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Periods/Menstruation For The Single Dad

I thought this might be a very useful post, though I have to admit I’m not a parent nor someone who has had to raise a child with no female support. Before embarking on this post, I have done my research as well as talk to fellow single-fathers, including one of my gay male friends who has adopted a young girl. At some point or another, most of these men will have to explain the intricacies of menstruation to their little (but growing) girl. With menarche beginning at an earlier age than ever before, these men will be challenged ever so much with handling their daughter(s) period, particularly when their daughter is too young to even fully grasp the concept. Also, never having periods ourselves, it only makes our job that much harder and not even able to have experienced what periods feel like. Nevertheless, not having the experience, doesn’t mean we still can’t be prepared. Rather than concentrate this post on saying, “What is the wrong action to take” or “How to do it the right way” I hope this entry will provide some tidbits on how I would feel if I were stuck in such a situation. Every person is different so while one method may work for one, others may not. With the age of which girls are starting their periods, it might be hard for us now to rely on schools to provide the education. In our province, the revised Sexual Education curriculum was dropped due to objections from religious groups (don’t even get me started on this), so you’re much better off as a parent (or parents) to provide your own and proper education.

Part of making your own job easier as a father having to talk to your daughter about menstruation is to foster a close enough relationship with her where she feels comfortable talking to you about it. This type of relationship is not something that builds overnight, but something that must start from day one with your child. I understand in situations where a man has suddenly lost his female companion that he would not have thought about having the bear the responsibilities of a single dad, but certainly, why would you not want to build a strong relationship with your own daughter anyways? It is my hope that should I have a daughter(s), that they will not only feel comfortable talking about their bodies and menstrual health with their mom, but also myself. Being a part of their well-being from birth will stress to them that daddy is also available to talk just because we have not experienced the same thing. I understand some people will argue that as a male who has never experienced menstruation, what place would we have to be a part of educating a female on menstruation… but just because you’ve never been shot before, doesn’t mean you don’t know a bullet is painful (that comparison wasn’t meant to denote the relationship between a gunshot wound to menstruation, that was strictly a coincidence).

The next point is about educating yourself. Whether you had a female partner or not at some point in your life, menstruation may still be a very abstract thing for you. With the world of the internet, you no longer had to be like me, hide in the corner of a library and read up on the female body and menstruation and turn red as people walked past me. There are plenty of resource articles (many which are more professionally written than this) on menstruation which you can learn from. Before you can really make your little girl feel comfortable expressing her own worries to you, you must at least know a bit about her body as well! If you show discomfort, it will only convey to her that her body is something to be shameful over and that a natural bodily function like menstruation is not something “normal”. I’m sure that as a single father, there must be at least some sort of female support you may have, friends, family or whatnot who you can turn to for help should you want some anecdotal knowledge. I’m also sure a medical practitioner would also be able to assist should you not be capable of assisting your daughter fully.

Periods aren’t a curse nor something “bad” – and periods happen for a reason. One of the single dads I talked to told me that when his daughter grows up, he’ll try to persuade her into “getting rid of her period” either by surgery or through hormonal control. I was really taken aback by this because it almost seemed like because he didn’t want to deal with his daughter’s period that he wanted to simply make it a non-issue. Something also seemed unusual that he would be making such an important decision on behalf of his daughter, even though it isn’t like she has a disability where she wouldn’t otherwise be able to make an informed decision. Getting rid of menstruation is a very big thing and I think it should be something up to the girl to decide on, unless she’s incapable of doing so. The start of your daughter’s period is something to be happy about, she’s becoming a grown woman and it indeed provides an extra opportunity for father-daughter bonding. Yes, it might come with some pains and tears, but you should always have an open arm and receptive ears for her to come to in time of need. Don’t forget that as uncomfortable as you may be having to do the “period-talk” that it’s only twice as bad for her.

Menstrual education should start young to build comfort and knowledge. I’m not necessarily saying to remove all childhood carefree life, but certainly a slow introduction of reproductive health might help sooth the way to discussing menstruation. In fact, one thing I’d really take advantage of is a “doctor, dad and daughter” talk at a regular visit. With the presence of a medical professional, it will ensure accurate knowledge and it will show that daddy is both learning so that he can teach and be comfortable with menstrual talk. Much of the male disgust behind menstruation stems from generations of misinformation and misunderstanding. Would we rather our future generations live in ignorance or in knowledge?

Parenting is a very difficult thing and though I am not yet a parent, I have already seen many friends and family alike who have sent the fear of parenthood through my spine. One day, I will meet parenthood with both anxiousness and fear, for it is an opportunity to grow, learn and teach all at the same time. I know that teaching children is beyond what I can comprehend right now. In my opinion, I would try to teach my children about sexual education through age-appropriate means (which would vary between child-to-child, some are more knowledge/mature than others). To scare a child into knowing something they’re not prepared for would only cause terror and ruin a carefree childhood. At the same time, not preparing them means they will meet fear face-to-face. Even if I did not go into details about menstruation with my daughter, I would definitely make her aware that should she begin menses, that she should let me or mom know and that ‘bleeding’ from her vagina is not a sign of injury. As with most guys, we consider bleeding to be a source of injury and pain (which is not ALWAYS the case with menstruation), therefore it already makes a “bad association” in our minds. I want to convey to the guys out there that menstruation, while resembling a cut, is nothing even close to it. I actually find that blood from injuries tend to cause more fear and disgust than menstruation does… or rather, I should correct myself and say that I don’t fear or feel disgusted at menstruation at all, but then that’s just me 😆

To be honest, it’s hard to have “sex talk” with your child, let alone something so very intimate such as menstruation. As a single-father, it becomes even harder as a result of the lack of female support. However, know that you are not alone and if you do a simple Google search, there are MANY men out there who are all brave like you to raise a daughter (or even daughters) on your own! Your daughter might even feel embarrassed to talk to you about it, so you must be receptive and at times if you feel she might already have had her period, try to strike up a conversation about it. Your daughter might be more apt to answer “yes I did get my period” than to have to bring the topic up herself.  Of course you don’t want to be the dad that hounds her to see if and when she got her period, but then you also want to ensure the channels of communication are available and that if she’s not going to approach you, that there are telltale signs of menstruation. Unless she’s hiding her disposed feminine hygiene products (including wrappers, applicators, etc), there will usually be some noticeable evidence. If you don’t want to be upfront with your approach of asking her, a simple trip to the supermarket with her could be an opportunity to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle casually and inquire as to whether she needs anything. Sometimes the best conversation is no conversation, if she does need something and she doesn’t look like she’s in the mood to talk, just let her place what she needs in the cart/basket and off you go!

Other than a leak the next embarrassing thing might just be having to purchase your own feminine hygiene supplies. When I asked most of my girls, they sometimes dread buying pads and tampons more than even bleeding through panties! Why? Because at least you can hide leaks, you can’t hide such obvious purchases! For most of my girls, I quelled those fears pretty fast, either with them or without. I have always been around for (well at least most) my girls and I typically will go out and buy their feminine hygiene supplies before/during their period. They were always able to rely on me as an “older brother” or even my bebe lets me buy her stuff for her. With that said, me buying their stuff has actually helped them get over the fear, because hell, if I’m a guy and buying “this stuff” – wouldn’t it be even more natural for a girl to be buying it? Likewise, as a father, buying your daughter’s feminine hygiene products is an essential demonstration to her. First of all, there should be at all times available feminine hygiene supplies in the house AND she needs to know where they are (better yet, even know how to use it). Keeping some in multiple places might be beneficial, in her room, in the bathroom and perhaps in a closet of some sort. Heck, sometimes removing the discreteness of these products in the bathroom help encourage openness. I have been to some of my friends house where they OPENLY have pads or tampons in the bathroom. Depending on how comfortable your daughter is with discussing her menstrual cycle with you, it might even be possible to encourage her to try various brands and types of protection. Again, the internet is a great resource and having some knowledge on these products (such as the differences between pads/tampons/liners, wings/no wings, and proper usage) will truly help her.

Don’t forget, buying feminine hygiene products for your daughter is something to be proud of and that any loving father would do. You’d be surprized how many guys do it and if you actually spend a day in a supermarket, you’re likely to see quite a very occurrences of it. A lot of the time, we just sometimes don’t notice these things and pretend it doesn’t happen, but in reality, I’ve seen many guys buy these items before on their own. The great thing about being a guy and buying feminine hygiene products is that people will never assume it’s for you! So what’s there to be ashamed of right?!

I know I often put a lot of emphasis on disposable products and that’s truly unfair. However, I think certainly disposable pads and tampons are where most women start off anyways. Once your daughter becomes accustomed with taking care of her own body and handling her menstrual cycle, another great option for those who want to penny-pinch is to consider reusable products. Not only do you save a lot of money ($$$), it is also a great way to teach your daughter to become “in-tune” with herself, be eco-friendly and encourage great bodily health. If you’ve never thought of how much you (and your daughter) could really be saving, consider taking a look at this great chart provided by Lunapads (http://lunapads.com/why-switch#cost-savings). In my own opinion, I have found that many women who use reusable products often are much more open-minded about menstruation and female body/health.

For those who live in Canada or the US, you can also consider a great menstrual resource like Bepreparedperiod and particularly their store should you rather be able to purchase pads/tampons for your daughter online or even schedule recurring deliveries. If you or your daughter believes that tampons are going to be part of your menstrual repitroire, ensure that she is aware of the potential dangerous of tampon usage. It is both your responsibilities to ensure that proper usage knowledge is understood, particularly due to the potential of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), a deadly viral infection. You can read more about TSS and the realities of it at YouAreLoved. I see many forum posts of girls who ask, “How do I talk to my dad about my period?” so make sure you validate your daughter’s concerns as being valid and that you are always willing to listen. A person cannot know everything, so whether you have to turn to the internet, a friend, family member or even stranger (such as a nurse or doctor), your daughter’s well-being and health should be your top priority. There are times when we must set our own shyness or pride aside for our family!

After finishing this post, I realize that some of the information in here might be pertinent to any father, not just single-dads. Nevertheless, this is hardly the exhaustive resource and all the possible angles I could cover, but then there are only so many hours in a day 😛 Anyone who needs more information, please feel free to comment or send me an IM/Email. I am also available on twitter (though it’s publicly viewable so if discussing menstruation is not comfortable for you, you may not want to contact me through twitter) @ http://twitter.com/MenMenstruation

Thanks for reading and don’t forget that your daughter will thank you and love you forever for which you have done for her!

Woh, What’s MiM Up To? Heads-Up: A Possible Menstrual Cup Review!

So a lot of you might we wondering why there’s a lack of updates lately, well, I gotta tell you with Christmas coming up soon, there’s a lot of work (at work) to be done! For those who didn’t know, I used to actually write most of my posts during (hehe) work. With people beginning to take time off here and there, I have to cover their position or role and thus, I haven’t had too much time to pull up MiM during work. However, another reason why (which is probably more important) is that I’ve been working closely with one of my readers trying to convince her to try a reusable product. A company has graciously offered a product to this reader and I’m hoping she will take up the offer and then I will be able to write a review with her on the product.  I noticed I have quite a few new subscribers as well, so welcome to MiM and this downtime for me will give them some time to catch up on my prior entries. I can’t believe it that as of the end of this year, my blog will actually be TWO YEARS OLD already! When I made my blog, I could not imagine the numbers of hits I’d get, I thought this would be a “personal blog” with some of my own “period thoughts” and really, I didn’t know menstruation was really such a popular topic on the internet. After all, I guess because so many people consider menstruation a “taboo” topic in person, that it’s much more comfortable to talk about it online. Suffice to say, I find this topic as fun to talk about online as I do offline!

So once again, I have not disappeared or have given up my hopes to continue encouraging everyone to be open about menstruation, for those who can answer and for those who wish to ask questions. I am working closely with a sponsor and with one of my girls in hopes that we will be able to coordinate efforts to make a review for a reusable product! Many of my girls are resistant to trying them out and thus, I have a hard time finding reviewers who are willing to write an original review. And yes, after this long, I finally feel I need to give more credit to reusable products like menstrual cups and cloth pads, as they really are the way of the future. With so many things we regularly dispose in the garbage as it is, I should be on the forefront with supporting reusable products so that our future generations may inherit this earth in a usable shape as well and for millenniums to come.

Lunette (Menstrual Cups) Interview with MiM & November 20% Discount

So a short while ago, I was honoured with having an email-interview with Lunette, makers of menstrual cups, washes, wipes and creams for the feminine hygiene market!

Here’s a copy of the interview which can also be found on their site:

Any guys reading this? If so you are in luck because today we’re bringing you a guest interview from the other side of the fence: Prexus Swyftwynd the man behind the blog Men in Menstruation. Prexus started the blog in late 2009 and has been blogging on everything from PMS to menstrual product reviews. In the answers below, Prexus talks about the reactions to his blog, his own and those of his friends (both male and female).

What have you learned since starting the Men in Menstruation blog? Anything unexpected?

I have to shamefully admit that I’ve learned that women can have periods outside of a 30-35 day cycle and still be normal and healthy. I always considered the 30-35 day range to be “normal” because none of my girls or (ex)girlfriends ever fell outside of that range. I always had this assumption in my head that being outside of that range indicated something was wrong and that’s not true. My ex’s period was like clockwork: from the day she ended, I would already know when her next period would be and have chocolates and flowers ready. My current girlfriend also helped me change this assumption; she has almost a 4x day cycle, and it took me a while to get my head around this. I know that in books cycles outside of “average days” can still be normal, but what is read in books sometimes doesn’t sink in until you see it in reality.

Prior to my blog, I also didn’t know there were syndromes such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which make periods (or even throughout the cycle) a living hell. PCOS also affects people of all ages, so it isn’t one of those “old people” problems. Women with PCOS tend to be very open about their periods, perhaps because they’ve spent a lot of time talking to their doctor, family or even friends about it. I’ve had some very in-depth (and I’m always very grateful) discussions with PCOS-women about their periods, with no shame involved in the conversation. While I would absolutely not say I’d want a woman to have PCOS just so she’s open about periods, I’ve definitely seen a trend of openness for those who have it.

Through the blog, I’ve connected with many men and women who are enthusiastic about menstruation. Unfortunately when men get involved in menstruation – from a female point of view – it can either be, “Wow, I’m so glad that guys want to be involved.” to, “Ew, what kind of guy would want to learn about periods? He’s a pervert!” As a single child, I’ve never had an opportunity to learn about periods from a sister, and even from what I learned from my mother, it was a very hush-hush and need-to-know basis type of education. It’s great to see men who are interested in periods. While I know there are men who range from the “just curious” to the fetishist, they should still be respected for their own interest. After all, even the most hardcore fetishist would have taken the time to learn about menstruation, unlike men who shy away from it either through disgust, ignorance or embarrassment. Connecting with women who are PASSIONATE about their period and wanting to change the taboo of menstruation really hits home for me and makes me smile. I admit due to the nature of my blog, many readers (of whom are probably women), don’t speak up, but even if they’re reading my blog and it helps tickle their mind a bit to push for change in this world, then we’re living in a better place!

What do the women in your life think about your blog? How do they react?

Well I only let women who I know REALLY well and who I’d believe to “accept” the blog know about it, so there aren’t many. I’d say there are only about four girls who know me “in person” who also know about the blog, and two of them are my ex’s. The women in my life tend to be very open about their periods with me, and thus, they know about the blog as a result. These girls not only assist me with understanding periods more, but they are also female testers for me. As luck would have it, I am male and thus, lack the physical body parts to test products for my review. With their assistance and my own testing methods, I am can get an accurate understanding of feminine hygiene products to write reviews on them. Often when other bloggers write reviews on products, their opinions usually consist of one individual, themselves. But my reviews reflect the opinions of my helpful women, who have given me feedback on these products, along with my own methods.

The women in my life who know and are involved in my blog love it. They feel as if they can connect to me through feeling a sense of “male security” and with my understanding as a “sister.” I’m not gay nor do I have transsexual tendencies by any means; I just love and appreciate menstruation and the female body. Thus, my girls can easily talk to me about things that most guys would not be able to relate to or even want to converse about. Knowing about my blog also helps them connect with me for topics outside of menstruation. They’re comfortable sharing intimate knowledge with me or doing things that they would feel uncomfortable doing with guys such as shopping for inner-wear. Even when the girls discuss things amongst themselves, they are inclusive of me and take an opportunity to educate me about female things.

I “introduce” my blog to my girls (or rather, the existence of it) through a very smooth method to avoid shock. I will often drop hints that I write articles about menstruation and that I’m essentially pro-period before I even get into the whole point about owning a blog on it. Since these girls are ones who are close to me, such as ex’s and best-friends, they know me well enough to probably deduce that I have some (or lots) of interest in menstruation. The blog is usually more of a, “Oh really?” than a, “OH MY GOD, REALLY?” I’m very careful about who I tell about my blog because it has both menstrual and personal information on it. For the women who do know, they think it’s fantastic and will offer help whenever I need it, whether that’s borrowing them for a week in a month to test products or to answer questions. I have yet to tell someone about my blog who I didn’t trust me deep down, so I’ve never gotten negative reactions from them.

Do many of your guy friends know you blog about menstruation? What’s their take on it?

Only two of my guy friends know about my blog, and both of them really like reading through it to learn about periods. I won’t call myself an “expert” on periods, only someone with perhaps “above average” knowledge on it. Sometimes they come to me with questions I don’t answer on my blog and that also gives me a topic to write about as an entry. They’re more of the “curious” type than the fetishists. As “weird” as they think my blog and interest in periods are, they do see the benefit of having such knowledge. It’s less intimidating for them to learn from a fellow male than if they were to have to speak to a female about it. It’s hard for me to introduce my blog or even any knowledge of menstruation to my guy friends because they’re quite repulsed towards the idea of a bleeding vagina. I always heckle them by asking how they can love vaginas so much, yet the thought of it a week per month can totally put them off from it. It’s like they want to pretend it doesn’t exist, but they only acknowledge it enough to stay away from the red a week every month.

Be sure to check back for the rest of the interview and check out Men in Menstruation on WordPress.

And then part 2 of the interview…

Welcome back to part two of Lunette’s interview with Prexus Swyftwynd, the blogger behind Men in Menstruation. In part one, Prexus talks about the reactions to his blog, his own and those of his friends (both male and female). In this next part, Prexus wraps up his interview with thoughts on menstruation and the market and a little about himself.

Where do you think menstrual products are going in terms of the future of the market? What do you see as the trends?

I certainly think that more and more women will adopt reusable products; however, we have a long way to go before that becomes a “majority” of women. As far as I can see, there will always be some form of “toss and go” conventional product because I don’t think every women is comfortable with emptying their flow at a later point. Perhaps this may be a cultural thing; many of my female Asian friends won’t even give me a chance to encourage them to try these products. It will take years of cultural conversion and education before certain cultures can let go of the taboo of their menstrual flow and menstruation as a whole. If major disposal pad/tampon makers can continue to haunt consumers with “discrete” and “fear” tactics, there will continue to be a demand for such products. Companies will continue to find better “technologies” to enhance pads/tampons. But I can’t imagine companies being able to enhance absorbency and comfort while maintaining a reasonable price-per-use as compared to products such as cups, sponges or cloth pads.

What’s really great about reusable products is that they really encourage women to love their bodies and be in touch with them! Women who use reusable products often are much more open to conversations about menstruation and the female body, over those who use disposable products. By encouraging our younger generations, we can help them adopt reusable products early and remind them that their bodies are a beautiful and worth respecting. Society as a whole still revolves around a lot of “disposable” items in our daily lives, so it’ll take many years before we realize the damage we’re doing to ourselves and the environment. In the next 100 years, disposable pads and tampons will probably still continue to survive, but my hope is that through education, younger women will pick the right product for all women instead of going with the type of product is best for just the individual.

What’s your sense of awareness and interest in menstrual cups in Canada?

I think there is quite a bit of awareness but just not widespread acceptance of the cup. I’ve brought up the “cup” in conversations before with various women, and although they were fully aware of what the product does, they were not very keen on it. I can’t speak on behalf of all women in Canada, but I’d wager there are more women who still use conventional products than have shifted to cups. Because cups are internal products, that poses a second “concern”; for women who don’t use tampons, the thought of adopting a menstrual cup only brings in more fear and sometimes repulsion. I live in a fairly large city, in which we’re quite “connected” with media and internet accessibility, so information on menstrual cups is available and read by my female friends. However, few of them have adopted or even tried such a product. One of my female friends told me outright that she wouldn’t even “begin to imagine using a product like that regularly.” Even my girls, who are regular tampon-users, have no interest in using menstrual cups, since they can withdraw their tampon and just drop it in the toilet – no “maintenance” required.

The cups are also being sold at “organic” retailers here, so with them hanging off display shelves, I think it’s at least creating somewhat of an “education” for the cups. I’ve seen women gathered around such displays before, taking in the information on menstrual cups or other similar products. Most women end up walking away afterwards, but who knows, maybe they just need time to consider switching to a menstrual cup later on! At least they know about cups and even if they don’t make the decision now, they still have the knowledge and may pass it on to others who are willing to make the change!

What are your other interests outside of blogging?

I’m an avid computer gamer, so for several hours a day (I know terrible), I’m either rescuing princesses from towers or blowing heads off zombies, lol! Outside of a computer environment, I absolutely adore spending time with my girlfriend. When I’m not spending time with her, I’m usually spending time with my girls, shopping, doing daily things or just sitting around talking over coffee. I affectionately call them “my girls” as they’re a group of close female friends with whom I have great non-romantic relationships. In this day-and-age, we should remember that males and females can just BE FRIENDS.

I also run my own business outside of my regular day job. In addition to money purposes, I also consider it an interest because I help connect those who are are afraid of computers with modern technology. I enjoy showing people the wonders, particularly seniors who have never been in touch with such widespread technology, to discover all the things they can do and the things available to them. I believe technology has really enhanced my life and hope it may for others too, no matter what age!

After work, I will usually spend 30-60 minutes working out to stay in shape. Like most people, I wish I were more fit but all of it starts with the first step. I’m a big fan of laughter; the thing that I like to do most within the day is talk by voice or text with my friends and share funny moments. Every day of our lives, something funny happens and many people go through their day in a blur, missing moments that should make them laugh or smile. If every day I can just bring a smile or laugh to one of my friends, it makes me feel great. I used to volunteer a lot when I was younger, and I miss it, especially knowing that one “insignificant” person in the world can make some difference. After starting my career just a few years ago, I continue polishing my time management skills, so I can accomplish more within a day without sacrificing sleep time to stay healthy!

Any last thoughts?

I just wanted to thank you for giving me an opportunity to answer these questions. Recently I had some crazy lady tell me that I am a guy that “hates women,” and that has left a poor taste in my mouth. I hope these answers will shed some light on who I am, what this blog represents (or wants to represent, despite sometimes encountering difficulties) and just being period positive. I can’t wait to feature brands like Lunette on my blog, and together we can continue our trek so that future generations can feel positive about their bodies and comfortable with menstruation as a “normal” topic to talk about!

Although I’ve had interviews in the past for private studies and educational research, this has been the first time where my answers have been publicly posted! I was so excited and thrilled to be taken note by a professional business.

Lunette cups are really darn cute because not only are they a great eco-friendly menstrual cup, but also because they come in various colours!

Lunette is also having a 20%-off sale from their Lunette online store. Check out the discount code on their site for it! You can redeem this promotional code on their November SPECIAL post.

Congratulations to Lunette on their BLOG LAUNCH!

Check out their YouTube channel.

Kotex Natural Balance – Replacing Original Lineup LIVE!

So as we expected based on the packaging wording, Kotex has now replaced the entire “original” line with the Kotex Natural Balance pads. As I indicated in a previous blog entry, Kotex’s change actually hit the shelves before the changes were fully made to their site. I suppose this was to incite hype and posts-of-speculation, akin to what they did with the U by Kotex series by “leaking” some information out. Certainly it caused confusion amongst many women when they reached the shelves to find their “usual” product missing. Their site now shows that they’re confirming the disappearance of their original line (other than what’s left in store stocks) which actually affects even their Kotex Security (Tampon) line. So now Kotex has two lines of products here in Canada, their “regular” Natural Balance series and their “premium” U by Kotex series. The changes are shown prominently on their site now, with changes to their “drops” rating using GREEN absorbency symbols and changes to their “features” which include: Soft on your skin, Keeps you comfy and pH aligned

 

Kotex Natural Balance - Site Changes

Kotex Natural Balance - Site Changes

Because the above picture needed to be shrunk to fit to this column, you will need to click on the picture thumbnail to get a better view. The good thing is that unlike when Stayfree moved from their original line to their Thermocontrol line is that Kotex decided that the Natural Balance pads are a full replacement of their original line and thus, it didn’t affect their offerings of wing, no wing and tampon choices. The LONG maxi still retains a non-winged version only for some odd reason – who knows why. Also, the replacement of the original line of pads and tampons ALSO include pantiliners.

Kotex Natural Balance - Tampons!

I think the “made in cotton” feature will be particularly nice for their tampons and I’m glad they thought about NOT including aloe in the tampon (as far as I know based on the marketing information) as that gets put up the vagina and would be introducing something foreign up there (besides the tampon itself). It’s also nice to know that they’re not adding artificial fragrances to the tampon, as I still can’t wrap my head about why someone would want a SCENTED tampon when it doesn’t really get smelly since it won’t contact with air until removal and disposal. Vaginas smell like vagina – not pretty roses.

I suppose I am really happy they decided to change their normal line and without hindrance to consumers in terms of not raising the cost or making “comfort” and “security” a PREMIUM thing. These changes are indeed body-positive with the inclusion of Aloe, vitamin-infusion and pH alignment (being very important for the prevention of vaginal infections or irritation). The aloe makes a great difference for prolonged pad-wear, even after saturation. Now with “prettying up” pads and tampons in mind, I see now they’re concentrating on making a better product without an increased cost to us!

O.B. Ultra Tampons in Canada – Returning Soon to a Store Near YOU!

Do you love O.B. Ultra Tampons?

For all you O.B. Ultra Absorbency tampon lovers out there, you’ll be happy to know that according to O.B.’s site that they’re trying to bring this product back to Canada! For those who recall the news of the O.B tampon shortage at the start of this year, they had some major shortages of these tampons and in particular, when they suddenly discontinued sale of their Ultra absorbency here in Canada. This was a huge concern to many women who use O.B. tampons because they offer such a high absorbency to go about their daily lives.

When you go to the O.B. Canada site, in a little overlay window they state:

The o.b.® Brand continues to work towards bringing o.b.® Ultra back to the market.

We are committed to listening to the needs of our consumers and keeping them apprised of our plans. Your patience is appreciated.

Now there seems to be some kind of media blackout on the reason why O.B. decided to pull the Ultra absorbency tampon off-the-shelves or at least, I haven’t been able to find much on it other than hearsay or rumours. Some say they violated tampon regulations in Canada for material composition or that they were just “too absorbent” and posed a greater risk of TSS. For all that matters though, conventional tampons all cause TSS so I don’t see why if that was the reason, they’d care so much as to pull it off the shelf. For the women who are afraid of TSS, maybe they should be considering other alternatives like pads or reusable products such as cups, sponges and cloth feminine hygiene options. If you’re using a product that knowingly could be damage, don’t bitch about it after or come down on the company for making a product that has such effects. Analogy: If you smoke cigarettes, don’t complain against the cigarette company that their product causes cancer.

But really, to put into perspective how serious that some women were against Johnson & Johnson for removing their O.B Ultra Tampons, there were lots of petitioning and boycotts in place. Ohhh, yes, these women are damn serious about their stance, such as:

On the side of smart marketing, some people also managed to sell Ultra absorbency O.B. tampons over eBay and other transaction-sites for $70-150 a box for the desperate women who were willing to pay such prices for their life-saving products. The worst part of all this was the fact J&J and McNeil declined to really give the public any information as to why it was discontinued. At least if they gave a plausible reason, it would make someone say, “Oh ya, that makes sense… well, ok…” rather than, “Nope, we’re just not selling it anymore.” Big companies like these DO have a right to control what they sell and their marketing tactics, BUT, they also have a corporate responsibility to their consumers. Can they pull a product off their shelf without “reporting” to the consumer? Sure. Should they? No.

Now on to the good stuff again with their “plan to return” their Ultra absorbency (or some kind of equivalency) tampons to the market, luckily, the “option” still shows up on their site so women can start praying and still have hope that something good will come of this. It’ll be nice for women to be able to buy these tampons for $3-7 again a box now, right?

Get ready to plug her up again 😆

Andie, one of our regular reader deserves credit for letting me know of this turn-up on this news!

Why Your Tampon/Pad Needs to Last – Ryanair now to remove toilets from its planes

I think we always want a pad or tampon (whether disposal or reusable) to last a reasonable amount of time. After all, a menstruating woman probably doesn’t want to spend every 30 minutes checking to see if her product is already full. However, a new airline is going to put your feminine hygiene product to the test! Ryanair, according to the article below, is planning to greatly reduce or eliminate on-board bathrooms. Hell, even someone who is not menstruating, has weak bladder issues or any other medical condition that would be critical to ensure that toilets be available would find this a cause for concern. Even a healthy human needs to expel their bodily byproducts once in a while, so how could someone even think about removing something like washrooms – as limited as they usually are already on flights – from their planes? This almost sounds like it’s inhumane, as legal and as much of a right they have to do so on their aircraft.

Of course not having this carrier here in Canada, it’s of little concern to me other than the amusement factor, but what about for the places who DO have Ryanair as a carrier, how receptive will customers be for a mere few dollar discount on their flight ticket to have a basic human amenity removed from them? Yes, there are countries who don’t have fancy washrooms or an actual commode to sit on, BUT at the very least, they have some spot they can go to do their business. Being up in the air, there doesn’t leave much room to take care of one’s personal business, so that‘s even worse than 3rd world countries. Short-haul flight, an hour or two without having to go to the washroom? Sure, MAYBE. But anything longer than 4 hours and I think that pushes people’s threshold of comfort to go urinate, defaecate or change their incontinence or menstrual products. Although I suppose considering the savings on the washroom, they may need to begin offering fecal-incontinence supplies for all passengers as compensation.

I could understand airlines cutting costs by making food/drinks an on-board paid purchase, pillows and blankets a paid luxury or even asking fliers to bring their own toilet paper to the washroom – but the availability of washrooms on a flight is crucial and I think is highly unfair to those whose needs for washroom relates to a medical condition. Even if your pad or tampon could absorb for a period (heh) of time, I know that sitting on one’s menstrual blood or having a tampon plugged up there continuously can be uncomfortable, so being able to change a saturated product is not just to prevent leakage, but for an overall feel of freshness. Sooner or later, there will be a charge for a life-jacket in the event of an emergency on a plane. Didn’t pay for your life-jacket ahead of time or don’t have cash on you when the plane is sinking? Well too bad, go die.

Official article and comments located @ http://www.everydaymoney.ca/2011/10/ryanair-now-to-remove-toilets-from-its-planes.html || The article below is NOT written by me nor owned by me in any way.

Ryanair now to remove toilets from its planes

We’ll admit, we kind of have a fascination with Ryanair here at EverydayMoney.ca.

Stock-photo-15643861-toilet-in-the-planeWhy? Well, can’t say for sure. Not only does Ryanair not fly to Canada, it doesn’t even fly to North America, meaning only backpackers and Euro travellers have ever sat on one of the outfits Boeing 737-800’s.

But much in the way that Entourage  is considered “lifestyle porn,” Ryanair is a kind of airline porn, in that the headlines it makes are irresistible to anyone that’s ever flown on a plane.

Now, after a laundry list of budget saving initiatives we’ll discuss below, Ryanair is proposing its latest strategy to slash fares for budget travellers: removing  toilets from its planes.

About a year-and-a-half after the Dublin-based airline sparked controversy with its move to charge passengers to use its washrooms, bombastic Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary now just wants to do away with his loos, nearly altogether.

O’Leary says he’s in talks with Boeing to remove two of the three toilets found on-board Ryanair’s planes. Doing so would allow adding six more seats to its cabins.

Ryanair, which carries 75 million passengers a year, flies as many as 189 passengers each flight. If three toilets (or one toilet per 63 people) are brought down to one, and six more seats are included, that leaves just one can for 195 travellers. Legally speaking, according to the Independent, there is no legal stipulation for an airline to provide even one washroom on its aircrafts.

In O’Leary’s defence, once more, he always brings these wild ideas public for the benefit of the passenger. No matter what he proposes, he always insists, at least, it’s all for lowering fares.

“(Removing two of three toilets) would fundamentally lower air fares by about five per cent for all passengers,” he says, noting that about three bucks of a typical $65 ticket might be saved if more seats can be added to Ryanair’s cabins.

In previous bids to bring down airfare, or at least cater to Ryanair’s idea of what travellers want, the airline has floated the idea of flying with just one pilot per flight, adopting standing-room only trips and even child-free flights, which Ryanair says are coming this fall.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

Posted at 12:31 PM in Consumer News, Current Affairs, Travel

You may need to start working your menstrual schedule around the next time you want to take the plane. This might also be a good opportunity for pad/tampon makers to start using this airline as a test of their product(s). I guess with this airline, men wearing pads won’t be such a foreign idea anymore…

If anything, I’d fly on this carrier just so I can make a point by shitting and pissing all over their seat or in any spot I can find so that they can enjoy the cleanup and smell.

Stayfree, Carefree & O.B – Save.ca (Mailed) Coupon & Stayfree Printable

Do You Love Stayfree Like I Do?

Buy 2 Save $5.00 Checkbox

Buy 2 Save $5.00 Checkbox

If so, you’ll be happy to know that Stayfree not only has a printable coupon located @ http://stayfree.ca/sampling/en/coupon-print.asp — but also a “Save $5 when you buy two Stayfree, Carefree or O.B. Feminine Hygiene” and you can request it @ http://www.save.ca/livewellsavewell/choose_province (This offer available to Canadian provinces only). In the middle of the page you should see the box similar to the image as shown to the right of this text (hopefully they don’t randomly place the coupon on the site). I don’t know whether there are limits that SAVE.CA is offering before it closes off the offering, so get it while it lasts! Don’t forget though however, SAVE.CA coupons often have a much shorter expiry date than the printable version. Don’t waste a great coupon by having it sit in your drawer and if you’re not going to use the coupon, don’t order it so that someone else who NEEDS it can!

The great thing about Stayfree over the other 2 major pad/tampon company is that their coupon has been around for a long time and they continue to have a good standing reputation with retailers honouring the coupon. I’ve used the printable coupon many times off of the Stayfree site and not once have I been rejected by retailers. Mind you, I don’t go crazy like some abusers I hear about who bring in 20 coupons and hoard every package or box on the shelf, so it’s used responsibly. The other two companies only offer coupons sparingly and you tend not to get as deep of a discount from their coupons or offers. Although the printable coupon has restrictions on when you can use it, I think the restrictions are quite understandable and that the discount of $2 on any Regular-Priced Stayfree Product is a very generous offer! The printable coupon also lasts quite long and is extended by J&J each time the 6-month period (hehe) elaspses, the current coupon expiry date is: December 31, 2011.

According to Stayfree’s Coupon Offer

Whether you’re busy raising your new family, working out at the gym, rushing around the office, or just out for a night on the town with friends, the wide range of STAYFREE® products are designed to protect you no matter where the day may lead.

STAYFREE® Cottony Dry Cover Ultra Thin Pads help you stay free from:

• Leakage – STAYFREE® has a Leak Protection Ring to help block leaks in all directions providing maximum protection against embarrassing leakage.

• Wetness – An Anti-leak core effectively uses fast-absorbing technology to help lock wetness in quickly for added protection against leaks. Helping to keep you feeling drier all day long.

• Discomfort –STAYFREE® has a new ultra-soft Cottony Dry Cover to provide maximum comfort.

• Odour – Double-odour protection not only actively prevents embarrassing odours but neutralizes them as well so you can stay confident no matter where your day takes you.

With so much research and engineering behind STAYFREE® products, it’s the ideal solution for all your feminine hygiene product needs at a price that fits your budget.

In fact, we’re so sure you’ll love STAYFREE® products that we’re going to give you $2.00 off on any STAYFREE® Product so you can experience for yourself just how great STAYFREE® is.

If you’ve never tried Stayfree products, the coupon is quite enticing! Heck, even the mailed-coupon by SAVE.CA might be a good way to test some new pads at minimal cost. If you’re interested in knowing more about the Stayfree products available in Canada, check out http://stayfree.ca/sampling/en/products.asp – although their site still hasn’t been updated to reflect the new Thermocontrol pads that have already replaced much of the “ultra thin” line of Stayfree pads. The other thing that makes Stayfree great other than the fact that they have enticing coupons is that their products are simply amazing! I’ve seen Stayfree grow a lot, from the days they had huge “Stayfree Prima” pads, all the way to today’s ultra thin Thermocontrol! While I have some small gripes about the fact they stopped offering separate “scented” and “unscented” products, I can’t deny that they still provide great comfort, absorbency and have a great reputation in my books.

What Pad or Tampon is Right For Me? Thick, thin, wings, no wings – I’m confused!

I remember getting these questions regularly when I started my blog, from younger girls who hadn’t started their periods yet and from ones who recently began menstruating. Suffice to say, I’m deeply touched that girls would reach out to me, as a male, to seek such advice. I hope they always get answers from me which are helpful and act as a guide, directing them to good sources of information such as sisters, parents, guardians, relatives or close female friends who can provide more anecdotal guidance than I would be able. I haven’t gotten a question like this for a while in my daily life, because almost all of my god-sis’ or close female friends are already well into becoming experts on their own periods. The “what pad or tampon is right for me?” question probably was last asked by my youngest god-sis about 4 years ago already! The reason why I decided to write about this topic, isn’t necessarily to answer inquiries from females about how to pick their products (as I believe my reviews and highlighted articles have achieved much of that already), but rather, because a male friend of mine has opened up to the idea of wanting to learn. The other day, he approached me, asking about my knowledge on menstruation. While he does not know the extent of my “enjoyment” of menstruation, he came to me because he’s known I’ve been involved in a few serious relationships before and no doubt, has had to deal with period issues at one point or another. So for the guys, this article may be right for you!

So my friend, being the geek he is (like me, heh) – it was very hard for him to wrap his head around how girls pick their feminine hygiene products. To him, how can different products be so unique that it makes you want one over another? He knew that different classes and models of cars offer a variety of features, performance and such, but how can he apply this to pads and tampons – it’s confusing for him! I must’ve spent a good hour just educating him about the basics of periods, why it exists, what the function is, how often it happens, etc. let alone go into details about pads and tampons yet. After he got grounded on what menstruation is all about (and probably puked a bit in his mouth as I noticed changes of expressions whenever I went into details), I began to explain to him the two common types of menstrual protection, pads and tampons. For the sake of not exploding his brain or turning him off the conversation, I started to go over the differences between disposal tampons and pads. Pads were either affixed to a sanitary belt or put onto panties to absorb menstrual flow as it exits the body, versus a tampon which is inserted into the vagina where menstrual flow is absorbed before it exits the body. Pads when filled, are removed from the panties, rolled/folded up and then disposed in the garbage. Tampons are withdrawn from the vagina and then thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. In his words, “I didn’t even know pads existed – I only hear about tampons.” and as you can see, his innocence when it came to the existence of various options and their most basic method of functionality. Unfortunately, these menstrual protection terms are sometimes even used interchangeably.

Then he began to ask me, “How do girls know which pad or tampon is right for her?”

I told him that many girls often are introduced to their first brand and type of pad or tampon by an educator, parent, guardian or sibling. It’s quite common to find in households, that the females within the household share common brands and types of products they use. To be honest, out of my group of girls, I’ve only seen one who has a very different product lines as compared to her sisters and mom. There’s nothing “wrong” with that, however, from my experience, if the mother in a household uses brand X, then the rest of the girls will likely begin and continue to use brand X as well. However, picking a product is all a matter of personal preference and unless you have an over-controlling Asian mother, whether a daughter chooses to use pads, tampons or whatever brand is usually up to them. For some of the more adventurous girls, they may reach out to other types and brands of products through her friends or through her own willingness to experiment with different products. Some girls however, are forced to search for new products if their flow demands that they switch or should they have a particular reaction to the product they’re currently using. I do know a few of my girls suddenly began having allergies to products they’ve been using for years and had to switch products afterward. Allergies may be one or a combination of companies changing the composition of their products or over time, a girl developing sensitivity to one or more of the elements within the product. Just like buying a TV, we often hear from others which one they think is “the best” – then we find out for ourselves whether that’s true or not! Just likes pads and tampons, most people make decisions based on what they hear, see and perceive. It’s almost impossible to learn whether a feminine hygiene option is right until trying it!

Here’s where it gets difficult for him – trying to understand all the different attributes which separate one product from another. So then he asked me, “What is it about those wings I keep on hearing about? If thin pads are so much more comfortable, why do thick pads exists?”

Disclaimer: Not my hand.. or pad...

So for a guy who didn’t know the existence of pads and the difference between pads and tampons, I didn’t find it shocking to hear this question. I knew that the concept of “wings” to him would be beyond his grasp, does it help make a girl fly? I explained to him that wings were meant to help keep the pad in place and conform to the shape/movement of the body and panties and that it also acted as a last ditch effort to prevent menstrual flow from leaving the side of the pad. I happened to have a pad with wings in my car, so I opened it up for him to take a look and of course without panties, I couldn’t demonstrate to him the application of wings underneath the crotch area, but I managed with a bit of visual description to give him an idea that wings extend from the side of the pad is is wrapped around the crotch of the underwear, that way, it secures itself against the panties and allow movements and shifting to synchronize with the pad in place.

He was already furrowing his eyebrows at me because who would’ve thought of something like “wings” on a sanitary product? He asked me if there were more “attributes” of a pad or tampon that makes one competitor’s product different from another… I sighed and told him, “yes, lots” and he rolled his eyes at me. Of course having the mindset of a keep, I actually used a very laughable analogy to explain all the attributes of pads to him in relevance to an RPG game. I told him since he’s so familiar with RPG’s, think about that a character is made of many “attributes”, strength, dexterity, intelligence, constitution, willpower, etc. and compare that to a pad with lengths, thickness, absorbency, width, wings, etc. He nodded in agreement with my very geeky analogy.

Length of a pad, what is it for? Well the length of the pad denotes how long the coverage area between your belly button to your lower back. Essentially, longer pads are usually designed for women who have heavier flows and thus, allows the pad to catch flow more easily and to disbursed it over a larger area. Sometimes, longer pads were designed for larger sized women, such as when the Always Maximum Protection pads were marketed, they were labelled for extra heavy flows and for women who were “size 14+”. Shorter pads are usually designed for lighter days and with longer pads designed for overnight use or heavier flows. In Canada, companies usually use “slender, regular, long, overnight, etc.” terminology to denote the length of the pad. In Asia, it’s common to use metric measurement such as “mm” or “cm” to denote the lengths rather than a generalized label of the length.

Width of a pad is similar to length in the sense that it’s a measurement of how much side-to-side coverage there is and is usually dependent on the flow-purpose of the pad. Some brands keep their widths the same and simply make pads longer to make a “regular” into an “overnight” pad. Some brands such as Stayfree (which I’m a big fan of) will make pads designed for heavier and overnight use with a larger width, as menstrual flow will often go to the edges during the night when one is sleeping, rather than day-use where most people are sitting or standing or at least in a position where the flow will drip right into the center of the pad and stay there. Remember that width can sometimes be compensated for in the event of pads with larger wings.

Absorbency usually defines the capacity of menstrual flow that a pad is capable of absorbing and in Canada, the absorbancy falls in-line with the length and under the description of “slender, regular, long, etc.” depending on the manufacturer. Either way, absorbency is not standardized like tampons are for pads. A “regular” absorbency pad by one company may not absorb the same amount as “regular” from another. Absorbency often varies depending on the technology used in the pad, some of which are proprietary. For instance, the big 3 companies in Canada that sells pads, Stayfree, Kotex and Always have various lines of products with different technologies. Stayfree has a new Thermocontrol line, Kotex has the Micromax core in their U by Kotex line, and Always has the Infincel beads in their Infinity line which different from their standard lines. I usually refer to these as the “premium lines” – a description which I adopted from Asia pads and tampons. Even comparing absorbency of a “regular” sized Always pad in their original line versus a “regular” sized Always Infinity pad, the Infinity one will absorb a lot more! Absorbency is very hard to define for pads because there’s just so many other factors involved.

Wings and No Wings, this is always confusing to explain to guys about why any girl would want to use pads without wings. Let’s face it, us guys drive all different types of cars, some people like spoilers and some do not. Likewise, not every girl needs to like wings on their pads, as much as it might sound contrary to not want something that helps. Wings can sometimes cause irritation and let’s not forget that wings aren’t always helpful. For some women, their body is much more attuned to pads with no wings and they feel that their pad already conforms well to their body without the assistance of wings. These are all legitimate personal choices! Furthermore, let’s not forget there’s a cost-savings here because pads with wings will usually either, a) cost more, or b) come fewer in a equivalent sized pack as compared to ones without wings.

Thin or thick? Naturally, one would like to assume that thin pads is always more comfortable and such is not the case. Thick pads sometimes can provide a comfort, like a pillow and also provides a closer body fit. Thick pads usually absorb better than their thin equivalency, however, with better technologies offered, sometimes thin pads can even outperform thick ones. Suffice to say, thick pads still offer a peace-of-mind to some women, therefore, thick pads should not be overlooked at being outdated or “not cool”. Feminine hygiene is a personal choice which is meant to provide both menstrual protection AND a feeling of security as psychological wellness matters too, especially during sensitive period times! Thin pads because of how paper-like they are often make more noise when walking, usually squishing and scratching noises. Thicker pads usually don’t have this problem, but then again, this is on a brand-to-brand basis. Thick pads for some can pose an uncomfortable feeling and usually anti-pad users will say they “feel like diapers” and sure enough, thick pads can get in the way of physical activities because the feeling of the pad is “always there.” Thick pads often will show bulging through tight pants and such, so there is a lack of discreteness if that is important. Thick pads usually are used at home and at night though for that reason when you have your own privacy and where “showing” is less of a concern.

By now, his eyes are already rolled back into his skull because as short as it was for you to read this on my blog, the conversation was a lot longer. I had to then tell him that now we’re done talking about pads, let’s move onto tampons!

Tampons in general have fewer attributes per se than pads.

Absorbency for tampons in Canada and the US have standardized amounts of menstrual flow they are designed to absorb in a single tampon and are as follows:

  • Junior absorbency – less than 6 grams (Approximately 5 grams equals one teaspoon.)
  • Regular absorbency – 6 to 9 grams
  • Super absorbency – 9 to 12 grams
  • Super plus absorbency – 12 to 15 grams
  • Ultra absorbency – 15 to 18 grams

Of course even between standardized tampon absorption amounts, girls often find their experiences with various brands to be quite different. Because tampons have the potential to cause TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), absorbency ratings are regulated to protect users. Using the lowest possible absorbency to meet the needs of one’s menstrual flow is the best option. Absorbency doesn’t necessarily define the length or width of the tampon, but does influence it. On the same note, because tampons are worn internally, designers of tampons must create them in such a shape, size and way where it’s comfortable and is easy to insert/withdraw.

Expansion is something that is not usually talked about, but is something that’s integral to how well the tampon performs when inserted into the vagina. Tampons can expand in various “shapes” when inside the vagina, width-wise, length-wise or into “flower” type shapes, which help conform to the inside of the vagina. Think of a tampon as a plug and you will realize that the way tampons expand impact how well the tampon catches menstrual flow and whether “gaps” between the tampon and vaginal wall will occur, thus allowing flow to leak past the tampon. Expansion however, can equally cause discomfort so that’s why finding a tampon that has an expansion method which matches one’s body and still provides expected protection is integral.

Applicator or non-applicator tampons pose an impact to the environment and sometimes to the sanity of the girl. Girls who live by applicators usually have one of two reasons, 1) they don’t want to have their fingers so close to their bloody vagina or 2) feel it’s easier to insert. Because applicators add an extra piece of the overall size of the tampon, applicator tampons need to be sold in larger boxes/packages (yes, even the compact sized ones) and add additional trash to our landfills. However, some just can’t get over the idea that their fingers would need to become very intimate and close to their vagina and is unsanitary/unhygienic, therefore non-applicator tampons scare them. I have had real-life experiences with inserting both non-applicator and applicator tampons and honestly, I have preference towards non-applicator tampons no problem.

Type of applicator usually falls between 2 materials, cardboard and plastic. Both cause an environmental impact, however, cardboard because it’s usually biodegradable, has less environmental impact. Plastic however is often known to “glide in” much smoother. However, plastic applicator tips are often flanged to allow the tampon to be pushed through and thus, pinching is known to happen. Pinching already sucks when it happens on your hands, let alone when it’s in a sensitive area such as the vagina! Applicators can also sometimes have features and designs on it which assist in insertion, easy-to-hold grip/shape or compact form. The purpose of an applicator is to allow a tampon to be “planted” directly into the vagina. The applicator plunge is pushed, the tampon exits into the vagina and settles in, then the applicator is withdrawn from the body. The result is a string sewn into the center of the tampon which allows for withdrawal and the string stays outside the body. Some women like to tuck the string between the legs, labia or even inside their vagina.

I noticed that after all this information, I think that his mind was already at the tip of exploding. It’s a lot of information for a guy to stomach at one time, especially because he was the mild and shy type and to listen to my repeat of “pad”, “tampon” and “vagina” it made his face flush red. There were times I had to repeat myself so he understood concepts surrounding tampons and how applicators worked and such. I was more than happy to show him as I happened to have bought a box of U by Kotex Click tampons in my trunk. Seeing the visual really helped him grasp the idea of tampons and what the differences are between pads and tampons. One last thing I touched-base on because I knew talking about disposal pads and tampons already gave him the shivers at the thought of menstrual fluid (and that when pads and tampons are soaked up, the flow is actually less than it appears) saturating a pad and tampon. An average menstrual flow isn’t all that bad in terms of actual amount, but when we visually see a soaked pad and tampon, it almost looks like a someone’s arm was cut off by a saw! I skimmed through alternative pad and tampon options such as menstrual cups and cloth pads and by then, I could see the air of discomfort rising in him. With that, I stopped but then there’s still much for ME to learn about reusable products which I want to do before writing more about them.

Recently, I’ve been very fascinated with Lunapads and really want to make a donation AND purchase a set for testing and perhaps for my interested girls or bebe! So there you have it guys, if you ever wonder how much that girls have to think about when choosing a product right for them, you realize why the aisles are so damn big and complex! Hopefully though, you will also realize that it’s not a trivial matter at all and that picking the right product really helps a girl get through her day accident-free and with a peace-of-mind! If you’re not afraid of your own menstrual flow, I’d REALLY recommend you switching to reusable products because they’re great for the environment, economical, healthier for your body and comfortable because they use REAL cotton and not synthesized materials!

Tampon Tuesday comes to Toronto on Sept 27, 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

http://www.tampontuesday.com/2011/09/tampon-tuesday-comes-to-toronto/

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!

Looks of Disgust, Jealousy or Perversion?

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!

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