The Monthly Visitor. Aunt Flow. The Week from Hell. There are many names people have given women’s menstrual cycles. For women, periods are an inescapable fact of life. They can be shortened and even sometimes avoided. Eventually though, whether you want to deal with her crampy bullshit or not, Aunt Flow is going to visit. When she arrives, it’s best to be prepared. You wouldn’t want your ever so gracious guest to feel unwelcome, would you? For women, this means stocking up on tampons and pads. For guys, this means learning where and how to buy tampons and pads. Through my own trials and tribulations, I have discovered 5 things men need to know when tasked with buying feminine products.
1. Locate The Cotton
Guys, your first rule of business is to find where the feminine napkins (who came up with this horrible name?) and tampons are located in your local grocery store or pharmacy. I know what you’re thinking. “Are guys even allowed in the feminine products section?” Of course they are. This is America. It’s a free country. Go proudly walk into the feminine products section and buy as much as you want (your girlfriend will tell you that). Since she’ll be doubled over in uterine pain, she’ll neglect to tell you what kind to get. This brings me to my next point.
2. THERE ARE TOO MANY COMPANIES THAT MAKE TAMPONS AND PADS.
For essentially the same products, there are a vast amount of companies that want to tell you why their overpriced-piece-of-cotton-on-a-string, or their half-assed-diaper is the best. To be honest, I still don’t know which one is the best and I don’t particularly care. Although, maybe I should ask the women that I see in tampon and pad commercials on TV. Skipping through cornfields under perfectly cloudless, sunny skies, sticking pieces of cotton into or onto an orifice has never seemed so exhilarating. Anyways, I just get the brand my girlfriend tells me to. You should probably do the same. Knowing the correct brand is only half the battle though.
3. “S” does not Stand for Small
I’ve been taught that when the letters “S”, “M”, or “L” are on ANYTHING, I should take that to mean small, medium, and large. This isn’t something that only guys are lead to believe. Literally every single person in America understands the concepts of small, medium, and large. Forget ALL of this when you need to buy your girlfriend feminine products. In Tampon Land, you have to think in “absorbency levels,” not sizes. Here “S” stands for “Super” and “L” means “Light.” There’s also an “R” for “Regular.” And let us not forget the “S+.”
This level of tampon is strictly reserved for when your girlfriend’s uterus decides to go all Apocalypse Now. You’ll know when this level is needed; unlike the other levels, you won’t need to be told to get “S+”…there will be signs. There will be frequent, inexplicable outbursts of crying followed by prolonged periods of curling into the fetal position. Snappy comments about the burden of being a woman may occur. You, my dear fellow, may suffer from severe mental and physical traumatization. Whatever happens, never take your eye off the objective. Get the right absorbency level and get back home, saving the day like the gallant, chivalrous gentleman that you are. In order to do that, you have to face the ultimate test in relationships.
5. The Checkout Line
The only thing standing between you and your beloved monthly menstruating monster (she really is the love of your life though), is the checkout line. Let me break this down: You know when you try to give someone a handshake? But they go in for a fist bump? And the result is a mish mash of fingers, shame, and embarrassment? Yeah, this checkout line is going to make that failure of a greeting seem totally normal. For some reason, guys feel awkward about buying tampons. Or maxi pads. Or any other form of disposable hygiene products (hello condoms). Guys get to the register, put their items on the belt, and then are magically incapable of speaking or acting coherently. Jokes will be made, followed by dumbfounded silence from the cashier. Here’s the thing: it shouldn’t be this way! There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying feminine hygiene products. You are trying to be the helpful, dutiful boyfriend that goes to the ends of the earth for your girlfriend. So act like it! Show the entire checkout your inner Ryan Gosling (“Hey girl, I’m going to buy you all the tampons you’ll ever need”). Knowing you showed that disinterested cashier what you’re made of, your girlfriend will find you irresistible.
Nothing is sexier than a guy who gets things done for his woman. Prove to her how capable you are, and I’m sure she’ll show you her appreciation. After her body stops fighting its own civil war, that is. In the meantime, go buy those feminine hygiene products. And chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate.