Saturday, March 11, 2017

Scent of a woman

I have really been struggling with buying tampons recently.

I have been buying tampons for almost twenty years now, so you would think this wouldn't really be an issue. And I'm a pretty brand loyal girl. The Tampex with the flushable applicators has been my go-to since I was old enough to need a go-to.

Recently though, they either got rid of the ones with the flushable applicators, or they hid them or something because I walk into Walgreens and I am flummoxed. I find myself standing there, looking for these boxes that I've been self-consciously carrying to the checkout line for over half my life. And they aren't there. The ones I want, my tampons, aren't there. Sometimes they have a store brand version that is almost what I want, but like I said, I am a snob when it comes to tampons (#firstworldperks).

So I stand there and I come to the conclusion that the ones I want aren't there. Then, for some reason, picking the runner up to settle for is impossible. They're aggressively adorably packaged or they're too complicated, or they seem irrationally expensive. All the options blur together and then I realize that it has been five minutes. At this point, two or three women may have come by, picked up their box and left. While I have never seen a side-eye, I have felt them walking away thinking, "Seriously? Are you new?" And after all that I finally get to a point in the mindlessly staring at boxes and just pick one up and pay for it.

Which is how I have ended up with scented tampons twice in the past six months.

The fact that scented tampons even exist is proof positive that the tampon companies are run by men. At a time when you are already feeling bloated and hungry and generally gross, to also feel like you smell so bad, that you have to deodorize the stopper you shove inside yourself. We all know that tampons are full of terrible chemicals that are slowly leeching into our organs like so many power plants into drinking water, but to add additional chemicals all in the name of keeping the people around you from being inconvenienced by the smell of so much uterine lining? It was clearly only men around the table at that strategy meeting.

So now, I'm stuck with these tampons that smell like mall kiosk body spray, that indicate I smell unacceptable, and that remind me I can't manage to pick tampons like a grown-up.

The real problem with tampons recently is that they are a sign of failure. After what seems like a hundred years, but is really only just over one year, of trying to get pregnant, every single tampon has reminded me that I am currently unable to perform my most basic biological function. Every time I buy a box (scented or no), I let myself have this brief glimmer of hope that maybe this will be the last box for a while. But for the past thirteen months of boxes, I have used the last one and then brought home another box, like a failed math test for your parents to sign.

Compounding the annoyance and tedium of a period with a sense of sometimes just, bone crushing sadness about failing again and again at something that everyone around you seems to only ever get right. And to add being bad at buying tampons to the equation really seems to bring the hammer down on my soul.

...anyway. I'm bad at buying tampons right now.


Laura S said...

Love you lots, Rachel.

Roots & Wings said...

<3 <3

She's pint-sized and amazing.