Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's New, It's Improved, It's the Size of Texas

I have a bizarre fixation with feminine hygiene products. There. I admitted it. It's not that I can't wait to try something new, improved, and exciting. It's more like my fixation comes from the entertainment value of these *new* *improved* *triple the protection" products.

A lot of the time, these new products lead me to disbelief. One great example is the tampon commercial a few years ago. A boy and girl are on a boat. The boat springs a leak. The girl reaches for a tampon. C'mon now. I don't want to give much thought to the woman who uses a product that can stop up a rowboat. I don't want to picture the woman who uses the super-duper-ulitmate anything. The commercial was wrong. I don't think I like the implication that my parts and workings need products designed for flood control. It offends me.

I was not thrilled with the introduction of "wings." Again, I don't appreciate that they are implying that I can't keep my stuff under control and that I need this added protection. This added protection, the time I was more or less forced to try it out, did little more than stick to my inner thigh instead of my drawers. Then you add the ones with wings that are about half the length of a football field, it leaves me wondering what the hell? I'm a short girl. I don't need protection that reaches from my belly button to my butt crack.

Not so surprising, I'm pretty sure when my obsession started. It was 4th grade when we watched that, "You're becoming a woman movie." We got the standard issue booklet. "Growing Up and Liking It." It's right here, the floral cover and all.

There was an order form in the back of the booklet for a "starter kit." Not only did I have to have one, but I talked my dad into ordering me two so I'd be extra prepared for my first day of womanhood. When the kit arrived, I don't know how many times I looked over the different types of maxi and mini-pads. I anticipated my first period like a fat kid looks forward to a trip to Hershey, PA. I knew exactly what I would use and when. I was well-versed, and practically had the book memorized over what I was about to experience.

And, then it happened. Let me tell you what. There was nothing magical about it. I don't know what all the hoopla was about, because quite frankly, there was nothing fun or special about it. Sure, I'd later be able to be a mother, blah blah blah, but I had better things to do with my time.

I hadn't been one of those womanly sorts long when the introduction of the thin-type thingies came on the market. This excited me. No longer did I walk around feeling like I had a crib mattress between my legs. The thinner, the better, in my estimation.

Then came the "incident." We were vacationing as a family at an amusement park. We camped across the lake. Turned loose to go to the park, I went with my step-sister. The younger kids went as a pack. We walked around. Rode some rides. We made a stop in the bathroom.

A woman tapped my step-sister on the shoulder. "Excuse me," she started. "Do you know you're menstruating and have blood on the back of your shorts?"

To which she replied, "Huh?"

The woman repeated herself.

My step-sister repeated herself.

"Menstruating. Your period," I offered.

Well, sure enough. Off we went on the shuttle boat to take us back to the campground where a conversation about feminine protection ensued with my step-mom. Thin pads would be banned from our home. "I just don't know how anyone wears them without leaking through. They aren't good. We're going back to the thick ones. We'll get wings. We'll get the biggest ones we can find. There will be no leaking in our house unless it's the roof!"

Okay, I embellished that a little. BUT, not by much.

I went on to spend 1/4 of my monthly allowance on my feminine protection needs because there was no way I was using what was left in the bathroom for everyone's convienience. This also left me with the fixation on just how big these products can get and the women who use them.

Not only did I have a new answer, but also an example. I got this in the mail as a freebie.

Now, if you'll notice that's my hand I'm holding it in. I have big hands for a girl. This baby is also folded into thirds. It's some sort of Kotex overnight, extra-long, winged beast.

The closest I can come to figuring out when this might come in handy is directly following the birth of triplets. I showed it my husband, expressing my disbelief. It was like I'd found a leprechaun in the bathroom, or something equally unbelievable. He didn't get it.

I asked him, "Suppose what you could do with this if you didn't use it as intended? I bet you could stop a sucking chest wound with it."

He only gave me this blank stare, and mumbled something about not knowing nothing about these kinds of things and he could live a very full life not knowing nothing about these kinds of things.

This made me think. In high school, for filler and entertainment, we made these lists for the newspaper. My favorite was "101 Uses for Leftover Turkey." The best response was, "Put the carcus on your head and scare old people."

I wonder if there are 101 uses for an oversized maxi-pad....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Because I have learned to bite my tongue in certain situations....

...I'll share the story here.

I'm taking an Eng Comp class online. I'm not enjoying anything about this class. It's the thorn in my side. And while I thought that Gov't and Algebra would be my downfalls, it turns out, it might be this class. I have As in all classes going into week five. English Comp is my lowest grade right now.

The first part of the assignment this week was to post thoughts on peer reviews, and talk about the times we've had to offer constructive criticism. To summarize, I wrote it wasn't something we did in high school, that I'd read other writers' stuff, and that I never lasted long in the local writer's group because you could write down the contents of a can of Alpo, and everyone would tell you that it was fantastic writing. It was several paragraphs detailing these situations. I also mentioned substitute teaching a writing workshop class.

The same week, we had to upload the rough draft of our first assignment for peer review. I didn't like this much, and it pained me to upload something I knew that wasn't complete. (I did get some great responses that said I completed the assignment with little to fix. I knew what needed to be added, but for the sake of rough, I let it go.)

The next part of the assignment was to read the thoughts on peer review and reply to three. Reply. Comment. There was nothing about giving constructive criticism on the discussion board posting.

I'm probably going to hell for posting this, but it's one of those things that you have to see to believe.

I got this response from a classmate. This is the part that made me raise an eyebrow, and not the whole thing:

" I think that you might have had comas in some of the wrong places. I could be wrong though and you right. I do know that some of your wording in your sentences are too bunched together, as in it doesn't sound right. I think you might need to watch your words and focus on your words. Although, I need to as well. "

I took the high road and posted a mature response about unsolicited criticism, whether constructive or otherwise, and how I failed to see where it was part of the assignment to critique the discussion board post. I noted that I was thick-skinned, but what if someone read that and was struggling with the class? I added that unsolicited advice can be destructive.

What I really wanted to say was this:

"It's unfortunate that I have "comas" in the wrong places. Next time, I'll be sure to have one in the hospital. It's probably what keeps me from having that much needed focus and the ability to watch my words. "