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Saving Money & Investing: The Menstrual Way!

So with how unstable the world economy is right now, I figured I’d touch on the topic of saving money and investing. Now of course, what does this have to do with menstruation? Well after all, I try to keep things on-topic so of course it has to do with menstruation! I regularly talk to men and women about menstruation, particularly relating to feminine hygiene products. Why though, do I touch on this topic so often? It’s because menstruation costs money, seriously! If you’re a disposable products user (or once was), you’ll know exactly how much your period is costing you every month, every year. Now I understand that the world runs off businesses and things cost money, so I’m not going to say that feminine hygiene companies and manufactures are evil, but what is evil, is that in countries like mine (Canada), feminine hygiene products not only cost money, but the government taxes you on basic hygienic needs. Suffice to say, it’s not realistic for feminine hygiene products to be free, but the government already gets a double-dipping just because your menstruate (or buy the product). Suffice to say, I often hear my girls talk about their lack of money and that they’ll cut back on this-and-that, but rarely do I hear them consider their spending on feminine hygiene needs.

As someone who menstruates or purchases feminine hygiene products, the Canadian government feels that you should be penalized – or – at the very least, that they deserve an additional cut on your feminine hygiene supplies. How does the government get a nice double-cut of your products? Simple. First, the company which sells you your products has their revenues taxed. Second, as a consumer of feminine hygiene products, we also pay an additional 5% which also goes to the government. It’s of course fair for the government to tax companies (and individuals) for income earned, because after all, that’s what keeps the country up and going… however, they also earn an additional 5% because you happen to menstruate or use such supplies. As of 2009, it is said that the federal government of Canada penalizes women by an estimated $69 million per year¹!

Ok, so enough about our government since we’re not the only country who has such taxes for feminine hygiene supplies, but rest-assured, menstruating costs you money! So in a year of doubtful economy recovery and rising costs-of-living, feminine hygiene products should be the least of one’s concerns! So how can we alleviate such concerns? Let’s consider individuals such as students who work off limited resources (unless your family happens to be very wealthy) or low-class households who have small budgets, cost of feminine hygiene supplies add up very quickly. I’ll use one of my friends as an example:

She is a student and her tuition is already paid for by her parents. The only thing her parents expect of her is to maintain enough money to: 1) Pay for her living expenses, 2) personal/entertainment spending, and, 3) basic needs. She works part time and every week she earns about $200 gross, so don’t forget about income tax and general deductions. Assuming she is lucky enough to have that same schedule throughout the month, her approximate income is $800 over 4 weeks. Without going into the details of “sales”, let’s assume every period you spend about $6 approximately 20 pads or tampons. Of course this varies per person based on flow and also let’s not discount that dollar amount only applies to “active” menstruating times… many women also use pantiliners throughout their cycle which may really bump those figures upward. In a year, that’s $72. Wow, that $6 sure doesn’t look like a large chunk of $800 right? $400 goes to rent and that’s very basic ($400 left). $100 goes to utilities not covered by the rent ($300 left). $150 goes to groceries ($150 left). $70 goes to transportation ($80 left). Let’s not even get into things like movies, bars, clothing, haircuts or whatnot, so she has approximate $80 left in a month of “other” spending. So in a month 7.5% of her “left over” money needs to be spent on her pads and tampons. I removed the taxation aspect of her pay since individuals who make under the exemption in Canada doesn’t need to pay any taxes. All of a sudden, her cost of disposable products is a considerable amount.

So what can one do to help alleviate the cost? Well certainly “free bleeding” is an option for those with extremely light periods but is probably not the case for most women. I’m sure quite a few of you know I’m leading up to the idea of reusable menstrual products. Cloth pads, menstrual cups, sea sponges and the likes all are a great form of cutting costs from where it hurts (no pun intended). I have lightly touched on the topics of reusable products in the past and there is a world full of amazing sites on these products that can be accessed via Google, so you’re welcome to reference it. No doubt, reusable products have an initial “high-cost” impact, as such products can range from $40 to $150 (for full ‘period’ set of products), which may account for a year or two of purchasing conventional disposable products. Nevertheless, most of these reusable products lasts 4-5 years, therefore it’s a “long-term” investment. What I should point out is that unlike menstrual cups which usually require some form of manufacturing, it’s possible to make your own cloth pads with some material and know-how. Menstrual cups tend to be quickest “recovery” of invested money with short of a year worth of feminine hygiene supplies.

I suppose the question may come up about the cost of extra water spent on the cleaning of these products. I haven’t had any experience with sea sponges, so let’s put that aside for now. However, in the case of menstrual cups and cloth pads, the “additional cost” (if any) is miniscule. For cloth pads, unless they’re heavily saturated, cloth pads can be thrown in with regularly laundry. Some people opt to pre-rince them or use stain remover, but that’s strictly a personal choice or “as needed” based on the degree of pad saturation. Menstrual cups are even easier to clean since it’s a matter of “dump and wash” – although to enhance the sterility of the cup, it is usually recommended to do a boiling-water submersion to prepare it for the next period. All this doesn’t equate to a lot of additional water used.

As I mentioned before, some women like to use pantiliners all-cycle round, which makes cloth pantiliners even more attractive! Buying a weeks worth of cloth liners (or if you decide to make them) will keep you protected and can go in the weekly laundry anyway. For the women who feel that they’d feel more comfortable using reusable products only at home, that is still a great idea! There probably are women out there who use reusables at home and disposables outside. Feminine hygiene options are a personal choice of course, so you do what you feel is best and most relaxing. If I menstruated, I think I’d also do the same, although I really really like the idea of cloth pads! I also give the thumbs up for cups since they’re to only product that can provide you with a “one unit, many uses” product such that, you can carry it in your purse and not have to carry 3-4 pads or tampons for just-in-case, but being able to use that cup over and over again during a day! Can you see how this is more than just a cost-effective option?

Now that we’ve spent so much time on highlighting the cost savings of reusable products, let’s consider the investment part of this. What are you investing in when it comes to using reusable feminine hygiene products? Not only money, but in your health and the environment, something that you simply cannot attach a price tag too! In fact, wouldn’t almost everyone agree that your health is of utmost importance? Reusable feminine hygiene options are a beautiful way to keep trash out of the landfill and if only people took the time to think about how many pads and tampons are disposed of daily which is making a huge impact on pollution. Your ‘typical’ companies also manufacturer pads and tampons that will likely not degrade for ages. Think about what you want to leave the next generation, because 500 years from now, those who have inherited the earth from us will still be digging up your used pads and tampons … or well, at least walking and living on top of them!

I understand that it’s easier to spend $6 a bit at a time rather than a hundred dollars up front. I also understand some people are under financial constraints and putting that kind of money down initially may not be possible. However, if there’s anything next to survival needs that I’d invest in if I menstruated, it would be in either cloth pads or a menstrual cup! Over time, I’m saving myself tons of money and also investing in my own health, keeping chemically-treated and synthetic products away from my body. Also, there’s a reason why cotton panties are popular, because it’s comfortable, natural, allows your body to ‘breathe’ and as a result, healthy. Likewise, many cloth pads are made of cotton and other non-chemically treated absorbent materials. What are two important factors of any feminine hygiene product? Comfort and Absorbency! Cloth pads and menstrual cups have just that, at a fraction (over time) of the cost and is a great way to investing in future generations and that of your very own body! You may also find yourself surprizingly becoming more open about your body and menstruation when you open your mind and adopt reusable products. I have found that some of the most open-minded women I talk to about their bodies and periods tend to be ones who are use such products. Of course it may be because they were receptive enough to try these products in the first place, but you may find yourself suddenly becoming period-positive which is what I hope ALL men and women achieve!

The next time your “visitor” drops by, consider making the switch to a healthier, eco-friendly and more period-positive you!

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Eyes on SOPA/PIPA and the US Government

Though this post is hardly period-related, I thought I’d bring alight an internet concern that has plagued news headlines for the past while across the world. I’m sure some of you have guessed this is related to SOPA and PIPA legislation which is passing through congress in United States. As much as I am not exactly a “fan” of Americans to begin with, the actions of their chosen government promotes even more reason to hate their country. I’m not sure how far I stand on the “anti-American” scale and judging from many of my visitors probably being from the US, this is not going to be a very popular stance I’m taking, but since people have a right to enjoy/not read my blog, I allow myself to make a less-than-nice statement about the country which brought forth such a devastating blow to internet freedom.

For those who are aware of these legislation, you’re probably also well aware some of the worlds biggest online presence websites such as Wikipedia, Boing Boing, WordPress, Reddit, Imgur, Mojang, and Tucows will be blacking out their sites on January 18th in opposition to these bills. Below is Wikipedia’s letter to its’ users on their intent to support the blackout and denounce the direction which the “industry” and American government wants.

You can read the original post here.

To: English Wikipedia Readers and Community
From: Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director
Date: January 16, 2012

Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate – that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it’s a decision that wasn’t lightly made. Here’s how it’s been described by the three Wikipedia administrators who formally facilitated the community’s discussion. From the public statement, signed by User:NuclearWarfare, User:Risker and User:Billinghurst:

It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.
Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.
On careful review of this discussion, the closing administrators note the broad-based support for action from Wikipedians around the world, not just from within the United States. The primary objection to a global blackout came from those who preferred that the blackout be limited to readers from the United States, with the rest of the world seeing a simple banner notice instead. We also noted that roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations.

In making this decision, Wikipedians will be criticized for seeming to abandon neutrality to take a political position. That’s a real, legitimate issue. We want people to trust Wikipedia, not worry that it is trying to propagandize them.

But although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not. As Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh wrote on one of our mailing lists recently,

We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make to sense of it.
But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to.

The decision to shut down the English Wikipedia wasn’t made by me; it was made by editors, through a consensus decision-making process. But I support it.

Like Kat and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation Board, I have increasingly begun to think of Wikipedia’s public voice, and the goodwill people have for Wikipedia, as a resource that wants to be used for the benefit of the public. Readers trust Wikipedia because they know that despite its faults, Wikipedia’s heart is in the right place. It’s not aiming to monetize their eyeballs or make them believe some particular thing, or sell them a product. Wikipedia has no hidden agenda: it just wants to be helpful.

That’s less true of other sites. Most are commercially motivated: their purpose is to make money. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a desire to make the world a better place – many do! – but it does mean that their positions and actions need to be understood in the context of conflicting interests.

My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States, don’t advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Why is this a global action, rather than US-only? And why now, if some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat on SOPA?

The reality is that we don’t think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

  Make your voice heard!

On January 18, we hope you’ll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard.

Sue Gardner,
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

It seems like America has too much time on their hands or perhaps, just want to find ways to mess with the world legal system (because really, why should other countries care or abide by your shitty laws?) or rob citizens of their money. I wonder how many people they hire to spin this to make it sound like it will “benefit the average person” rather than hinder. I think America right now needs some more natural disasters to deal with, because the government sure has a lot of petty time on their hands. Perhaps they need more terrorists attacking them or something similar to 9-11 to let them know people aren’t happy with this. Whatever catastrophe’s happen to the US in the near future, they’re totally deserving of it. I’d be happy right now to wake up tomorrow morning and see not SOPA-related stuff on the news, but that perhaps that their country has been hit by cyber-criminals from China or a nuclear meltdown. In my prayers tonight, I will not be praying for a sound sleep, but in hopes that the US will be taught a lesson by the world not to try to break the world as much as it already is and perhaps concentrate on fixing the economy (by not robbing your citizens money due to “copyright” crimes) and creating a respectful country like it once was. I wasn’t born hating Americans, in fact, Americans used to be who I considered to be Canada’s greatest friend (beyond military and trade means), but that when I saw Americans in Canada, I’d be nice to them. Now when I see them on our highways, I try to run them off the road (especially if they’re speeding/driving recklessly because they think as an American, they can ignore Canadian-law), when I see them at tourist locations, I give them no respect, when I see “bad things” happen to the US, in the back of my mind I’m grinning and thinking “those suckers deserve it.” I loved Americans at one point in my life, but they have shown me too many times they’re not worth respecting.

Yes, perhaps I’m petty as well, but so is the US when they come up with things that stop the world from advancing. Sooner or later, they’ll turn into North Korea and China who monitor the breakfast you’re eating in the morning to how many shits you take a day. Hey wait, aren’t those countries the one that US detest the most for oppressing their citizens of free speech and uncensored internet connectivity? If the laws do get passed, US, you’re welcome to govern stuff in your own shitty country, but don’t impose laws on Canada and internationally where you don’t own dick all. I need to see if I can find toilet paper with the US flag printed on it so I can wipe my ass after I take a rancid shit.

Seasons Greeting & Merry Christmas 2011

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone Seasons Greetings and/or Merry Christmas from the Men In Menstruation team.

For those of you who got or already have your period today, congratulations! I hope your period treats you well as it’s a beautiful gift to have over the holidays. If your partner starts her period today and you’re a menstrual fan like me, I’m sure that this is a better Christmas present than anything money can buy 🙂

If you’ve delayed getting gifts, consider buying some reusable feminine hygiene products this year or perhaps to vouch that in the new year 2012 that converting or at least trying a reusable menstrual protection is on your list of things to do!!

Have a safe one, everyone!

Interesting Thoughts For Holidays

You know, holidays always brings along interesting thoughts. It’s Christmas Eve here in Ontario, with only a mere few hours away to 2011’s Christmas.

Last year, this time, Bebe told me (she was in Malaysia at the time and I was visiting in Hong Kong) that she’d come to Hong Kong to meet up with me. When she sent me her itinerary, I seriously thought I was in heaven. I was blessed, excited, thrilled and felt like I was on top of the world. For the 5 days which Bebe stayed in Hong Kong with me, it was amazing and undoubtedly for the my entire lively existence could be the best week so far. Holidays, draw upon many of our memories thinking of the past and potential futures. Likewise, this will be the 5th year that my dad has not been with us. Though his physical presence is no longer here, his memories still live on in all of us and as well a reminder not to be sad, but to cherish all the time we had.

This year, will also be my first year that one of my ex’s has decided to ignore me. I know I skipped out on plans with her as a result of my mom’s health issues. I tried explaining to her, but apparently that wasn’t enough to convince her that I had a legitimate reason to lose a plan. I understand her being upset, particularly because I’m one of those people who absolutely hate it when people lose plans on ME or aren’t punctual with a set time. I can definitely give grace for situations where there were uncontrollable situations or changes with matter of life-and-death. To be honest, I do quite miss my ex’s presence and though we only touched base once in a while, she was and is still a very important person in my life. Though we may be separated for many years again, perhaps one day we will meet up again.

Christmas is a time to rejoice, both to enjoy happy times but also to reflect on the bad. Not everything in life is happy and I know several friends and family who have even lost someone special in their life this year. However, we can continue to make the best of our life and to honour those we have lost by keeping them close to our hearts.

I also want to make this Christmas great, by reminding myself that one year ago, how special Bebe made me vacation to Hong Kong (which normally rocks already) by visiting me. She took the time, effort and money, to come meet me and make my holiday a shining one. I also want to thank her mother and father, for raising such a wonderful daughter and hope one day, they will entrust me with her in my arms. I also want to remember my deceased father who along with my living mother, gave life to me to enjoy and make this very blog entry this day. I want my ex, “L” to know that despite her ignoring of me and being upset with my lack of responsiveness to plans, that I still do miss her a lot and her status within my heart hasn’t changed.

On a happy note for me, I went to visit one of my god-sis’ today and when I got to her house, she jumped on my back (because she’s considerably younger than me) and told me excitedly she got her period this morning. She loves it when she can give me good news like that, so I smiled and gave her her present 🙂 It made my day nicer! 😆

Seasons greetings and have a safe & happy holiday!

Making Your Washroom “Girl” Friendly – Toilet Etiquette

With the holidays arriving quickly upon us, many of us will be traveling from location to location, either hosting a party or being a guest of a party. One thing that one of my friends recently approached me about, was how to make a washroom “girl-friendly”. I do attest that with many of my male friends, particularly those who lived off-campus with a bunch of guys or on his own, that their washrooms tend not to be girl-friendly. Of course washroom etiquette goes beyond whether the toilet is friendly for females, but just general hygienic practice is equally important. Unless that particular bathroom is not going to be available for guests, it’s important that guys keep some thoughts in mind if you plan on having girls over, or rather, if you plan on having them over ever again.

One key thing that most “male” washrooms neglect is a trash bin. Other than just the obvious disposal of tampons, tampon applicators, pads and pad wrappers, many women also opt to discard used toilet paper (non-excrement ones) in the trash rather than in the toilet. This is more true for those who have older houses who know that one-too-much toilet paper into the commode will usually get it clogged. Most of the girls I know and have actually ran this by do say they prefer disposing their pee-wipe toilet paper into the trash rather than in the toilet. Only 2 of them told me they “dispose it in the toilet all the time”. As I have noticed, washrooms in male-oriented living quarters tend to lack trash bins… I suppose one could argue that we have no ‘need’ for one for ourselves as any time we need to wipe is usually when we defaecate and not generally for pee-wiping.

Many of my girls have told me they dislike going to male-only households for this reason, because while pitching used toilet paper in the commode and flushing is a reasonable expectation, I can definitely tell you that pads do not belong in the toilet whatsoever. I have had to help a friend unclog a toilet before because his girlfriend couldn’t find a trash in his washroom, so she attempted to flush it down the toilet. Though most modern toilets and sewage systems will marginally deal with pads, you’re not going to get lucky every time. By providing a trash bin, you allow a girl to discretely dispose of her used products rather than trying to ‘hide’ it by flushing it down the toilet. If you’ve never had the experience before, plumbing work is very expensive. Please provide a trash receptacle of some sort in the washroom, better yet have a lid on it. Speaking of which for the guys, for your own trash emptying sake, you might want to use a bag so that you can close your eyes, tie it up and take it to the trash after.

The following recommendation doesn’t necessarily apply just to making a washroom girl-friendly, but might even be applicable for the guys. If you plan on having guest over, particularly when there are lots of women (because let’s face it, most of us would agree/admit that households with more women tend to consume toilet paper at a MUCH quicker rate than an all-male household). As long as you have space to spare in your washroom, ensure the toilet paper roll is regularly available and to always keep 1-2 in an accessible and open area, unless you know the guest well enough where they’d rummage through your drawers to get spares. I will usually keep 2 extra rolls of toilet paper right on top of the commode, above the water tank. Here’s an extra thought for you too, though I kind of experienced this (sadly) in a public washroom. Before using that particular stall, I didn’t check to see if there was actually toilet paper available – or well, enough of it. After finishing up my duties, I went to get toilet paper and sure enough, there was a questionable amount left. If you’re hosting parties at your own place, try to always ensure that there is an ample amount of toilet paper available, because no one wants (or wants to see someone) to waddle or scream from the washroom for toilet paper to wipe!

If you can, provide a fixed air-fresheners or a spray. Many of us would say we “over eat” during the holiday seasons, so then we all know, “What goes in, must come out.” In a house that only has one or two available washrooms for guest, make sure that the revolving doors of visitors don’t have to face the last persons stench. I know, I know… our bodies shouldn’t be shunned, but most of us don’t excrete rose-petals either. Pads or tampons which are not properly disposed and allow prolonged contact with open-air may emanate a smell, so if you’re not providing a close-lid trash, then the air freshener will help to mask any dried-period smell coming from the used products.

Clean up after yourself, because I’ve seen some very raunchy male toilets before. We, I’ve seen toilet seats covered in pubic hair and toilet bowls that doesn’t seem like they’ve ever been cleaned. Also, as a penis-owner, I can say we don’t always have “full control” – or rather, water dynamics can be a very interesting thing. For girls who don’t have brothers/father/male family members living in the same household or who are just super-hygienic will sometimes cringe at the thought of pee-droplets all over the toilet. I remember one of my girls came over had to actually ask my mom to wipe the toilet for her before she could go – because apparently, it is OK for my mom to taint her hands wiping it, but not her. Of course I knew it wasn’t my pee because I have a habit of making sure “pee spray” is cleaned up due to training by my bebe 😆 Even bebe having 4 brothers, she still can’t stand when pee flies everywhere so I’m also extra diligent about splash-back when using her toilet. Don’t forget that many girls sit on the toilet when they go, so clean up the seat to the point where even you would sit on it (unless you’re a really dirty person). If you can’t do that, perhaps consider providing those toilet seat covers.

Looking to be extra girl-friendly then consider leaving accessible pads and tampons in the washroom so that one of your visitors caught off-guard doesn’t have to make it “public knowledge” that her period has arrived. Plus, no one wants to spoil the mood of the party or have to leave just because their visitor dropped in for a visit! I know 2 of my friends who really dislike having girls over who don’t seem to know how to “wrap and dispose” their stuff properly, so they even provide small brown paper bags for girls to throw their stuff in before dropping it into the trash. To me, that’s overkill and probably being environmentally unfriendly – but to each their own. I can stand the sight of a used, opened-pad and tampon without getting all queasy, but I can also understand that people don’t generally like looking at someones (or even their own) liquids. For the girls: If you consider flushing your tampons or if you’re on your period, please try to make sure the tampon is actually whisked away on the first flush and that your menstrual flow and clots don’t come back up. Again, not something that bothers me, but something that definitely bothers most guys to see 😛

Keep your ‘questionable’ products hidden. I know that in the end, your washroom is your washroom, but if you have girls visiting (and particularly if you’re trying to make a good impression), it is a good idea to “keep it clean”. If you normally leave stuff like porno magazines, lube, sex toys or whatnot in the washroom, it may be a good idea to conceal them well. I’m sure not too many girls would imagine you don’t masturbate, BUT, sometimes it is a matter of “out of sight, out of mind” – because a girl probably doesn’t want to be going pee and seeing your lube and toys on the counter top.

I know that when you live alone or with other guys, letting things get “out of shape” can be very easy and reversing that, takes a lot of work. I remember going to my guy friend’s house who had 4 guys living in it, sharing a single bathroom. I was afraid to touch anything in that bathroom, worried that if I did, I’d probably get a handful of pubes or that white soap may not actually be… soap. There were clear indications that no one wiped anywhere after peeing, since there were dried pee-spots all over the floor and splashes against the seat. That washroom was barely me-friendly, let alone for most girls (and I have a pretty high tolerance as it stands) to even think about relieving themselves there.

If you have any further thoughts or considerations, please feel free to comment or let me know 😀

When Even the Best of Guys Needs Help

This will be a short post, but I recall a commercial that reminded me of a particular retailer when I was in Hong Kong. A mass merchandiser drugstore similar to North Americas equivalent of Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall provided a very unique service which might help with guys who may feel that purchasing feminine hygiene products for his partner or a female family member is a daunting task. As mentioned in the subject of this entry, even the guys with the best intentions may be completely confused by all the choices of feminine hygiene products when standing in the aisle. Sometimes, it isn’t even the guy who’s embarrassed, but I’ve found that men in the feminine hygiene aisle seem to cause embarrassment or an aura of awkwardness even for the ladies. Even for the guys who are not afraid of wandering down the aisle and making the purchase, mistakes are bound to be made resulting in a very disgruntled female in your life (or worse, females)

In Hong Kong, at least one retailer has managed to provide somewhat of a solution for this. A household’s female member could actually call ahead of the time to the store to make arrangements with a list of purchases to be made. Within a reasonable amount of the time (and the efficiency in Hong Kong is impeccable), the products are already packed and ready to go for pickup. If there are sensitive items as part of the shopping list, the retailer will usually put all the purchases in paper-like bag, or you can always request one at no extra charge. When purchases include things like feminine hygiene products, condoms or pharmaceutical items, they’re pretty diligent about making sure that these purchases can’t be viewed ‘from the outside’. One might say this is “backwards thinking” and especially to be something promoted on my site, but let’s face it, not every guy will ever feel comfortable or buy these items accurately. Therefore if there is a foolproof way of ensuring the right items are purchased, here it is!

The retailer has a bunch of funny and cute commercials, with a guy who’s been asked to make purchases because his girlfriend’s “best friend has arrived”. He confidently says he can take care of it because he knows he can rely on this retailer to ensure the right products are purchased and that they are discretely handled when he arrives to pick them up. I know this might raise a few concerns are it’s contrary to my hopes we can make feminine hygiene purchases just as if were buying fruit, but sometimes you can’t change everything and everyone. At least this will provide a more reliable method of a girl to ask her male friend/family to get something for them if they’re unable to go to the store themselves.

After this is all said and done, this service is available to all customers, not just female ones… however, for the sake of the topic of the blog, I rest my case. I’m sure a guy could ask his partner or female family member to pick something hemorrhoid cream or wart remover and it’d be perfectly valid to have these items prepacked and ready to leave the store! Other than this service, the next most discrete way at getting the right items is delivery services, which also seem to be rare in North America (or rather, at a reasonable price), but speed of getting these products would be a concern if the leak is already pooling up 🙄 I wonder if retailers here will begin providing such services or whether it would be as popular here as it is in Asia…

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.

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.

*NEW* Kotex Natural Balance @ Walmart $2.47/ea

So…. one of my great readers, Andie, told me that she found the Kotex Natural Balance pads (ultra thins, maxis and pantiliners!!!!!) on sale at Walmart this week. Of course I’m not sure whether this is Canada-wide or Province-wide, so please check your local flyers online or at the store. For those who I know didn’t buy into the U by Kotex line will be happy to know that the Kotex Natural Balance line follows suit with the traditional line-up of available sizing, including the thick pad form. I know a lot of my fellow menstrual enthusiasts weren’t too happy that UbK forwent having a maxi-lineup in their product and was a disappointment.

The picture shown in the flyer is still of the “traditional” Kotex pads and doesn’t make it clear that they’re also offering Natural Balance pads. Well good news, THEY ARE! They’re also available at the same price as the regular line of Kotex products (so perhaps they might cease to offer the regular line at some point – I don’t know, I don’t work for Kotex, just speculation) at $2.47 per pack at Walmart! I have to admit there appears to be quite the “confusion” in the sense that the women who are doing pad-shopping seem to really be caught up on this new pad line. I can tell that as I was picking out products, they too, were taking the time to check out the Natural Balance pads. The crazy thing is I saw some lady who seemed totally flustered at it – as if a new addition on the shelf has unearthed the equilibrium in her world. I know having new pads on the shelf gives people something extra to look at, but that lady seemed on the brink of implosion, hehe.

Kotex Natural Balance (Regular Maxi w/o Wings)

   

Kotex Natural Balance (Overnight Maxi w/o Wings)

The new packaging is quite appealing, but the package material is the same – plastic. The package lists all the features of the new pads. Oddly enough, the entire line actually has some minor differences in what they offer.

The overnight absorbency only lists that it has “Aloe” and is “pH Balanced” BUT the regular absorbency has “Touch of Cotton“, “Aloe” and is “pH Balanced” … I haven’t quite looked into the composition of the pad to see what the difference is as a result of having a “touch of cotton” for the regular absorbency. I’ve already opened the package and began testing it, but I’m not going to include the review for this post until I’ve done some thorough testing and get some opinions from my girls! One thing I have to say is that the feeling of the Natural Balance pad is very very comfortable, a very soft top layer and while it worried me initially from the flimsiness, it’s good fitting. The aloe on the pad top helps skin stay smooth and in a way, helps keep the sticky/wet feeling away from the skin. I’m sure this pad is great to use long-term, because it has infused vitamin E and a light scent from the Aloe which helps maintain odour control without being too pungent. I will say however, in order for you to smell the Aloe, you literally have to put you nose to the pad as it’s not a very prevailing smell.

For the time being, I’m going to gather my research for this pad so I can write a good review. Will do some testing myself as well as get opinions from my girls as to what they think of the pad. Luckily, a few of my girls will be starting their period in the coming week, so it won’t be long! I realize I could probably write a review right now and that other menstrual-site owners will try to beat me to it – but I don’t really care, I don’t write this blog to race people 😆

If you’ve already used these pads and would like to speak up about them, feel free!

If you’re looking at giving the Natural Balance pads a shot, this week is THE week to get your hands on them, on sale, for $2.47 from Walmart!

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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