Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Menstruation Cliches

In my day job, I talk a lot about periods. Tampons. Pads. Menstrual cups. What every little quirk in your cycle could possibly mean. But I have to be funny when I do it, and I can tell you, that’s a lot of pressure.

The thing I’ve discovered is that tampons and pads on their own aren’t that funny. What’s funny is how we talk about menstruation. So, Persephoneers, what’s funny about the way we talk about this issue? All the euphemisms? The unending pressure to go horseback riding on the beach while wearing white? Tell us.

By [E] Sally Lawton

My food groups are cheese, bacon, and hot tea. I like studying cities and playing with my cat, Buffy.

57 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Menstruation Cliches”

I forgot about “wolf potion”!

Me and my sister; right, okay, she was playing Gothic II or III and there’s a potion that turns you into a wolf and there was something about the moon and for whatever reason I went “can you only drink it once a month” and ever since then “she’s drunk her wolf potion” is our euphemism.

I love the euphemisms. A personal favorite is “surfing the crimson wave.”

I have an idea that tampon/pad commercials should put their smiling, white-clad ladies on surfboards riding the crest of a great red wave. Somehow I don’t think that would catch on…

In my day job, I used to talk a lot about periods. But then I got a hysterectomy, so.

So I’m getting a shamrock tattoo on St. Pat’s Day, and I wondered if anyone had tattoo advice for me? I’ve never gotten a tattoo before.

PS I’m not interested in “get a cooler tattoo” advice. I want a shamrock for good luck! Yes, it’s trite! :)

I’m not actually worried about the pain. I have a really high pain tolerance. :) I’m getting it above my ankle on the inside part of the calf. Except I wonder: does it affect shaving at all? Or will shaving wear it down?

And should I bring in a picture of what I would like, or should I just pick from pictures they have there? Maybe the pictures they have on hand are easier for them to get right?

It should be very simple, though, I think. I’d like a kind of old-school looking tattoo, if that makes sense. Like a sailor would have :D

Mine is on my ribs, so I can’t help you with the shaving question (shaving ribs…eeee).

I’d say bring a picture with you, in case they don’t have a shamrock you like on hand. If it’s small and simple they should be able to draw it pretty easily. Most tattoo artists are awesome at sketching. I’d be wary if they weren’t.

Definitely bring a picture in and have the artist draw it til you’re happy with it. And then when they draw it on you in marker, check again from a few angles and using a mirror before giving the go-ahead.

I have a tattoo on the outside of my ankle, which the artist said was in the top three in terms of pain (in his experience), and I didn’t find it bad at all. The pain isn’t constant.

(If you want Irish authenticity, it’s either Paddy’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day).

My “Aunt Flo” is a hateful beotch and has been living with me for 4 weeks now thanks to some gynicalogical muckery. My husbands father used to say interesting things about not trusting something that could bleed for 7 days & not die, I wonder how he’d feel about 30?

I think it’s so weird that we all feel so embarrassed to have periods.  That they’re something that must be hidden (tampons up the sleeve, purses to the bathroom, etc.) and never spoken about.


The blue liquid used in pad and diaper commercials is also perplexing.  I guess they use blue since the body shouldn’t be producing anything blue colored, so it’s neutral?

See, I’m the exact opposite in my office. I stroll through with my super tampon in my hand, stop at people’s desks to talk, and don’t give one damn about it. If the men(or women) in this office can’t handle the fact that I, along with about 50% of the population, bleed out my cooch every month, they need to get the fuck over it.

I also make the men in the office do the dishes and clean up after office parties and meetings, since most of the times the ladies have done all the organizing, cooking, and set up. I remember the look on the face of this one law clerk the first time he experienced this. He started to go back to his desk after it was over, and I said, “yo, you need to help the guys with clean-up,” and he kind of laughed and kept walking. I responded, loudly, that I wasn’t kidding, to which the other young men in the office said, “yeah dude, it’s only fair, come help.” And that is when I knew I had done my job well. Awesome dude coworkers FTW!

One of my friends and I send each other texts when it happens, basically along the lines of “YAY I AM NOT PREGNANT!” …at least that’s trying to look at the bright side of things. Some women might want children, but I do not and I would rather bleed once a month instead.
Plus I’m super lucky and almost never get cramps, and my periods are 3-4 days.

Oh yeah. It’s totally a celebration for me every month. Still no unintended pregnancy! Go go, birth control!

Unlike you, that sentiment is followed quickly be unending pain. I swear, I’m seriously starting to consider Mirena. No more periods? Fuck yeah! But I’m a pain wimp.

IMO if the period cramps are too hard for you, there’s no “wimpiness” in that! Some people have legitimately hardcore cramps. I know I’ve been writhing on the floor more than once due to cramp pain. Do what you have to to make yourself more comfortable. You shouldn’t have to tolerate pain like that just because some other people do.

I’m already on hormonal birth control for well, now it’s for no-babies, but at the time I initially went on it, it was because my cramps were so horrible that I would be unable to do much beyond moan, grunt and poop for five days a month. I mentioned that I’m a pain wimp because, as much as I know Mirena would probably reduce my pain even more, I am terrified of how much it will hurt to put in. I should probably actually get a family physician and talk to them about it (lololol, finding a family doctor is impossible in Montreal).

But thanks for your comment. I’ve definitely had people who just don’t get period pain.

Aww yeah, I totally understand. To be completely honest, I’m freaking terrified of what I’ve heard the pain of IUD insertion to be, too, even though I think that would be my best non-condom BC option. It’s one of the big reasons why I haven’t done it yet. Well, that and the cost…the US is dumb.

If you’re anything like me, though, during the rest of a month (or during an unusually non-painful period), I’m like, “Lalala why was I wanting that so badly anyway?” And then during the next hurting shark week, I feel like, “OHGOD WHY DIDN’T I LOOK INTO THIS YET??” Rinse, repeat.

I think, secretly, I don’t want to actually get an IUD; I’d rather just not have a period at all.

I’m pretty wimpy about pain in general, especially cramps (and I didn’t have them nearly as badly as you did, it sounds – that sounds miserable!) and I found my Mirena insertion to be quite bearable. What helped me through it was knowing that it was finite and knowing exactly what was causing it. For me, at least, pain is worse if I don’t know how long it will last or why exactly I’m hurting, because the unknowns make me worry. If I know what’s going on, I can just breathe and count and ride it through. Neither the sounding nor the insertion lasted for longer than about 30 seconds each. Yeah, I was crampy for a few days afterwards, but I took tons of painkillers and practically married my hot water bottle, and now, over a year later, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had cramps since. I don’t want to proselytize, but I wouldn’t want the brief insertion pain to keep you from getting an IUD if that’s what you really want! I love mine!

I’ve decided to go for it and I’m super excited abou the possibility of not getting periods at all. Yay local, low dose hormones!
Not super excited for the installation. (read: dreading it, there will be serious consumption of pain killers and alcohol) Though I do like referring to the medical procedure as an installation. I’m going to be a cyborg!

Are you talking about getting an IUD? I got one about 9 months ago. I wrote a post about it here, in fact. It wasn’t too bad at all. My doc is really gentle and into alternative-medicine stuff so she had someone help lead me in gentle breathing exercises while we did it, but overall it was not very stressful or hurty.

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