While I was paroosing the "feminine products" section, I overheard a conversations between a woman and someone on the phone. I would beg the woman to be 20ish, so not too much younger than me. But the conversation gave same HUGE insight on just the extravagant difference of issues the girls barely a generation behind me are facing.
The woman on the phone was telling a friend (I assume) about what she was doing at the store.
"I had to stop by the store before I came over, so I'll be there soon. (pause) No, I'm picking up tampons. (pause) Do you have any of the compact ones? (pause) That's what I'm grabbing. I don't want to take my purse with me because then everyone will know and the regular size ones don't fit in my pockets. I'll just grab a box and then head over. I'll see you soon."
At first, I didn't think much of it. But the longer I thought about it, the more it bugged me. As a young girl, I totally get being embarrassed by being on your period. Boys in middle and high school can be brutal, and hell, even the girls can find a way to use it against you. But as we get older, that shouldn't linger. That fear shouldn't stick around.
I see a difference in men, even at the checkout counter at the store. You set up a box of tampons or pads. Their reaction is on their faces. Either they aren't phased, or you can see the twitch of uncomfortableness on their faces. Again, I understand why. It's something they don't understand, especially if they've never lived with another woman.
But then there is me. If I'm on my period, I don't wear a sign or sing it out. But if you can see my tampon in my pocket on the way to the bathroom, okay. If I never take my purse to the bathroom, and I do for a few days and they figure out I'm on my period, good detective work! If I feel like crying because the cramps are so bad and you ask what's wrong, I'm going to tell you. I'm going to tell you I want to rip out my uterus with a rusty spoon because I'm pretty sure it would hurt less.
There's no reason to be embarrassed ladies. Even younger ladies. There is nothing wrong with being on your period. If you don't want people to know for yourself, cool. But don't do it because you're worried that a guy will think it's weird or gross. Don't do it because you're worried what some other women might think or say (which is weird, cause guess what? They get theirs too).
That's one way I knew my fiance was a grown up. While he cringes at the word menstruation, he gets that it's something that's basically out of my control. He doesn't treat my differently. He still wants snuggles, still sleeps next to me, but also brings me an extra piece of chocolate and tummy rubs when I hurt.
I believe in chivalry, it's not dead. But I also believe in not being ashamed of being a woman. We are amazing creatures. Our bodies do amazing things, and our periods are one of those things. I believe there is a balance between men and women. Chivalry and feminism. It's up to both sexes to respect every aspect of the other. Including the awesome, the weird, and the random.
So ladies, buy your tampons, pads, Midol, diva cups, and Summer's Eve with pride. Don't be afraid to be you.