The feminine hygiene aisle is the Simpson’s pink sprinkle doughnut of grocery shopping. I don’t know why I haven’t resorted to buying tampons on amazon yet. The great demon of online shopping even provides a subscription service for your vaginal needs. That’s right – tampons show up at your door, monthly.
I wasn’t in a hurry. I wasn’t really going anywhere. I had no problem shopping for them. I’ve got brand loyalty (like most women seem to) so I pretty much knew what I wanted. It should have been a painless trip to the store.
I reached out and grabbed a box. Tampax Pearl. A variety of shapes and sizes. They weren’t quite right, so I put it back, and grabbed the box next to it. Years of living in this body, I’ve figured out what works, and what doesn’t work. I shamefully eyed the diva cup placed above the wall of tampons and pads and walked away. Maybe next time.
I was scanning my products and placing them delicately into the grocery bags when I realized something had gone horribly wrong. Time stopped. The music hit a glitch over the intercom. And I could smell it. I could almost see the thin wisp of pink and purple rising up from the box.
I’d already scanned it. The beep that emitted from the machine echoed with permanency. These tampons were mine now.
Scented tampons. A little bit of cotton doused in some chemical composition that makes them smell like a mix of laundry detergent and car coolant. I put them in my bag and wiped my hands on my jeans with a look of disgust at what I’d just done. I thought of jabbing the help button and handing the bag to the attendant.If I did it quickly enough I could skip paying, run to my car, and drive away.
I could also be honest.
Hello, sir? I seem to have purchased the wrong tampons. See, these are scented. They make your vagina smell good. But, see, my vagina doesn’t need to smell good. I mean, it does. But it already does, you see?
Thinking about breaking down the PH levels of my vaginal fluids to this strange skinny kid just trying to get through his summer job made the whole situation even worse.
It wasn’t my fault I chose the wrong tampons. There is a scheme to get women to buy them. The first step is making all tampon boxes look the same. A sea of pinks and blues and purples. Sometimes you can pick a box out of the crowd that is, clearly, different.
More often than not, those different tampons aren’t for me. I don’t have a super cool soccer team I play on. I’m not planning on wearing an all white leotard anytime soon. I’m not under the age of fourteen so I don’t really need any free stickers to decorate my binder. I thought I was safe choosing my standby tampons, but I was wrong. Because even they were out to get me.
Could you do something else? Anything else? Could you impregnate an alarm into the cardboard so when unsuspecting women grab it something happens? A loud sound? A shock? Could you label them a little differently? A little more obviously?
Until next month, I volunteer my vagina to this scientific experiment of sorts. A test of my good will. It is my greatest hope that I make it out alive. Wish me luck.