that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’m not the only one who struggles with these issues, right? I know deep down that I’m being silly and that I need to get over myself when I freak out about this stuff and I’m working on it. I’m just not quite there yet.
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