“an alarm in every pearl”
An actual conversation that took place after breakfast in the Weber household:
“Eddie, I thought up a cool invention for women.”
“You know I just ended my period yesterday, right?”
I continue. “And you know how I always forget if I have a tampon in there, and then I make you check right? I hate checking with a mirror or touching it down there, gross, so then, I thought, wouldn’t it be easier if a manufacturer installed these tiny little alarms inside each tampon? That way, after a 24-hour period, if the tampon is still inside the vagina, the alarm will go off, letting the woman know to change it before she gets sick.”
“No, really, I think it’s a great idea. Just think about it. The alarm would be set to go off after 24 hours if it detects it’s still inside the vagina. Maybe set to detect warmer, wetter temperatures...”
“You’re kidding me, right? Women really forget they’re there?”
“Yes! I’ve read about it in the newspaper before. Like, some women forget for days, can’t get it out because the string slipped up farther, and then they gotta go to the hospital because they start throwing up and they could die!”
“Are you mad?”
I don’t think I am. I think every single ovulating woman out there has wondered why tampon manufacturers haven’t yet come up with a new and improved version that prevents doubling up or losing the thing entirely. It’s happened to me, especially with the OB ones, they’re so tiny and the string is like, what, an inch long. If I’m especially enthusiastic (and bloody), I could conceivably shoot the tampon up into my uterus practically.
Oh ho, those exaggerating Sagittarians!
I also used to wish drug manufacturers could discover a pill to stop the menstrual cycle and yet women would still be able to conceive if they wanted. A pill does exist out there, maybe still in experimental or prescriptive stages, to end the often painful, exhaustive effects of a period. I’m just not convinced of its safety or willing to deal with its possible side effects.
Almost every new-fangled pill designed to keep a man erect for hours and hours, keep parents from falling over in a sleep-deprived daze, keep fatties from overeating into an early grave, blah blah, has these possible side effects, nausea, diarrhea, rash, dry mouth, a third breast... daunting enough to deter me from going the medical route.
I’ll deal with the two days of heavy bleeding (it used to be seven, with bits of liver-looking dead tissue, back when my fibroids were growing the size of a cantaloupe), not so bad since I took up Depend adult undergarments several years ago to catch the runs should it suddenly occur.
That’s a neat tip for ladies out there struggling with heavy, severe bleeding, at least until the fibroid diagnosis can be ruled out. Try the diapers, keep an extra box of Wet Wipes in the car and see if the bleeding doesn’t soak through as easily. I’ve never had to use pantyliners again.
Fibroids present one of the best Catch-22 situations. In order to diagnose them, a woman must undergo an ultra-sound for the doctor to see them. But in order to undergo the ultra-sound, a woman must drink 22 ounces of water an hour before the appointment. Now, if she does have fibroids, holding all that liquid in her bladder will be beyond torture. Fibroids, depending on their size, take up so much room in the uterus and uterine area that they frequently can press on the bladder and bowel, causing the urge to urinate and defecate a lot more frequently.
Fibroids also can cause that excessive bleeding of the liver-like dead tissue variety I mentioned earlier. Once or twice in 1999, I took a crap and a piss, looked into the toilet and thought I’d miscarried.
If I forget whether I put a tampon in there, and I’m still bleeding, it can be ugly to have to sort through. I know for a certainty that I could never take to lesbianism (if one were to suspend facts and assume this was a lifestyle choice instead of written in stone at birth, like the color of the hair), because the sight, much less the feel of my own vagina is grotesque, slimy, and nauseating to behold and experience.
The first time I dared press a mirror to my privates, I was about 15. I almost broke the mirror trying to shove it away. I dared again 20 years later. Nothing had changed. My vagina still resembled the Loch Ness Monster, a wrinkled, purple blood-sucking elderly Loch Ness, but still...
I used to pester my husband Eddie about the vagina’s appeal until he turned beet red. “No, really, how can you men stand even looking at it? It’s so gross. Mine’s not even pink and smooth, and there’s all this pubic hair in the way. Aren’t you grossed out by my purple, black and blue bulbous monster of a vagina, all puss-y and wet and yucky?”
He stared at me as if I were mad, mad, mad and finally spoke up, “That’s why I’m the heterosexual man, and you’re not a lesbian.”
Later, he threatened to shave the area down there anyway, agreeing at least that, while the pubic hair wasn’t a turn-off, it could be in the way, tickling and sticking him when, y’know...
When, y’know... I turned the tables, he turned beet red again. “Why not? Your pubic hair is just as tickly as mine, and I’m always swallowing some of it. Oh, how romantic, lick, lick, slobber, gag, hack hack, I’m like a cat with a hairball. Guys get bikini waxes too. Hey, I wonder how painful it’d be if we...”
Eddie turned over, groaning, clutching at his balls, “Hurting...”
“No, wait, Eddie. I got it!” I massaged his back, and continued, an idea blossoming in my head. “What if they made this kind of tampon that opened up inside the vagina like a giant umbrella, fluffy and absorbent like a sponge. No, wait, wait, how about if the tampon turned into a funnel with a hose attached, right? And then, the hose could hook up to a bag you tape to the side of your body like those people who don’t have intestines anymore and have to take a dump in their... what the heck’s the name of that, not catheter bag...”
Aren’t you glad I didn’t talk about the sad extinction of commercial jingles this week?
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