'Tampons and Tantrums'
By the time I was 15, bursting with energy and holding the position of class Games Captain for a second year running....I remained gutted that 'opting out' WASN'T actually an option and furious at having to be both encumbered and restricted by this glutinous spillage!
I adored physical education and positively lived for our sport events but when the damn curse was upon me all such activities were limited.
Come the crimson flood, the 100 meters sprint became less of an exercise in running and more of a skills test in coordination, as I battled to prevent an unruly pad from winding its way down my knicker leg to lodge in a gym sock and flap around my plimsolls!
To anyone running behind me, it must have seemed they were chasing a penguin. Mind you it was a great work out for the inner thigh muscles!
And as for star jumps in the gym! Omg! Never again!
Not since mother nature decided to present me with a premature period during a particularly enthusiastic star jump of mine! My white school gym shorts looked like they'd been used to clean a crime scene!
The whole menstruation business enraged me! Why should I, or any female for that matter, be expected to squelch their way into middle age and be so heinously inconvenienced?
I brought the subject up at the next biology lesson.
"It's all part of being a woman" came the useless explanation from Sister 'Never-Known-Man'!
Back then, in my convent educated days, we didn't have sex education as such. Closest we came to it was when our teacher happened to look through the window and spotted two dogs copulating in the school grounds, pointing them out as if that explained everything!
In fact, it was considered so taboo to discuss anything relating to the functioning female that while some schools were showing educational films on childbirth the most ours did was to hand out pictures of someone dragging giblets out of a chicken!
But anyway, I digress.
I begged for release from servitude to the sanitary towel. Sadly, release could not be afforded me but relief from it could by usage of the tampon. Good ol' Tampax!
Apparently, according to the adverts, these compact, cotton wool bullets, ( ok...that's not exactly the marketing terminology they used )...despite their appearance to the contrary, were so remarkably absorbent and so incredibly reliable as to allow the wearer to continue with all energetic activities INCLUDING swimming!
Well, no, actually....NO!!!...it wasn't!!!
Obviously, these things swell the more engorged by liquid they become so after a short time of being submerged in water, the sensation of floating along like the little mermaid is gradually replaced by the sensation of having a small sheep slowly attempt to emerge from between your thighs!!
AND the string which acts as a rip cord to eject the tampon, also acts as a perfect conduit along which evidence of ones condition travels and drips rhythmically to leave a trickle trail all the way back to the changing rooms where one can be found sobbing in humiliation like a scene from Stephen King's 'Carrie'!!
Yes, the trauma inducing qualities of Tampax will haunt me for a very long time to come...and they'll haunt you too I'm afraid, dear reader, 'cos there's more horrors to come!
Oh and should any of you out there be contemplating the usage of Tampax yourself...my advice? Don't forget to remove the applicator before you insert!! I walked with a limp for over a week!! ( that's all I'm saying...for now )
To be continued:
Next time: Chapter Five: 'The Farce of the Flux'
© Copyright Lynn Gerrard