The Tampon Conversation

My daughter's friend posted a joke about tampons today on Facebook.  I chuckled as it gave me a flashback to when I was about 12 or 13 years old, and very innocent, circa 1969. And at that point in time, I did not know what a period was, other than what you put at the end of a sentence (thank you sisters of St. Frances) and yes, I had not gotten mine yet.

Scenario: family sitting around in the living room. Father immersed in the NY Times. Mother probably doing a cross word or reading a book. My other three siblings were scattered about in our small house, probably within hearing distance.

I am looking at a Reader's Digest, and notice an ad.

I ask out loud: "what is this thing that you can ride a horse with, swim with, do sports with....the only thing that it says is TAMPAX"?  I look around and no one answers me.  I don't get the hint, so I ask again.  "I mean, you can do all kinds of things with this, but I don't understand what it is! There are no photos that explain!".

Again, no response.  As I look around, I notice that my parents jaws are locked in the stress mode.  I realize that I have entered some sort of realm that is VERBOTEN.  All of a sudden I get it. The only thing that might make them act like that is something bad. Something bad equates the body, and that must equate something to do with sex, though I am not sure what sex is.

And, like any other curious teenager, I know that there is homework to do.  I must investigate. And that investigation leads into uncharted territory, which of course, leads to exploration, which leads to sin.  But I must go there because the drive is so strong, and I know I can't turn back. 

Thankfully now, some 40 years later, I can look back on it and laugh, and chuckle about my innocence, and how silence is deadlier than truth.


All of us graduates of "Perpetual Sin Girl's School" have had this conversation, in one form or another. My older sister talked me into asking my mom about the "birds and the bees"! So I interrupted her, reading the "Readers Digest", and got the most condensed version known to man, or woman. I think I caught her a bit off guard! (thanks, older sister!)

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