According to rough calculations, I’ve had my menstrual period 340 times in my life, and still, every 28 days, like clockwork, I’m surprised. Despite my regularity, with the date long predicted, every month, it’s like we’re meeting for the first time. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I’ve gone to wipe, saw the smear of bright red and haven’t thought, for a split-second, “maybe I’m bleeding out.”
When I was younger, I made little eye contact with the clean up equipment. I did everything with a squint in my eye, to blur out the details. But over the years, I’ve seen things I didn’t like and should be saved for doctors who signed up to see gore and human insides. Every month something about my period will make me think I’ve lost a piece of an organ.
I’ve learned to recognize the PMS terrorist one week ahead of attack, when every minor familial indiscretion is fingers on the chalkboard, I know my hormones are taken hostage and are unwillingly being spiked off the chart. My husband is very understanding during this time and just smiles, nods, (maybe ignores me a little), and says, “Oh honey, it’s not you, it’s the hormones.” You’d think he was the child of an alcoholic. I guess he’s just lived with me long enough. My mantra is I go above and beyond to be a really great wife for 3/4 of the month. That last week, I feel free to walk around the house naked, bitching and screaming about such catastrophes as the empty glass by the couch and why is everyone yelling, “mommy” every two seconds?
On a recent bout with the bleeds, I realized I wasn’t properly equipped with the appropriate tampon absorption. No “Super Plus” for day two! This meant I was on tampon-changing duty, every hour on the hour all night. Like I had a newborn, only instead of diapers, I kept changing my cotton plugs. In this middle of the night scarlet marathon, I had a funny thought. I wondered if anyone (maybe in a drunken stupor) thought of inserting two smaller tampons when they didn’t have a big enough one. I laughed it off; who could survive the heart attack of the potential of two lost strings?
I told my husband this concept and he said, “I’m sure someone has done this.” He says this stone-faced and continued to contemplate how it would be physically possible. “You’d have to put them side by side,” he says.
“Spoken by a man who has never had the nightmare of losing the string,” I say.
So he says, “I may never have had a period, but I have inside knowledge. A cock is bigger than a little tampon. Plenty of women’s vaginas can hold more than two tampons!”
This ridiculous comment had me laughing and then I thought, “Why don’t they make them a bit bigger; not only can we accommodate large penises, we can accommodate 8-pound humans. A mega tampon cannot be such a challenge, Tampax!
To this, my husband says, “Well, maybe the cotton expands too much and the smaller the better. So why not double up the implement if it’s too small?”
I reiterate, “You can lose the string! It’s terrifying.”
“So tie them together at the base,” he says.
At this point, we’re cracking up together. He is a boy scout; an eagle scout, even!
My husband begins to narrate, baseball announcer style:
“Scout Master, we’ve got a vagina leak situation and it a SUPER HEAVY FLOW day. Here’s the situation; we’ve got two supers and no super plus. Can we make a tourniquet?”
“Scouts, I’ve seen a few vaginas in my day son and let me tell you, it’ll hold!”