Notice to the squeamish: I will be discussing my period. At length. Feel free to go back and read about the pig knuckle if you can’t handle it.
So I got my period a couple days ago. I had packed enough tampons for a few days, but this means tampon shopping. And it means I have to bring Karl-Heinz, because what if I can’t translate? What if “super” and “ultra” are in DIFFERENT WORDS and maybe even DIFFERENT ORDERS?
Well, as it turns out… they’re not, with the addition that Ultra doesn’t seem to exist. Still, “normal,” “super,” and “super-plus” are exactly those words and have the little raindrops next to them to indicate just how much
period blood rain they can absorb.
HOWEVER. I have NEEDS, people. I need a plastic applicator. I KNOW it’s environmentally unsound and that because of this I am solely responsible for landfills, global warming, the “obesity epidemic,” the Tea Party, starvation in Africa and the existence of war. But I NEED it. The cardboard ones chafe after a bit, and no applicator? HAH. HAH. HAH. How will I know it’s gone in far enough? How will I not get blood all over my hands? NO.
Also, since I went off the pill and on to the IUD, I have been bleeding like a stuck pig. While on the pill I had no idea an “ultra” size even existed. Now, for two to three days a month, it’s an absolute necessity, unless I want to change my tampon every hour. Actually, being the completely
anal orderly person that I am, I own boxes in the full range, depending on day and flow. I mean, I OWNED.
This is complicated a bit by the fact that stores are so specialized here. Sure, there is a tiny selection of tampons in the grocery store, but you have to go to the drug store (minus pharmacy) for the real selection. Pharmacies are a separate store. Some days I’d give the pinky toe off my left foot for a Target.
Let me repeat and add: you have to go to the drug store (minus pharmacy) for the real selection OR SO KH TOLD ME. Imagine my shock to discover there are TWO BRANDS. TWO. One is OB, and one is the discount brand, that appears to have diagrammed insertion instructions right on the front of the box. Ok.
There is ONE choice for applicator. OB Super comes in a (cardboard) applicator option. That is IT.
Guess who is not a happy camper?
So, we end up with this conversation:
Me: Oh. I guess this is my choice for an applicator.
KH: But it’s the strongest! Look, it has 4 drops!
Me: No, baby, super plus is the strongest, look over here. It has 5 drops. It just doesn’t come with an applicator.
KH: Well are you SURE you need an applicator? I’ve only known one other woman that used them.
Me: Yes. I am sure.
KH: Well, we can ask the salesperson. Let’s ask.
Me: No, I CAN’T. I don’t speak the language, remember?
KH: I’LL ASK. I AM NOT AFRAID TO ASK ABOUT TAMPONS.
Me: (ever so slightly mortified that I need my husband to find me my tampons) NO!
Me: I mean, they are not HIDING the tampons with applicators. ”WE WILL ONLY SELL THESE TO PEOPLE WHO ASK FOR THEM!” If they HAD them, there would at least be a space on the shelves.
KH: Maybe there’s a special section, away from the other tampons and pads.
KH: Maybe European tampons are more efficient! Maybe 4 drops is as good as EIGHT drops in AMERICA!
KH: (digressing): and who needs less than 3 drops [ed note: “normal”] anyway?
Me: Well, sometimes women spot…
KH: No! Then they wear tiny pads.
Me: (he’s really going to argue with me about this?)
KH: Let’s try a different store.
Me: No, this is store number 2. I am just going to get three boxes of these and hope.
KH: (pulls me into a pharmacy and asks the pharmacist)
Me: Really? I need PRESCRIPTION TAMPONS?
KH: Well, she said she didn’t think they had any with applicators…
Me: (already planning how to import tampons from the US)
KH: well, ok, we’ll look online! We’ll order!
Me: (with my 3 boxes of super with cardboard applicator) mmm-hmmm.
There are times when I really feel at home here. There are things that are slightly different and therefore startling, although ultimately fine (the toilets here have no water in the bowl, but flush hard and are otherwise fully functional). But DAMMIT. I WANT MY TAMPONS.