When my order came, I had extra pamphlets and decided to leave them in the women’s staff washroom of the school I was working at. This entry is funny for me to read, because I was so nervous, and it seems like a non-issue now. I do wonder if I’d get similar reactions if were to do this, six years later. Maybe, and I’d care way less (I hope).
January 26, 2006
I sent an email to the staff titled “LADIES ONLY,” which, in retrospect, I wish I had titled differently. Men need to stop being so queasy about this stuff and women need to let go of the shame in having a fucking period:
Okay strong, beautiful, smart women of [school name]… Lunapads.com is the place to be. It’s a site selling alternatives to your average, drugstore menstrual products, which, in case you weren’t aware, can be extremely harmful to YOU and the environment. And, since I happen to like all of you a lot, and the earth a little too, I thought I’d share this wonderful info with you.
I’ve been using the products for just over 5 years now and made a new order this weekend. My stuff came in the mail last night. So it’s brand new, unused, and I thought it would be the perfect time to show anyone who might be curious. I brought it to school and it’s in my room to share with anyone who is interested. I’ll keep it here over the weekend so you can come check it out between now and PD day.
They also sent me some extra brochures that I will leave in the bathroom for your enjoyment.
After I sent the email, I b-lined it to the women’s washroom, pamphlets in hand. I was terrified someone would see and the panties on the brochure and think I was a freak. I was afraid I was a freak. I heard footsteps behind me, so once I rounded the corner I sprinted the last length to the bathroom so the mystery person (I couldn’t even muster up the courage to turn and see who it was) couldn’t catch up to me.
Once the final bell rang and my kids were cleared out for the day, one curious colleague showed up to see the goods. Looking down into my brown paper envelope at the offensive DivaCup, I felt a wave of embarrassment drown my confidence. Leave it until last, Shan. Work your way up to it. I chose one of the minipads out and let her feel it. Oohs and ahs were offered. We had a brief discussion about getting used to the idea of pads vs. tampons.
I chose the sea sponges next—which also made my heart skip a beat as I pulled them from the shadow of the envelope. Holy shit! Those look weird! She’s going to gasp! It crossed my mind to return them to the package, pretend nothing happened, and shoo her out like she was the crazy one.
With all the confidence I could muster I squeaked, “And these are the tampon alternatives!” She asked if they needed to be wet before insertion. Yeah, I guess. I don’t know. I haven’t gotten that far, but it seemed to make sense. We both shrugged.
The moment had arrived. There was nothing left but the DivaCup in all its silicone glory. I took a deep breath with my hand still hidden by the envelope, safe from judgment—AND PULLED IT OUT. (That’s what she said.) Before she could react, I began to ramble, hoping this would distract her from recoiling in disgust:
“I know it looks a little big, but I’m sure you get used to it and I mean you’ll save so much money and you can use it all day…”
I rambled on without making eye contact. When I looked up she was rolling the cup (still in the package) in her hands, seemingly fascinated. She said she would spend some time doing research on the site and thanked me as she left my classroom.
Once my heart rate returned to normal, I headed out for the day. Two staff exited the bathroom as I passed, one holding a Lunapads brochure, the other mid-sentence, “—absolutely disgusting!” They turned and saw me, “I’m sorry, but that’s just gross! If I saw someone doing that I would lose it!
Defensive and somewhat confused I asked, “Saw someone doing what? What is there to see?”
“Well, then how do you do it? How do you use it?”
Not knowing how to explain, or really what she was asking, I answered “You just do! In private! You figure it out!”
“Well, I think it’s disgusting.”
“Well, then they’re not for you maybe? And that’s okay.” I half smiled.
I felt regret for thinking I could be courageous. I found my principal still in her office and shared my sad stories in hopes of feeling less alone. She looked me in the eye and said, “Pioneers never have it easy.”
Please join my Truthfully Facebook page.