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The Terrible Tale of My Very First Tampon

tamp

In the ninth (I think?? Maybe 8th. Fuck if I know! I was young, and unable to drive, okay?) grade, as a member of my school’s chorus, I got the opportunity to travel to Orlando Florida for a choral competition. Me and my fellow vocalists, along with the school band, were THRILLED. Not only did we get to compete (which we all loved to do, since we were pretty frickin’ fabulous), but since we’d be in Orlando, we got to hit up a bunch of the amazing theme parks while we were there.

It was a week of parent-less (yet heavily chaperoned) fun!
Since I live in Virginia, the school had rented charter buses to take all the choir and band students all the way down to Florida. A 13+ hour trip. Charters are far more comfortable than cars, but put that many kids in a bus for THAT long? Well, you’d better make sure you’re prepared for a numb ass, obnoxious group activities, and being stationary. This meant making sure you dressed comfortably and brought enough snacks and music not to lose your damn mind before the third rest stop.
People wanna make jokes about band geeks and chorus brats, but there were some cute guys along on the ride, y’all- so as a young lady (read: completely boy-crazy), comfort was going to come second to looking good.
My mom had just bought me this super cute pair of wide-leg drawstring khaki pants (I cringe even typing that now, but they were IN back then!). They were soft, they made my butt look good, and they were comfortable enough for a very VERY long bus ride. Armed with those, a bookbag stuffed full of snacks, games, and CDs, and a giant duffel bag, my mom dropped me off in front of the school and drove off as I was tossing my bag under the bus.
Now, this was before having kids made my uterus hate me, so I could actually accurately predict my menstrual cycle- and if predictions were correct, that sucker was going to start at any moment. Our first stop once we hit Florida, OF FUCKING COURSE, was a water park- so the pads I’d always used just… I can’t even… No fucking way. I’d NEVER used a tampon before, but the concept seemed pretty simple and I had no other choice. I had my mom buy me a box, and that got tossed into the duffel that got tossed under the bus. There was no conversation about my shiny new hoo-ha plugs. No directions given. Not even a second thought. I guess my mom figured tampons are a way of life and this kind of knowledge just came to women naturally? Yeah…. this wasn’t going to end well.

“FIVE MINUTES UNTIL WE LEAVE! IF YOU NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, NOW’S THE TIME”

Girls being girls, my friends and I rushed off to give ourselves one last once-over. Well, not me. I actually had to pee, and that was when I saw it.

A Big. Red. Stain.

On my NEW khakis. ON KHAKIS! OH MY FUCK! Absolutely mortified.
In a panic, I tried to scrub it out in the stall with toilet paper. Nope. Wasn’t happening. And I wasn’t going to just walk up to someone’s MOM and say “HEY LADY, I BLED THROUGH MY PANTS! CAN YA OPEN THE BUS JUST TO GET MY BAG SO I CAN GET NEW NON-VAGIFIED PANTS AND A TAMPON OUT IN FRONT OF ALL OF MY CLASSMATES?”
No. Look, these days- I wouldn’t even hesitate, but I was young, and I was shy, and openly talking about your period was just something NO ONE DID then. Not at that age. Certainly not with boys present.
Mother cuntbag whore shit fuck! There went being cute AND comfortable. I was going to have to hide this blood stain. For 15 hours. In close quarters. FUCK MY LIFE!

That wasn’t the climax of this story. No, it gets worse.

If anyone saw the stupid bloody stain on my new pants, they didn’t say anything. At least, not to my face. I made it to Florida without committing social suicide, and our first stop? A water park. YAY BLOODY AND BLOATED AT THE WATER PARK! IT’S ABOUT TO BE SHARK WEEK UP IN THIS BITCH! But at least I got to get those damn pants off and BURN THEM!

We were only given a few short minutes to grab our bathing suits and towels out of our bags, and to get changed. Where were we to get changed? The bus bathroom. The TINY bus bathroom. All 40 or so of us had about 10 minutes total to get this shit done (no, I have no idea why we were in such a rush. To this day it seems completely ridiculous). Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), I didn’t have time to give my current predicament the attention it deserved. I didn’t just have to get changed, I had to put in a tampon. For the first time ever. In a tiny bus bathroom with 39+ other students waiting for me.

A) I’m sure they thought I was eating a fucking snack in there. This was before the time of silent tampon wrappers.

B) The instructions were like Ikea directions to me. It all made sense, but didn’t make sense, and in the end you just get frustrated because you’ve wasted more time than you have, and you just wing it.

C) You should never “wing it” when it comes to your vagina unless we’re talking about pads, and then you should ALWAYS wing it.

Once more, I avoided social suicide. It seemed that no one noticed I’d taken longer than everyone else in the bathroom… or maybe they were just so excited about WATER PARK that they weren’t paying attention. Either way, I was relieved.

All of the students broke off into groups, mine was one of about five or six females, all of whom I considered my closest friends. Pretty quickly, I could tell something was… off. As much as it pained the painfully shy me, the off feeling was TOO off not to mention.

“Y’all…. this tampon feels like it’s going to fall out.”
Now, before you make a “like throwing a hot dog down a hallway” joke- there had been NO SEX ever. Mmmkay? Let’s not go there!

“Fall out?”

“Yeah… I don’t know. I’ve never used one before and it just feels like it’s falling out!”

“It’s not supposed to feel like that.”

How the hell was I supposed to know?? I mean, cramming cotton up your hoo-ha doesn’t sound like it’s supposed to be comfortable at ALL, so for all I knew, this weirdness I was experiencing was totally normal.
I shrugged it off for the time being. What else could I do? Anything was better than wearing a pad in my bathing suit, so a little bit of discomfort was acceptable in my eyes.
Two water parks. Universal studios. Medieval times. Choral competition after choral competition. Twelve hours of walking and singing and laughing and celebrating and water slides and roller coasters. Five days I spent in sunny Florida, wearing tampons with the plastic applicator still on. OH MY HOLY MOTHER OF WHAT THE FUCK?!
I’m not a stupid person, y’all. And just think about how much smarter I was before kids ravaged my brain!
As simple as a tampon seems, to a young girl who’s never used one, it’s a fucking Rubick’s Cube. I had NO IDEA that in order to properly ‘wear’ a tampon, you had to push the cotton OUT of the plastic using the plunger. I didn’t even know there were terms for these things. I just pulled off the bottom and thought I was good to go. Yes, that was embarrassing to type. I know you were wondering. With a pad, you just pull the damn paper off and stick it to your stupid underwear. A tamp should have the same amount of steps,yeah? Doesn’t that make sense?? THERE ARE A LOT OF PIECES TO A TAMPON! This was before the age of Google! DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!
Ladies, what I’m saying is this- take your daughters, sit them down, and explain to them in horrifying and awkward detail how pads, tampons, and everything along with the menstrual cycle works. It doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable, or if they blush or try to get away. A little embarrassment is worth not having them walking around feeling like their vagina is falling off. Take it from me.

Posted on January 19, 2015 by Holdin' Holden 15 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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15 Comments

  • Omg. You poor thing! *hugs* for 8th/9th grade you!

  • Holy fuck! My heart breaks for you. No one ever really showed (well, showing me might be weird, but at least an explanation would be nice) me how to insert the pon into my vag. But you best believe I was studying that tampon instructions wayyyy before Flo ever came to town. It was still at least a few cycles before it felt normal to shove a cork in it.

    Funny story… in high school health class, 11th grade I think, we learned how to use condoms. THAT they showed us… with a video demonstration… no penii involved..the district health/PE lady (she must have been like 70) demonstrated on yher fingers… yeah.. that was weird.

  • as a father of a daughter my greatest fear was their mother (who already told me I was going to have to tell her about sex) would make me explain everything. Fortunately she is a smart kid and and survived her childhood for the most part. I cant even begin to imagine (oh other than when as a young male being overly excited during class and holding my books in front of me) what women went and go though today.

  • OMG I had almost the exact same experience with my first tampon! Except it was a lake and one of those stupid, drying, thick ass applicators. Not fun at all.

  • My first tampon experience was when I was 15, the summer before 9th grade. My sister and I were spending part of my vacation with my aunt, uncle, and 3 boy cousins in California.

    They had a pool and it was my time of the month, so that meant it was my first time dealing with tampons. I only brought pads, so my aunt & I went to Walgreens. My youngest boy cousin (5 at the time) wanted to come with and carried the box to the register. I was mortified.

    I remember crying on the toilet, trying to figure out how to insert the tampon so that I could go swimming. I very distinctly remember my sister yelling at me, “IT’S NOT THAT HARD! JUST SHOVE IT IN THERE!”

    I slept on the couch while I was there because I did not want to share a bed with my sister. I was terrified of wearing a tampon at night because the back of the box described “Toxic Shock Syndrome,” which I translated to: “Change your tampon every 6 hours or DIE.”

    During that week in California, I disposed of my tampons in the toilet, like I thought you were supposed to do. A week later, when I was in Colorado for school, my uncle called my dad and told him their toilet was backed up because of all of my tampons.

  • I did the same thing! Kept the applicator on! My husband! Yes my husband had to show me how to use them properly! smh you are not alone

  • That is horrifying -and hilarious!!!- I got lucky enough to have to (very much) older sisters and a mom who was pretty open about this stuff. She even bought me one of those “Here’s everything you need to know about your body and sex because I know you don’t want to talk to your parents about it” books. It was extremely helpful. Now that I’m a mom of 2 girls I hope to make sure they’re well informed so they can avoid this kind of trauma!

  • Same. Thing. Happened. To. Me!! The only difference? Mine was the cardboard applicator. After about 4 times, when BOTH pieces came out upon insertion, I realized why these stupid things had been sooooo uncomforable!

  • moms need to tell their daughters what to do with used pads as well. Spent a week at a Girl Guide camp with 2500 girls ranging from 11 – 18 and only had port a potties. Let me tell you it can get mighty disgusting when those girls have never been told how to wrap up their pads before disposing of them in the teeny tiny little brown lunch bag that is now over flowing with used pads…and used tampoms that they weren’t allowed to dispose of in the toilets.

  • My first time wearing on was also at a waterpark. Mine fell out while standing in line and I had blood running down my legs. I felt it but thought it was water dripping down my leg from the last water ride I had been on. Horrified to say the least.

  • Lol…no one told me what wAs going on, I thought I wAs dying and half the middle school witnessed it…horrifying!!! Like your story that’s not the worst. I had no idea how to use a tampon and my friend tried to tell me(didn’t work out well)..I had the cardboard ones and same as you I thought you pulled the bottom off and put the rest up there, needless to say it got stuck and I was in that damn bathroom forever and still couldn’t get it out so I had to go into my friends room(waterworks were flowing) and she had to help me, but not before she laughed her ass off..(this girl was my sista from another mista) otherwise I would have left the damn thing where it was. I have never spoke of this until now. It was horrible!!! Worst experience EVER!!!

  • Whew….I did the same thing for almost 6 months as a kid! Good to know I wasn’t the only 13 year old idiot!

  • In Australia we aren’t given applicators, it’s just a good hand washing, followed by pushing it up there and then another good hand washing.

    My oldest daughter is ten now and I am relieved no period yet! I was at a book store a couple of years ago, my sister was looking for a book to help her explain puberty to her 11 year old son, I started flicking through a girls book, and was shocked to read that girls can get their period from age 8! She was 8 at that time, I quickly purchased the book and started telling her about periods.

    I found it’s been good starting from a young age because she is not embarrassed, and asks me lots of questions, I am always honest just in an age appropriate way.

    I a relieved to say I don’t have a horror story to share, but I feel for all of you who do!

    mg (reflectionsfromme.com)

  • I half-dozen of us 13-year-old girls sat outside the bathroom reading the directions to Tonya. She was the first in our group to try wearing tampons before spring break started. She kept telling us how uncomfortable it was, she had left applicator in. Fortunately we figured it out before she left bathroom. When it was my turn it was still uncomfortable without the applicator. I never could wear Tampax brand tampons but O.B. without an applicator were very comfortable. They were shorter (I’m short). Plus they came in and junior size back in the 70s.

  • there are too many stories like this now and days. parenting is so much more than feeding and clothing your kids. my parents were helpful but far from thurough explaining the facts of life. when i was young i checked out a nursing manual and it was very helpful. my parents were religious and kept me out of sex ed. but were shy about these things. as an adult man now im very well aware of the issues facing kids in this area. i have learned what i need to know for my daughter and am available to discuss them with her when its time. everyone, boy or girl should know these things. even if you dont use them, you should be able to understand and support. to this day i think my daughter is more embarassed than i am about it. which is natural i guess. still its our job to prepair them for life and this is just one more thing they need to know. and as a side note, for what its worth, we had hard times in years past, and one of the things that food pantrys and the like never get is tampons, toilet paper, pads, and the like, please know that you cant buy these things with snap bennifits and most people who are having a hard time cant afford them. my family donates these things because every one donates beans, soup, etc.