Monthly Archives: September 2011
Times like these I really wish I lived in Toronto! I’d totally love to support a night like this, particularly when this is the first-ever Tampon Tuesday to hit “near home”! If you live in Toronto or nearby, have some feminine hygiene supplies & time to spare, I’d highly recommend going to Jack Astor’s tonight (Tuesday, Sept 27, 2011) on 133 John St. from 5:00-7:30PM
Everyone is encouraged to bring tampons and/or feminine hygiene products for THE DAILY FOOD BANK
CTV will also be present at the event, so who knows – if you show up, you might be aired on TV!
I actually wonder whether that many guys will show up or whether this would mainly be a female-event. If anyone does end up going, I’d really like to know how it went down!
Gail Nyberg and Carolina Gutierrez will be there to host the event. For those who may be unfamiliar with what this is really all about…: “Tampon Tuesday is a unique way to gather with other women in your community to NETWORK. SOCIALIZE AND GO WITH THE FLOW.”
According to their “Tampon Counter” they’ve raised ~4000 boxes of tampons. The thing that seemed to catch my eye though is I noticed their banner tagline of, “Women helping women… one box at a time.” – well I guess that answers my question of whether male presence will really be welcomed, lol!
For those of you who are avid shoppers and have access to a Walmart, you would know that this past week was Walmart’s anniversary. As such, they featured many low-price products and paired with back-to-school and back-IN-school sales, they attracted many shoppers of all ages and gender. As I was walking through Walmart, it was almost like wading through the streets of a busy night in Hong Kong, pushing through throngs of people to get at the “sale bins”. Clearly Walmart was prepared, because many of the sale items were constantly available as I watched the associates fill the shelves again and again as the masses of people stepped away, revealing gaping holes where products used to sit. Of those sales, Walmart featured an assortment of Always pads, liners and Tampax tampons for $2.87/ea – however, with a limit of 6. Obviously if you have those families that have many females in the house, whether living with relatives or with many daughters, girls had stacked boxes and packages at the checkout counter. Let’s face it, a family with 3 girls (let’s just say a mother and 2 daughters), that’s already EIGHTEEN packs of pads/tampons that they would be eligible to buy within the limits.
I swear, while the prices of pads or tampons haven’t decreased, it seems like the quantity of them slowly get chipped away. For instance, the original Stayfree line had more pads per package than the current Thermocontrol series, even though the overall pricing structure hasn’t changed. I can understand developing newer products and technology costs money and that shoppers may be turned off at a price hike, but let’s not assume people buying stuff are blind. We know that every package, there’s a few less before and the price of the package is still the same. That morning, when I got to work, I noticed my Brandsaver coupons had arrived, one of which was a 75-cents off any Always product. Given that the only other sale of Always products I’ve seen so cheap was $2.77 (only on 2 days of the week though), I figured $2.87 -0.75 would be a pretty good price to pick up some pads and tampons. Since the other day I only recently stocked up a variety of pads to revisit and tampons to have one of my girls test for me, I was not in need of them. But as usual, I always have my girls and girlfriend in mind and since bebe isn’t a big Always fan, I decided to check up on some of my other girls to see if they needed a restock!
While I always feel comfortable when it comes to being in the feminine hygiene aisle or that I’m a part of my girls’ purchasing decision, I never flaunt my status loudly. Again, I love the fact my girls allow me to be part of their menstrual lives, so in public I never make a huge deal out of it. I also respect the general public where I know that menstruation and purchasing products is a very taboo thing, particularly when there’s a male presence. Therefore I still try to ensure that the people around me aren’t affected by undue pressure or embarassment. I picked up my cell phone while standing in front of the Tampax bin and quietly, but audibly asked one of my girls if she needed tampons. A few heads turned and because this was in the open-floor and not the aisle (because they were in bargain sections, not in the usual feminine hygiene “corner”), there were young, old, male, female and everyone in between who took a double-take to what I said over the phone. I know I’m Asian, but I also didn’t shout in my phone, but in such a tight environment because of such a busy day, people were close enough to hear. I remember my exact words, “Hey [friend’s name], I’m at Walmart right now and I noticed they have some Tampax Supers on sale… the umm.. cardboard ones, are you interested in me getting some for you?”
The looks I received, I couldn’t quite make out the thoughts running through people’s heads. I know that people depending on upbringing, age and culture, all see male-participation in menstruation very differently. I know for one thing my dad would go with my mom to buy these products, but would not carry them and would often tell my mom to stop swinging her bags if they had pads in them, because it would attract too much humiliating attention. Likewise, the older guys in my family would definitely not even be present to buy such products or even recognize the existence of feminine hygiene supplies. For me, periods are something to be loved, cherished and an opportunity for us guys to show a bit of care and extra pampering. Suffice to say, my friend said she was actually running low and would love it if I could buy a few boxes for her and she’d pay me back. While some finished looking, others pretty much watched me and listened in on the entire conversation I had over the phone… perhaps they were interested in why I seem to have no gripes about buying tampons so openly or that I would be the one to initiate an offer to my friend if she needed some. I smiled and said, “Sure. After I get them, I’ll drop them off in an hour or so, is that ok?” and then the call ended. I picked up 4 boxes, cradled them in my arm and walked around for a bit more before going to checkout and getting in my car.
Throughout that time, I asked myself, when people looked at me, was it a look of disgust, jealousy or even perversion? There’s been a few times when I’ve had female sales clerks or cashiers, that they seemed pleasantly surprized seeing my proactiveness or just willingness to carry around pads/tampons without sheltering them. On the occasion where the staff are feeling brave, they’ve even commented on how “lucky your girlfriend or wife must be” even though there are times I were buying them for myself, for one of my girls or whatnot. Surely, I know bebe appreciates that I can openly purchase these products with her and that she never needs to be afraid to ask me to buy them, or buy them in my presence. Ask yourself, the last time you saw a guy buying feminine hygiene products: what were your thoughts? Was it, “ewww, that’s so gross…” or “Aw, that’s nice of him…” or “Gee, I wonder what he does with those..”
If you’re an Always or Tampax fan and have access to a Walmart, the sale ends in 2 days so get them quick!
So now it sucks that I have to point out this brand in particular, but, it’s right-on-topic with what I want to speak about. Being an avid fan of periods, perhaps I may not be as bothered by the idea of menstrual fluid, the sight, smell or even presence of it – but others may be, whether male or female. I can understand the fear that some girls may be self-conscious about their own smell or might even feel disgusted about their own smell that they would consider using scented products. This doesn’t just have to do with scented tampons or pads, but there is also quite a market out there of women who feel that they need to “feel fresh” by using things like vaginal wipes or sprays. My question is, “is it really necessary?”
Yes, our body does not emanate the most beautiful smells. Even those who use fragrance soaps and perfume – let’s face it, WE do not naturally smell good, we are only masking our own natural body smell. Suffice to say, it doesn’t mean we should discard hygiene and let ourselves smell like crap, but our body, especially our sensitive areas like our pubic region don’t need to smell like flower petals. Furthermore, we all know that these scents are just chemicals, so why on earth would we even consider putting chemicals near our private areas? If you don’t wash your face regularly with acid, then you probably wouldn’t want to stuff a scented tampon in your vagina. Sure, the chemicals in those aren’t as harsh as acid, but the bottom line is… that they’re still chemicals.
For many women who still continue to use conventional feminine hygiene products, disposable pads and tampons – they’re already subjecting themselves to many foreign materials and using scented products is just like adding salt to a wound. I’ve managed to persuade most of my girls who uses scented products to stay away from them or for ones who are self-conscious to only use scented products when they feel that their period smell may be exposed easily. We all like to smell good, I’m not sure how many people on this world enjoy smelling bad if they had a choice, but scented feminine hygiene products aren’t the way to go. Honestly, even a pad or tampon that has been worn to the maximum and leaking, menstrual fluid smell would still be minimal. As a female, ask yourself, how many people would even be close to your vagina? Unless you work in the sex industry or as a stripper, would there be that many people close enough to your vagina where they’d be able to smell you? It’d be perhaps, your partner or at least someone whom you are comfortable enough to be so intimately close to – so is covering up the smell that important?
Let’s consider scented tampons for a moment. A tampon goes inside the vagina and stays there until it’s withdrawn and then thrown away. Please feel free to justify the reasoning of why a scented tampon is necessary because once you pull it out, it goes right into the garbage or down the toilet. Would the smell of menstrual flow for the 2 seconds prior to disposal be so bad where it’d be necessary to have a scented product? Also, I’ve seen my fair share of scented products and really, even the most scented product isn’t enough to completely mask the smell of the menstrual fluid. Don’t believe me? If you have the guts, try it yourself. Scented pads are pretty bad because the pad is already rubbing against your pubic region the whole day and with tampons, it’s sitting inside your body for up to 8 hours a day, times the number of tampons you use per day. We may enjoy the idea of our outer regions smelling good and thus, we use heavily scented soaps or feminine wipes, but why does the inside of the vagina need to smell good? Douching has been a long-standing practice, especially for some cultures or backgrounds – but did you know that douching should be something that’s done only on the recommendation of a doctor? Douching can be bad for the vagina because it may upset the delicate pH balance of the vagina.
As I mentioned, I don’t know of too many of my girls who use scented products so for those who do or have used them, for what reason do you prefer scented products? I know some products don’t come with a choice, for instance, Stayfree pads used to have both scented and unscented versions – but not anymore as the all come slightly scented. I can understand if you’ve used a certain product for so long where you don’t feel persuaded to change products, but for those who are using a product such as Playtex tampons where they do have scented and unscented products – why would you opt to use the scented, especially knowing that it truly is unnecessary (or unless you have reasons to deem it necessary)? This is not meant to entice an argument or to say that those who uses scented products as “wrong” – but rather, let us discuss the pros and cons and weigh them as to whether using scented products is a sound idea.
For the women who use liners on a daily basis to stay fresh, then perhaps I can under that manufactures want to add scent to it to encourage the idea that a good smell is the way you stay fresh. You can’t stay fresh just by relying on a scented pantiliner, but also with proper hygiene and changing of underwear on a regular or daily basis. I understand that some women get discharge regularly or have to deal with overactive vaginal lubrication, which sometimes doesn’t have the most pleasent smell or causes that “damp” feeling against your vagina, but yet, isn’t that the point of underwear? Underwear was meant to provide us with a buffer between our bodily fluids and the rest of the world. I looked up the “purpose of underwear” and one important point that came up is that underwear is to “support and protect your genital“. With that said, a bit of gunk on your underwear isn’t going to cause major issues unless you have a very heavy discharge or soaking issue, then, I can see the necessity of wearing a pantiliner regularly.
The vagina, just like any part of our body requires “breathing space” and using a pantiliner every day prevents that. Pantiliners, as part of a pre-menstrual and post-menstrual application is reasonable, but every day is almost excessive. Beyond the consideration of having your vagina stuffed up by products, also consider wearing underwear that’s more air permeable. Wearing breathable articles of clothing may make you think that just exposes your “smell” more, but by improving the OVERALL HEALTH of your pubic area, you are helping it, not hindering it.
Remember the reasons why you chose scented products in the first place, review it and see if it still really makes sense to stick with them! If you want to smell good, consider all your other healthier options.
After a hiatus due to a prolonged illness, I am not back in action! My next topic was inspired as I was purchasing some pads to test in Walmart, seeing the reactions of male significant others, and the discomfort that was expressed between couples down the feminine hygiene aisle. I tend to take my time in this aisle, so no doubt during the very busy “back to school” season, I saw both young and old couples alike, with the females vying for these items before heading off for school or as a regular stock-up. I’m not sure how to write this article using proper wording and being sensitive to those who have perhaps gone through sexual reassignment, hormonal injections, people who have chosen to live an alternate lifestyle or even lesbian couples (since they’d be both ‘comfortable’ with the idea of a menstrual period), so I’m just going to write this in my stance of what Canadian society defines to be a male-female relationship.
So as I’m browsing the typical feminine hygiene products, I see a lot of guys walking past me with really uneasy faces – some more obvious than others, but all seem to express common-ground with each other, “let’s get the hell out of here as soon as we can!” and you can tell, because the second they leave sight of that aisle, their posture corrects themselves, their faces are no longer flush-red and they resume normal motion speeds. Of course, there are the odd guy who wanders into that section who don’t even flinch and good for you, but whenever there are males in the aisle with their female partner or friend, you can tell there’s a large air of discomfort – perhaps for both the male and female! I would say in general, most of the people who purchase these items with their significant other is when they’re living common-law or married. I’ve asked my male and female friends whether their counterpart are willing to purchase pads/tampons with them and most of them said no, or said only in major emergencies would they even consider it. Suffice to say, these are exactly “statistically proven” figures, but simply through questioning people who I happen to know – which may very well differ from “credible numbers.” Case-in-point, I recently went with a coworker to Walmart during a sale for tampons and she bought them in my presence and I even carried it for her all through checkout. It was quite comfortable and because she recently found out about my “interests” in menstruation. She admitted though, that did she not know that I was, “not grossed out by periods” that she would’ve asked me to wait in the car or wouldn’t have even bought it when she was with me.
I remember when I bought pads with bebe for the first time, it was such a comfortable experience for us both… I suppose given that bebe has always known about my “interest” that it wasn’t exactly a shocker for her or that she wasn’t used to talking to me about it. We were standing in the aisle and we were openly discussing which pads I recommend and which ones she usually buys. When I was with my coworker, I didn’t give as much of my opinion, since she only knows a degree of my interest and since we definitely don’t share the same comfort-level over her period as bebe and I do, I didn’t want to be the one “giving her pointers” about which tampons I would recommend or whatnot.
So to the guys, how many of you would actually go with your partner to purchase feminine hygiene products and to the girls, how many of you would let your male partner accompany you to buy these products?
Naturally, guys may feel uncomfortable in this aisle because it’s foreign to them and perhaps a bit embarrassing. After all, guys would not be accustomed to going down this aisle since they have no need for these products, therefore being there is almost like being that one guy who walks into a girls-only school or something. Sometimes, when a guy walks into this aisle, he gets a lot of looks from the females too, although luckily I haven’t been a victim myself of those “disapproving-stares” walking in… perhaps I look natural, lol. Once the guy “detects” the discomfort from others in the air, he will often try to escape quickly, for instance, you’ll often see guys trying to push the cart away, glance at other “non feminine hygiene things”, play with items inside the cart or he’ll put pressure onto his female partner to hurry up so they can leave. This is unfair as well to the female since she needs time to look at her options and choices and after all, shopping should be a pleasure and enjoyment right? We should not be rushed to make decisions. Guys will often look disgruntled as well for being in the aisle and you can tell the sigh of relief they have once they exit the section. It’s a privilege and an opportunity for us guys to be able to join our female partners to buy these items. It shows that they have comfort and trust and also it’s an opportunity for us to learn about our partner/periods. Remember that the discomfort may actually be two-way and the more discomfort you show as a male partner, the more your female counterpart may feel embarrassed, pressured or upset. Most females are quite open to buying male items, so why should we as guys feel embarrassed to accompany our female partners to buy her products? Don’t forget that for some women, it’s hard for them even to buy these items for themselves, so we should not heighten their existing discomfort as it is.
For the females, how comfortable are you when you buy these products with your male significant other? Do you let him pressure you into buying things faster, ask him to go look at something else or do you just take your time despite his discomfort? I saw an older man, who was buying some pads with his wife and he kept on pointing his cart out the aisle. The second his wife turned around and dropped one of the packages in the cart and while she turned around to choose another, the guy was already half-bolting out the aisle. The woman had to yell after her husband and told him to wait because she was not done. The guy sighed in exasperation and turned around and now with the extra attention attracted towards him now, the situation became even more embarrassing as you could see the man’s face going red like a tomato. A female entered the aisle shortly later and was browsing some tampons. I assume her partner came in (not sure if it’s a boyfriend or husband), but he wandered over and stood there with her. This guy seemed a lot more comfortable, but the girl did not. She stopped browsing and kind of glanced around – and gave the guy a really disapproving look. It appeared he didn’t clue in and it was clear she couldn’t comfortably concentrate on looking at her products with the guy’s presence. She prodded the guy to go, but he said to her, “I’m done getting what I need, just waiting for you now” – but the girl still asked the guy to go elsewhere. It was just kind of unfortunate that she was not comfortable with him being there. One could argue maybe they’re not that close, but looking at their buggy, they definitely seemed like a “couple” based on some of the stuff they bought together. Therefore, when it comes to buying feminine hygiene items, discomfort can and does exist on both sides of the fence.
Let’s all try to make shopping for ANY item a comfortable experience and be reasonably inclusive of each other, especially if there’s a relationship involved. If this person will be or already is a “special someone” in your life, then buying feminine hygiene items together should not be alarming. Achieving equality should be for both genders, not just women. After all, it’s pretty typical for women to buy male underwear, but yet, when a guy goes to buy female panties, he is likely viewed as a creep, pervert and is generally frowned. When a female buys male underwear, people will assume it’s for her son, boyfriend or husband, but when a male buys it, people will probably think it’s for him to wear or masturbate in, but not that he’s simply buying it for his daughter, girlfriend or wife. When you show patience and comfort with your partner as you shop with him/her, it makes the experience so much better and is fair to everyone. If she patiently waits for you to pick your choice of condoms, why should you not patiently wait for her to choose the right product so she doesn’t bleed all over you? 😆