The embarrassing period story. It’s sort of a subgenre of teenage life, in hushed tones in the school hallway, or sitting on the carpet in your best friend’s room, you exchange stories about the first time you had your period, or that time you had an accident at the pizza restaurant, or the mortifying tale of when you had to ask a male relative to get you pads. At age 39 it’s certainly something I thought I’d grown past. But pull in a chair and listen ladies, because I have one embarrassing take to share, a veritable period story from hell. (And consider this your one and only warning folks; I’m about to talk about pads, and menstruating, if you find that sort if thing distasteful now would be a good time to click elsewhere).
Back in March we went on a family road trip to Toronto. We were enroute to Toronto, driving on the 401, when I realized my period had started. Surprise! No big deal though, right? I figured we’d just stop at the next rest station and I’d “fix things”.
Now I should probably mention, my husband was feeling ill. He was riding through a particularly nasty colitis flare-up. We had already rescheduled this trip after the kids came down with the flu, not wanting to postpone it again we decided to go, even though he wasn’t feeling well. All of which is to say he also needed the bathroom and didn’t want a kid in tow. So when we got to the rest-stop, I headed into the bathroom with both girls. The big kid went off into her own stall and the four year old came into my stall with me.
I dug around in my purse and came up with a tampon. Now here’s the thing, you guys can laugh at me but I never wear tampons. Like maybe once a year or less often, basically only if I want to swim. I prefer pads. But for whatever reason there were no pads in my purse, just this tampon. And since I don’t use them very often, I’m not all that great at putting them in. So here I am standing there in a bathroom stall, with my very curious 4 year old pretty much in my face, trying to “install” the damn thing and failing miserably. And that’s when I dropped it in the toilet. After fishing it out and tossing it in the garbage, I dug around in my purse wishing and praying there was another tampon tucked in there somewhere, but there wasn’t. And all of this was done as my four year old loudly asked question after question. I could hear snickering from the stall next to me. My older daughter started chiming in from two doors down, asking what was going on. Someone was standing outside my stall laughing. I was not amused.
Now I know what you’re thinking, dropping your only tampon into the toilet and having strangers laugh at you as your four year old offers to help fish it out is a little bit embarrassing, but only a little bit, maybe a 5 or 6 out of 10. It’s hardly the utterly mortifying tale I promised, but then, this story is still just getting started.
Blushing hotly I headed out of the stall, figuring I would spend a quarter, or fifty cents or whatever it is, and buy a pad from the dispenser in the bathroom, but I quickly discovered that I didn’t have any change on me. I went to the Tim Horton’s and bought a box of Tim Bits to munch on in the car later, just so I could break a twenty. By this point hubby was sitting in the restaurant area waiting for me and the girls, so I left the kids, and the Tim Bits, with him and headed back into the bathroom. I carefully put a quarter into the machine and turned the dial. There was a click. It ate my quarter, but nothing popped out. I tried a second time. Same results. The damn machine ate my money. It was late enough that the convenience store in the rest stop was closed up. Ok, time for Plan B, I headed back into a stall, solo this time, and jury rigged something messy out of toilet paper. That would have to do until the next stop.
We stopped at the next waystation. The pad/tampon dispenser in this washroom had an “out of service” sign hanging off of it, which I suppose was marginally better then it eating more of my quarters. I again stuffed my panties with carefully folded wads of toilet paper, and off we went. I told hubby that we needed to find a convenience store, a Shoppers Drug Mart, something, but he didn’t see the pressing need. “I think there’s one just down the way from the hotel”, he said. “You can walk over there after we check in.” The kids were getting cranky from the long ride and my husband wasn’t feeling well, so I let it ride.
We arrived at the hotel. Our stay was part of a blog review, and I needed to be the one to check-in because the room was in my name. As I was standing there waiting at the counter I suddenly realized my toilet paper jury rig wasn’t holding up. I could feel blood dripping down my leg. Did I mention I was wearing a skirt? This is bad. This is embarrassing. However I only wish this is as bad as this story gets, because later this tale manages to become worse still.
I scurried out of the lobby hoping no one had noticed I was “leaking”. Booked it up to the room and set up another make-shift toilet paper mess, and then went down to the hotel store to buy some pads. Being the hotel gift shop, they didn’t exactly have a fantastic selection of feminine hygiene products. At this point I was beyond caring. Whatever they had would surely be fine. The teenage boy staffing the counter was embarrassed to have to fetch me the heavy duty overnights from the glass case behind the cash register. I paid, and headed back up to my room to put on a pad, thinking my woes were over.
Now, I always buy Always. I’ve tested out other brands over the years and always end up back with my tried and true favourite. Particularly since they came out with those amazing super thin, super absorbent Always Infinity pads (Remember last year when I got to visit the Always Belleville factory and check out how the infinicel core is made?). This time, standing there in that hotel gift shop, desperate to grab whatever was at hand, I bought Some Other Brand, and man oh man did I ever end up regretting it, because the next day something completely mortifying happened.
Right from the bat I wasn’t impressed with these pads. They felt big and clunky. I’ve been wearing the super thin Always Infinity pads since they came out a few years back, so this was the first time I had worn a “regular” pad in quite some time and it felt uncomfortable and bunchy. It made me think, “Geesh, if this is what pads feel like maybe I get why people wear tampons.” I figured the problem was more with me then it was the pads, and having already bought these I wasn’t going to run out and buy more. I could deal with a little discomfort, I was going to use what I had.
Except they sucked. They really and truly sucked. First they leaked overnight and left stains on the white hotel sheets, but I chalked it up to a heavy flow and kept using the pads. Then we headed out to the Ontario Science Centre for the day, and despite frequent pad changes my panties ended up soaked in blood. By this point I was certain the pads were crummy, but I was still determined to use them up rather than waste them.
We stopped in back at the hotel room; I changed my underwear, put on a fresh pad and headed directly down to dinner. We sat and had dinner in the fancy hotel restaurant, dinner which had been arranged by the hotel’s PR department as part of our stay. The meal was great. But when I stood up to leave I discovered that I had leaked through my outfit and bleed on to their beige fabric seat cushion. In a panic I grabbed a napkin and blotted at it. Thoughts were racing through my head…. What do I do? Do I try and clean it up? Do I mention it to the server or do I just get the heck out of there?
Hubby hadn’t noticed and is walking away with the big kid, while the little one is approximately four seconds away from a major meltdown, because I set her “to go cookies” back down on the table. And this couple sitting right next to me is staring at me in abject horror. Maybe it’s because my kid is being awful, or maybe it’s because they’ve noticed I’ve left blood on the seat? Who knows. The choice being either exit quietly or stand there and try and wave down the waiter so I can make a scene as my kid screams while I explain how I soiled their fancy chairs; I just put the napkin back over my seat and walked out.
When I told a good friend about what happened that evening she said “Yikes! That sucks so bad! I would have knocked over a drink onto the seat. Accidentally on purpose. (been there done that).” Brilliant. Except I was drinking water. Next time remind me to order the red wine. Sigh.
Anyroad, it was embarrassing, super horribly embarrassing, particularly when I’m there as a blogger guest. And I blame those crummy pads. When we got back from the Science Centre, I changed and then went right down to dinner. How bad does a pad have to suck to not even last one hour?? “Unless you are haemorrhaging”, as my wise and humorous friend said, that’s simply not up to snuff.
The moral of this story is, 1) when in doubt, order the red wine, 2)always keep your purse stocked with pads, 3)always bring pads in your suitcase, just in case, and 4) always buy Always.
Disclosure: I’m a P&G Mom, and as such I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. As always the opinions on this blog are my own. Photo Credit: Spilled wine photo courtesy of Gunnar Grimnes.