What I Hate About Menstruating

Part N of an infinite series.

So you know how it is: you go to the bathroom, and you’re about to stand up when you notice the thick strand of goo that connects your vagina to the toilet water. If you get up with it just hanging there like that, what are the chances of smearing blood all over your thighs, hands, and pants? Pretty good, in my experience, and that’s not even counting civilian casualties like the toilet seat.

But you caught it in time! You’re prepared! You can do a little wiggly dance! Not that wiggly dances have ever, in the whole history of human menstrual cycles, done anything to dislodge a rope of uterine lining. If we had only wiggly dances to rely on, we would still be in the menstrual hut drawing little swirly designs on the ground with our week’s worth of continuous flow.

No, modern women are called upon to perform deft maneuvers with a piece of toilet paper, which are, when successful, displays of dexterity and cunning that really ought to be celebrated with festivals and Olympic medals and a place on ESPN2, but alas! are doomed to perpetual obscurity. Stupid Puritans.

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. Year-End Bloggy Wrap-Up on 11 Nov 2007 at 12:58 pm

    […] bodily fluids: What I Hate About Menstruating, with The Joys of Nasal Irrigation a distant runner […]


  1. wolfangel wrote:

    The question, really, is: why didn’t you notice the goo before you were about to get up, like when you were wiping and nearly wiped it all over your hands and thighs?

  2. yami wrote:

    I’m usually a wipe-after/while-standing girl, that’s why.

  3. Rana wrote:

    omifreakingodthisissofunny! *struggles to type clearly while laughing at the idea of the little wiggly dance*
    I’m an Instead gal, myself, so my version of the little wiggly dance is trying to reach the sink to rinse out the thing while keeping my behind poised over the toilet to catch any drips. _Usually_ I’m successful…
    It may be messy, but I have to say that I often find the stuff entertainingly weird.
    (Gawd I’m glad this is below the fold!)

  4. yami wrote:

    I just realized that the RSS kidz are getting the full text, no fold. Tee hee! Sorry, feedreaders
    The sinks at my office would *never* work for you, Rana – waaaay too far away. Jeebus, why don’t they make sketch comedy out of this stuff? All those crappy women’s cable networks need something to show besides made-for-TV romance and kidnapping movies…
    And I don’t really mind the mess, I just wish it didn’t stain.

  5. Rana wrote:

    Yup! (Though a quick rinse in cold water while it’s still wet works pretty well.)
    Sketch comedy would be hilarious. They don’t talk about this in the Vagina Monologues, do they? They should!
    (Actually, if you want to read drop-dead funny stuff, Salon’s Table Talk used to have threads called things like “The Menstrual Hut” that got pretty good. I don’t know what they’re like now, alas.)

  6. wolfangel wrote:

    Cold water indeed prevents it — but if you’re out, it sort of sucks to pour cold water on your crotch.

  7. Rana wrote:

    True, dat.

  8. yanes wrote:

    at that job, i almost always had a spare bag packed with a change of clothes in case some well organized manager sort decided to sent me on some fool’s errand in oceanside or big bear or desert golf course town that sucks. flipside unstained undies at hand so the cold water rinsed ones could discreetly dry in my empty desk drawer while

  9. yami wrote:

    I can hardly get it together to keep spare pads around. And today was the first day I’ve been to the field in, oh, ten months.

  10. Emma Goldman wrote:

    About two years ago, someone went through our offices and grabbed whatever purses, wallets, likely little bags, etc. he could find. What he got from me? a little bag of old makeup, and a little bag of tampons. not the wallet, though.

  11. LiL wrote:

    Oh this was the first good laugh I had in days. And I feel SO REASSURED! Thank you for documenting the wiggly-dance, the surprise goo flow that really, actually, only becomes noticeable when you start to stand up, and all the rest.
    I now use Instead too, like Rana, and I developed elaborate timing methods to get to the bathroom when no one’s there and I can safely clean off my slightly bloody hands. (I also make sure to have lots of paper towels with me.) At home the sink is perfectly positioned. Or else, if I’m not at home, I try to find a handicapped stall with the sink right there in it. And the change of clothes thing: essential…

  12. wolfangel wrote:

    It is a truth: posts about menstruation get a *lot* of comments. I should share my most horrifying menstruation moment ever.

  13. yami wrote:

    Sharing means caring, isn’t it? Something like that. I’m certainly all ears.

  14. a wolf angel is not a good angel wrote:

    I am very careful with locks now
    This story deserves better than to be hidden in the comments thread of a funny post about wiping when you’ve got your period. What’s blogging without embarassing disclosure and other bits of TMI?
    My family used to take day trips down to VT or NY t…

  15. wolfangel wrote:

    Caring, or hoping to laugh at me?

  16. yami wrote:

    I’m laughing with you here, I swear

  17. wolfangel wrote:

    I was about to cry then, though at least I wasn’t going through my high school waving a bloody tampon, this was someone I was never going to see again.

  18. Amanda wrote:

    I had no idea there were so many other Instead users in this corner of the blogosphere. Weirdness!
    Speaking of Instead and sinks: I know of at least one bathroom near where I work that has a big fancy stall with a sink actually in it. This makes it ideal for when you don’t want bystanders to watch you washing your (slightly gory) hands at the sink. Too bad this bathroom isn’t in the building I work in.
    I used to lurk around Salon Table Talk before it got all subscription-only. I remember those menstrual hut threads very fondly.

  19. yami wrote:

    D’ya think it’s a feminist-lefty-hippie thing, something something body acceptance something?
    I prefer pads, so I’m still working through a four year old econo-box of tampons… but once that’s done (hah!) I’ll probably go with Instead, too. On those rare occasions when I want to go swimming or hot-tubbing, anyway.

  20. Rana wrote:

    It is rather funny, isn’t it? I suspect not being squicked by menstrual blood is indeed part of it. Ditto on body familiarity (I’m one of those temp-and-mucous freaks).
    In my own case it’s also because
    (a) I’m cheap (I’ve figured that, at about 12-13 insteads a year, I’ve now got enough stored away to see me clear to menopause),
    (b) they are so much better for camping and travel than anything else,
    (c) I don’t like how tampons feel — something about the texture and the drying… (TMI?) and
    (d) I don’t like all the waste involved with the disposable stuff (I do buy some pads, for the end of the thing, but I also have a bunch of the cloth pads too).
    I miss the open-access Table Talk.
    Oh, and in a pinch, you can wipe out an Instead with t.p. if you can’t get to a sink without doing a wiggly dance.

  21. yami wrote:

    Well, if we’re too poor to be Republicans…
    I’m with you on tampons, they just feel funny with the texture and the scrunching. That’s why it’s been four – no wait, maybe five – years and my one box is still going strong… and I love my cloth pads!
    I think this is officially Most Comments Ever. Kersplash! Ping! Boing!

  22. wolfangel wrote:

    I used insteads, but I moved on to the permanent one — I forget what it’s called. But you can go an entire work day without needing to empty it. Except sometimes when I pee too hard it comes out.
    That said, you can also wash it out a bit in the flushed toilet, if you’re in somewhere clean, then wash the not-so-bloody thing in the sink.
    I tell you: this is the topic that gets *everyone* talking a lot. There should be a blog just about period-related talk . . . there probably is.

  23. Rana wrote:

    Yes. (You’d think the Well-Timed Period would be a logical one, but no…)
    I think it’s because, like a lot of things blogged, there isn’t a good public space for this kind of discussion, so these ideas and experiences and observations just build up in our heads until we find a sympathetic venue for spilling them out. Plus body stuff can be funny! (And weird, and gross.)
    Maybe we need a RSS feed for period-related postings; I can’t imagine anyone who’d want to do this full-time.
    *silly pompous voice* Before the Mommy Bloggers… there were… the Menstrual Bloggers…*end voice*
    We could call ourselves the period posse…
    (Gad I’m in a silly mood today.)

  24. yami wrote:

    Rana: That’s a rilly rilly rilly great idea, actually. Though I’d rather name such a thing “The Rag” for the newspaper/menstrual pun…
    I can see the design now. I have spare bandwidth, I’d be happy to host this. But I do need software suggestions, I don’t think WordPress is really the tool for such a thing. Help?

  25. yami wrote:

    Hmm, okay, so I just made a Topic Exchange topic. Easier than anticipated!

  26. wolfangel wrote:

    I read — um — “In her shoes” (maybe) — where they made fun of someone who went to Harvard and talked about it ALL THE TIME; she called her period the crimson tide.
    Both my undergrad and grad schools had red & white as their colours, but the REAL story is that in my high school (girls only, recall) we had houses, like British boarding schools, and the house I was in had its colour red and was named (after one of the founders) Cramp.
    And yet, no one ever joked about this until they graduated.

  27. yami wrote:

    That’s as bad as having a cheerleading team with “Beavers” written on their short cheerleading skirts…

  28. harvestbird wrote:

    We don’t have Instead (or indeed anything like it in the usual shops) here, so I’ve just been browsing the website. Looks convenient, except that the bathrooms of Concrete University generally feature teeny tiny stalls and we have to share our floor’s facilities with students.
    Suppose as long as I didn’t wave “hello” while washing my hands, I could get away with it.

  29. harvestbird wrote:

    Also; there is a tampon ad here (Australian-made, I suspect) where a young woman is looking all over her apartment for something important–opening cupboards, shaking out her purse.
    “Lost something?” says her boyfriend, who is playing with the kitten. Cut to a shot of him holding a tampon by its string, waving it at the kitty and saying “Mousy, mousy”.
    The kitten bats the tampon to the other side of the room, where a small pile of similarly co-opted play tampons lie.
    “What?” says the boyfriend to the annoyed-looking girlfriend.
    (I’ll supply the next line for her–do you not know how much these cost, little man?)

  30. wolfangel wrote:

    Actually, Yami, that was our school mascot. (Oh, shut up, we’re in Canada. But the school yearbook was often stolen by drunk boys in dorms.)
    Yeah. Cats and their toys. But really, isn’t your cat worth it?

  31. yami wrote:

    Normal cat toys are expensive too, aren’t they?
    I can’t mock the Beaver, it was my school mascot too. Hoorah for Canada and/or engineering schools, isn’t it?

  32. wolfangel wrote:

    I now want to find myself a tampon and get cat photos.
    The question is: was your yearbook called The Beaver Log?

  33. yami wrote:

    No, thank gord. The beaver thing was pretty much limited to athletic events, cute stuffed beavers in the gift shop, and the masthead of the student paper (which’s title was also non-beavery). Even at games, the commentators pretty much stuck to “Caltech” rather than “the Beavers” (student cheers, on the other hand, were a rather puerile exercise in vaginal punning).
    Now the word “beaver” is doing that thing where it looks misspelled and meaningless. Yar!

  34. wolfangel wrote:

    I continue to claim that an all-girl school where the school mascot is the beaver and where one of the houses is called cramp with the house colour red is just way worse, even though we missed all the stupid punning because it was a 1-11 (now k-11) school.
    Beaver beaver beaver.
    No. It still works for me. But best of luck with those google searches!

  35. yami wrote:

    Oh, I’m not trying to one-up you here; I know I can’t win against Cramp House.
    But yes, I’m eagerly awaiting the googlebots

  36. wolfangel wrote:

    Cramp! And red! There were initially two houses, Cramp and notCramp and the colours were white (for Cramp) and green but then they added another house when the school got bigger, and made white into red and blue and — who didn’t think about this? I mean, really. I still am not over this.
    You *are* going to post the searches that lead here, right?

  37. Rana wrote:

    *giggling* I love the idea of Cramp red and the Beavers. Also the guy using a tampon to play with a pussy (cat).
    “The Rag” is pretty damn good.
    *goes off to look at the exchange*

  38. yami wrote:

    I promise I’ll post as soon as I get any – for some reason, all the googlers are coming in on crap about Dr. Pepper today.

  39. yami wrote:

    The Googledroids have arrived!
    what to do when girlfriend is menstruating (ans: do a wiggly dance!)
    menstrual cycle is down and i am on a field trip with no bathrooms I’ve been there, that’s what plastic bags are for. Pack it out!
    bloody tampons
    bloody tampons pics
    white goo menstruation


  40. Curious wrote:

    I am a male who found this site after a search for “bloody tampons”. I searched out of boredom and curiosity.

  41. julie wrote:

    Hello to all of the woman out there some time it is hard for us all to deal with our monthy periods and when i am on my period i get some bad stomach cramps and take medcine. it is bad when you have to go to work and on your period and you dont even fell like working at all and you cant tell you boss that you want to go home.
    please e-mail me back

  42. Shocked man wrote:

    I had no idea being a woman was so……messy.

  43. Mike wrote:

    I had no idea women were so degrading and disgusting.

  44. Jen wrote:

    Wow. This article is so gross…you girls have WAY to much time on your hands. Go get a job or something.

    As for you men, wtf are you guys even reading this?? Be glad u don’t menstruate cause it’s the grossest thing in the world to go through…why you even reading this anyway?!! Freaks.

  45. Victoria wrote:

    I think the person criticising these women’s honesty has too much time on their hands. And as for women being so “degrading and disgusting” … degrading who? Degrading the gender that has to deal with getting covered on blood once a month? Yeah, its unpleasant, but we have to live with it from teens til forty, so why the hell shouldn’t we talk about it? For *us* it is a reality of day to day existence.

  46. dzho wrote:

    Male; got here from Frogs & Crowbars; never heard of any of this. It’s educational and very interesting for us guys to learn more about our other halves. Menstruation has never struck me as gross at all: messy, yes, but its womanly and feminine and so kind of nice.

    Mike appears to be a jerk.

  47. dzho wrote:

    Also: Oregon State University sports teams are all called the Beavers, & U of So.Carolina are called gamecocks. Their clothes say Beavers and Cocks respectively. Now that’s gross.

  48. Ray wrote:

    I’m a male and hopped skipped and jumped over here from pharyngula by way of frogs and crowbars. For the guys who are grossed out: have you ever even been physical with a (non inflatable) woman? It’s all about swapping slimy sticky fluids. Biology, it’s messy, get used to it! Sorry if this upsets any of the women here, but after having been in several long term relationships myself I can’t imagine a man could not have realized what is involved with a womans monthly cycle.


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