Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Last Thing You Expected

Well, the women will think this is funny. The men... I bet not so much. *grin* I wrote this a couple months ago to some girlfriends. Before I started blogging, I used to just write weird stuff to family and friends... odd things I'd see or something my kids had done. Flash forward to a couple days ago when I sent this to a guy friend as a joke and he laughed and said I should blog it. So here it goes... a man's worst nightmare for a blog! Also, at the end, I have intentionally edited a word in case you are reading it at work. I don't want work sensors banning people from my blog. I tried to send this to my sister via e-mail a couple months ago and her work wouldn't let it pass through... I guess it came off as porn.

I don’t loathe going to the store to buy feminine hygiene products, but I don’t like it much so I save it until the last possible moment. Occasionally, I’m down to enough “items” to last me two hours when I decide I will make the trek. Sometimes I plan in advance, but that is only if I don’t have the boys. I haven’t the energy to explain to my boys what these items are used for and with my luck the questions WON’T occur while in the van, barreling down I-95 at 75 MPH, but rather while actually in Publix, with a crowd around, in their outside voices. Yes, they’ve seen these items in my bathroom drawer, but only when they were inquisitive and small. One time I was in the shower and came out to find Son#3 having unwrapped 20 tampons, and pulled the cotton out of the applicators. There was cotton, applicators, and paper wrappings strewn all over my floor. Another time Son#1 had taken off the adhesive tape protector from the back of a panty liner, and stuck the liner on his forehead as if it were some type of sweat band. Yes, these are memories we keep, but do not take pictures of.

When I actually venture out to buy the products, I quickly pick something and throw it in my cart. I never buy things with it that are indicative of PMS such as Advil or chocolate. I don’t know why, but I just have this aversion to everyone around me knowing I might be PMSing. I have my tried and true brands I prefer. I prefer the Playtex and not to get to graphic, but because it is a plastic applicator and as a young woman, it just psychologically seemed like it would be easier to ‘use’. I have not varied from it over the last 26 years, but although there have been other new Tampon brands out, for the most part how much can you change that product? Not much. You have three basic absorbencies: super, regular, or light. Three applicators: plastic, cardboard or self. I guess it’s kind of like bagging groceries: Do you want paper or plastic? Blech. I digress.

Of course over in the pad arena, things are constantly changing. Just from my glimpses, since we now know I don’t actually stand there and spend 30 minutes shopping and reading packages, I have seen we have quite an array of choices. We’ve gone from those thick horrible things I swear you could see through your pants in the 70’s, to ‘the darn things got wings!’. If I want to try something new, I randomly pick a new product, throw it in my basket, and keep walking, figuring it will more than likely do its job.

Recently, however, I did notice that Playtex did come out with something new. I had my trusty pink box in hand, about to throw it in my cart when out of the corner of my eye I found a ‘new’ pink box with bold print stating something like, “Now! New Applicator for more comfort!” I am getting these words wrong, I am sure, but trust me when I say, I believe I got the gist of it correct. Part of me thought I should just keep walking. I mean, please, I’ve had three kids, and not to get vulgar, but nothing is really all that uncomfortable anymore. Maybe if I was 20, but at 38 with having had three (3) 8-81/2 pound kids with heads so big we nicknamed them Bubble Head or HEED! (think Mike Meyer’s Movie, “I Married and Ax Murderer”), nothing like a tampon could be deemed uncomfortable at this stage in my life. However, the other part of me was curious. So I put my trusty tried and true pink box back on the shelf and got the NEW pink box and threw it in my cart.

Back at home, I take a good look at the box. God Forbid should I stand in the open aisle of Publix and over analyze the product in public. It says the applicator now conforms for better comfort. I open one up and the applicator is now cardboard. I’m OK with that, but what strikes me most is the shape. I’ve opened up one of the super absorbency ones, so granted, it is ‘larger’ than the other, but it now has this weird tapered end. Tampax has always had a blunt end. Playtex has always had a rounded end. This one is distinctly tapered, but not to a point. With its pink cardboard applicator, its super absorbency width, and its tapered end, it now looks just like a …. Pen-is! Oh My God! I thought I would die laughing. That must be what they mean to conforms to more natural comfort. I wonder if they had some Advisory Group of Women and could the conversation have gone something like this?

Playtex: What could we do to make our product better?

Advisory Group of Women: Make it more comfortable… not so ‘foreign’ feeling.

Playtex. And how might we achieve that.

Advisory Group of Women: Make it shaped like a pen-is, after all, that’s what really belongs there, right???

Hmm. Just wondering.


Blogger Harvey said...


I avoid Feminine Hygiene Products like the French avoid soap, so I'm completely baffled by most of this. However, I really enjoyed the few parts I could understand ;-)

And if it makes you feel any better, I shop exactly the same way if I have to buy hemorrhoid-related items :-)

1:16 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Now that's funny! The worst is after you've given birth, and have to deal without Tampax, which in my opinion was the best invention since the wheel. As for buying the things, well, I just ask Alex. He has two sisters, and nothing shocks him.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Tammi said...

I shopped just like you when I had to get that stuff.

Now, even after 15 years, I stroll down that aisle in Publix and laugh. Laugh, laugh laugh. :) It's always enough to put a smile on my face. I don't miss it one bit, nope, not one little bit!!!

6:38 AM  
Blogger pamibe said...

That was highly entertaining, especially when I came to 'HEED'; Somehow you and hubby melded into Myers as his silly Scots father, and the background music for the rest of the post became 'Saturday Night' of course...!

For some reason I've always been embarrassed to buy those products, but Arthur never has. Doesn't bother him a bit. Lucky... ;)

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure those new applicators aren't just an attempt to get around that Alabama law against toys?
Early in our marriage shopping became my chore, The Boss makes out a list, I go to the market(s). It's cheaper that way, my lovely wife is an impulse buyer. So am I, just not in the supermarket. She gets a list for cleaning supplies and handloading components at the gun shops when times are tight.
Here is a little trick, ladies. Most men resist buying tampons and sanitary napkins and suchlike, you know that. What you don't know is that we don't avoid that chore out of distaste, but fear of buying the Wrong Thing and looking stupid to our beloved. The trick? Cut the lable out of the box and send your guy to the store with it. There is very little in this world more pathetic than some poor sap standing in that supermarket in front of that bewildering array of products looking at a list that just says 'tampons'.
It got more fun when our daughter 'became a woman' and there I was with two lables. The women in the market started giving me sidewise looks.
The cut out the lable trick works for all kinds of things.
Somewhat OT, but almost everyone is an impulse buyer in one kind of store or other. Few couples are each impulse buyers in the same kind of store. Couples who can identify their impulse danger spots and learn to send their partners to them will have far less month to face when the money runs out, thus far fewer fights about money.

9:13 AM  
Blogger That 1 Guy said...

(grinning and shaking head)

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God, that is so funny. I'm so glad I don't have to do that anymore.


11:35 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

"Are you sure those new applicators aren't just an attempt to get around that Alabama law against toys?" ROFLMAO! Peter, you are a funny guy! Do you have a blog? If so, let me know so I can add it to my blogroll!

I've never asked my spouse to buy anything for me. I think in general men don't get embarrassed by it, however, because it isn't effecting them other than they have to live with the person it is! When they buy it nothing is screaming, "PMS!" or anything else. If anything, rhey're getting sympathy looks from people around them that a) they had to buy this stuff or b) they may very well be living in a 3 day hell. :)

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm - never bothers me a bit to go buy that stuff. What does bother me is the fact that they keep changing the friggin' labels!!! Like repackaging is going to make the product better. I like to buy the same thing each time, but it often takes me 5-10 minutes just to FIND it! *sigh* LOL.

-- Teresa

3:32 PM  
Blogger _Jon said...

Well, there isn't much that will embarrass me there.
Consider that most pain killers will make you constipated. I've had to go to the store at 6 in the morning to buy whatever I could that would get rid of that problem asap. Yeah, that's the only stuff I bought. There was no point in saying "they aren't for me" - even though they weren't, as it really didn't matter. :)

7:16 PM  
Blogger kermit the toad said...

My wife won't let me buy for her anymore. Here's why...

First of all, I would go to the Max-Pak section of Ralph's where you can buy some items in bulk. I would look for the box of 100 (40 super, 40 medium, and 20 light). I would grab that box and heft it up on my shoulder like a '70's boom box with an afro attatched to the speaker. I would walk them up to a counter with a female checker and set them down, puffing my chest. When I got to the front of the line, The gal would invariably have a female bagger, and there were usually females in the line behind me. I tell you what, if I ever had a day where I had a low feeling of self worth, all I had to do was go get those tampons at Ralphs. Nothing lifts the spirits of a man, married or not, than being the subject of conversation among half the ladies in the store ahen they tell you your wife is lucky to have a man like you that loves her enough to go get the 'thingies' for her, and how they wish they had a man like you.

But my wife caught wind of my 'therapy sessions'. Now I don't buy them anymore.

By the way, it gave all the guys in line behind me something that I guess would be akin to "penis-envy".

8:48 PM  

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