A Letter To Men
June 5, 2015 9:21 PM   Subscribe


 
I saw the word “super” on one package and reached for it. The generic package next to it was five dollars cheaper and also said “super.” I grabbed the cheap one and bolted the other way
Ha! Rookie mistake!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:54 PM on June 5, 2015 [31 favorites]


Yes, the more you pay, the less of the burrito experience you have. I hadn't learned that in seventh grade when I got caught unawares and had to use the 1970s-style pad ("beltless!") from the nearest public restroom dispenser.

I'm glad he wrote this, if only because men listen to men.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


"Beltless" - I found that section of Are You There, God? incomprehensible until the internet. And also until I got a pad from a vending machine at, I think, the VA, that came with a million safety pins and no adhesive. Very tough on the underpants.
I hope that was one of the things she revised in the new edition.
posted by gingerest at 10:11 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Beltless" - I found that section of Are You There, God? incomprehensible until the internet.

Anyone interested in old fashioned maxi pad-related humor should go and watch Slums of Beverly Hills right now.
posted by phunniemee at 10:17 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


When I had my sinus surgery, after the packing came out, the doctor suggested that I might get a nosebleed or twelve, and that tampons are really good ways to deal with them if they are severe.

So, went to the store, found some and bought them. No fucks were given, because who the fuck gives a shit what strangers think ? I will never understand so called men who are bothered by such things - you're not 12 anymore. It's ok to not respond to peer pressure.

Besides, they also work really good for bullet wounds, and deep cuts, too. A dab of vaseline, and they make good firestarters. I make sure any first aid kit I have has several included in there.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:20 PM on June 5, 2015 [42 favorites]




Pogo_Fuzzybutt: “I will never understand so called men who are bothered by such things - you're not 12 anymore. It's ok to not respond to peer pressure.”
Exactly. Just march down Aisle 8A with your head held high.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:23 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Honestly, the modern super-thin maxi pads are miraculous. I sort of worry that they're actually pouring the world's menstrual blood into a wormhole, and some seriously annoyed aliens are launching their space armada towards Earth soon.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:24 PM on June 5, 2015 [79 favorites]


You change the burrito before it goes soggy. You treat it like swapping banana hammocks, and yeah, life is going to suck. Change often, when it's merely streaky and sort of heavy.

Also, if it leaked, and actually showed weeping hemorrhoid blood through my jeans, I had an alibi - "Yeah. I use drugs. You've probably heard about this from your kids or NCIS."

Never had to use it. My wife did snarl at me for raiding her supply, but I bought replacements.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:26 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


This article has convinced me there is perhaps no higher level of misogyny than for a man -- one who has never had to deal with anything even resembling a period -- to think that periods are unbearably gross and that the accoutrements it requires are somehow a threat to their masculinity.
posted by sevenofspades at 10:46 PM on June 5, 2015 [51 favorites]


Honestly, the modern super-thin maxi pads are miraculous. I sort of worry that they're actually pouring the world's menstrual blood into a wormhole, and some seriously annoyed aliens are launching their space armada towards Earth soon.

Yes! I hadn't worn pads in about 20 years, and then a friend recovering from ladyparts surgery asked me to pick some up for her, and the box I got had 20 pads that fit into like a cubic inch of packaging. AMAZING!

I too was curious about the belted pads I'd read about in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and have spent a decent amount of time with the Museum of Menstruation site.
posted by lalex at 11:00 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be honest, I didn't like this piece. It might not have bothered me by itself, but it's part of a bigger pattern of pieces that are ostensibly "sympathetic" toward women portray periods as the worst thing ever, with an added condescending you're amazing for dealing with it on top.

I mean, periods can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. If I could get rid of mine easily and without any side effects, I would. But I bristle at the narrative that periods are a personal physical and emotional hell that makes living one's daily life difficult. No, actually; I get up in the morning, wash, stuff some cotton in my vagina, and go about having a normal day.

Catastrophizing the period serves the stereotype that women's bodies are weak and gross and that periods make us into the equivalent of invalids. It wasn't too long ago that this was used as an argument to keep women out of certain kinds of jobs - and some sexist idiots are still using it. It's especially obvious when the arguments based on "mood swings." Ostensibly sympathetic, but damaging and condescending.

I'm not saying that women never have debilitating periods. We can definitely go too far by discounting those women who do because periods are just "normal." (Women can't win. Periods are a great way to give mealy-mouthed, undermining fake "props" to women for dealing so well, but if you have actual medical problems you can be dismissed as overreacting, hypochondriac, whiny, etc.)

So, yeah.

I'd like to see less of this and more accepting of periods of just ... normal facts of life. On preview:
This article has convinced me there is perhaps no higher level of misogyny than for a man -- one who has never had to deal with anything even resembling a period -- to think that periods are unbearably gross and that the accoutrements it requires are somehow a threat to their masculinity.

While I'm not sure I'd say this is the highest level of misogyny out there, you summed up my feelings pretty well.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:07 PM on June 5, 2015 [98 favorites]


eh, several of my women friends were chuckling and sharing this around social media, and I found it kind of hyperbolically humorous, more that he was poking fun at the silly macho culture aspects. And yeah, there are still a shocking number of guys out there who really are kind of weird about this stuff. My ex is one of them. If this guy can get even a few men to realize that trying to coerce a partner who feels bloaty and weird and gross into sex isn't a great idea, and maybe try to be compassionate instead, that's ok in my book.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:20 PM on June 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Pretty sure flat-out murdering women is worse, but I take your point. I blame the patriarchy - women and men alike are trained to treat menstruation as a terrible, crippling mystery, and menstrual fluid as the most shameful, taboo substance. It's not surprising that people with serious menstrual problems report that it takes years to get help (and that they sometimes didn't know for years that what they've experienced is out of the norm, much less a treatable pathology.)
posted by gingerest at 11:21 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt - the super high end maxi pads with the nonstick surface have been the go-to solution for big patches of road rash in bike racers' first aid kids for some time now. Tegaderm is expensive shit and sometimes you just need to get home without getting blood all over your car upholstery and besides we all shave our legs and wear neon lycra superhero suits on the regular so it's not like any of us have many fucks left to give about silly social norms etc...
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:26 PM on June 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


I really don't think this body/gender horror 101 involving a draining wound from an invasive abdominal surgery is... effectively comparable... to one of the body's natural cycles... I mean damn, this is just some prime vintage Freudian castration anxiety you know? Pain and dysmenhhorea aside you do not actually need to limit athletic activity while menstruating in the same way you would to accomodate an actual wound. This juvenile mindset of seeing the period as this experience of humiliating eldritch pain and horror is honestly why men came up with and use phrases like "the gash".
posted by moonlight on vermont at 11:33 PM on June 5, 2015 [39 favorites]


eh, several of my women friends were chuckling and sharing this around social media,

So, when something is criticized as sexist, this is one of the first defenses people will pull out: "Some women don't have a problem with it! They like it!" I'm sure that some of them do, but women participate in all kinds of sexism.

Sexism isn't just something men do to women. It's also a set of cultural beliefs that serve to set women apart as inferior others, which women can also buy into.

But also, different women have different experiences, and will value some things over others. Some women might recognize that there's sexism but find enough value in it to share anyway, since some parts do ring true. (Don't buy the cheap pads!)

If this guy can get even a few men to realize that trying to coerce a partner who feels bloaty and weird and gross into sex isn't a great idea, and maybe try to be compassionate instead, that's ok in my book.

It's not OK in my book, because there are less sexist ways to do this. For example, you could tell men to stop treating women as their personal sex dispensers and treat them as full, autonomous human beings instead. Condescendingly portraying them as martyrs to their grosssssss biology is not the only option here. It's not even in the top five options.

he was poking fun at the silly macho culture aspects

File this under "ironic sexism." He failed. It's less a skewering of the silly macho culture and more a reveling in it, and I do find it offensive.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:45 PM on June 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


Yeah, he has hyperbolized the experience. Period blood doesn't smell that bad*, and changing the pad every hour is probably not necessary for most women.

* [Gross alert] Exception: when I was a teenager I tried every (non-mind-altering) granola fad in the book. One of them was switching to cloth pads I had bought online. (My main reason was to avoid TSS and all of the bleaching agents they use on conventional period products.) They were made of fleece with some sort of all-natural absorbant core. The instructions suggested keeping a bucket of water under your sink and soaking them for a while before washing. Now that was a gross smell, and I don't want to think about the bacteria aspect. I only kept it up a few months before I switched back to something sleek and modern.
posted by mantecol at 11:53 PM on June 5, 2015


I think menstrual fluid smells a lot better than straight blood, especially as the two age. (Neither is as nasty as chicken juice. Mystery of the ages: why does chicken smell so much worse than other meat when it goes bad?)
posted by gingerest at 12:01 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


But in his bullet-pointed list, only a couple points are about the actual sensation of his blood seepage; most of them are about the misery caused by the ridiculousness and inadequacy of a lot of menstrual products. Once he finds good products he seems way more OK about it:

Buying the best pads made a huge difference. It made a difference to my comfort. It made a difference to my confidence level as I walked around the world thereafter with an ultra-thin yet ultra-effective maxi-pad in my pants. It made a difference to my clothes being destroyed or not.

Basically he's having, as an adult, an experience pretty similar to what a lot of twelve-year-old girls go through: experimenting with a hall-of-mirrors-like aisle of coyly described mystery objects, some of which will be right for you, some of which won't, and some of which are just crappy in general, with the understanding that you're not allowed to really speak in detail about what exactly you're looking for in a product, oh and remember you're subject to huge social shame if you make any publicly visible mistakes so you better get this right the first time.

I guess what I'm saying is that yes, plenty of people do have a routine that works for them, but right now we as a society don't make it all that easy or pleasant for people to get to that point, and this guy just had an abrupt run-in with that fact.
posted by ostro at 12:03 AM on June 6, 2015 [39 favorites]


And women, I consulted exactly zero of you about this before I wrote it because I wanted it to be purely from a man’s perspective. How close did I get?

Well, you wrote 2000 words comparing your post-op wound care instructions to a naturally occurring bodily function that most women experience for decades so I'm going to say ... not very? And the way you talked about blood! and bleeding! makes me suspect you don't understand the difference between bloody bleeding blood! and shedding.

When I was married I was a total man about this. I didn’t want to hear about it. I thought it was disgusting. I let her know I thought it was disgusting when the conversation was brought up. [...] I was a really good husband a lot of the time, but I was a really crappy husband in that area of life.

Sorry, but telling your wife that her period is disgusting makes you a really crappy husband, period, and the opposite of a "total man."
posted by Room 641-A at 12:45 AM on June 6, 2015 [53 favorites]


I get what the guy's trying to go for, relating to cis-men at a Western society hurr hurr I am Man level, but honestly, once I groaned through the thirtieth or fortieth "down there", mentally replacing it with "ass" or "rear end" or "butt" or anything that would have acknowledged that "down there" is not the lair of Satan which must never be named, but a variety of areas with their own characteristics, notably that an ass is not the same thing as a vagina, and thus his experiences, while similar, were not and could not be the same... Anyway. Once I had got through that and to the end, this:

And women, I consulted exactly zero of you about this before I wrote it because I wanted it to be purely from a man’s perspective. How close did I get?

had me flatly reply "true to my experiences as a woman, but not in the way you assume." Seeing 'women' as a homogenous group with reactions you think you correctly predict, plus you consulted exactly zero of... me? us? them? 'Women!'... to write a piece you thought would help increase... what... for women, who are precisely the people you consulted zero of. Yeah, yep, that is very close to my lived reality, yes.

It was really depressing, honestly. I need to go see "Mad Max" again.
posted by fraula at 12:51 AM on June 6, 2015 [35 favorites]


The 'how close did I get?' made me think: how close to what?
... dude, wait, what? You mean close to the experience of menstruation? Is that what you think this was like?


He got pretty close to his own experience, I'm sure. But bleeding from your butt is very different from menstruating. I bet some of us have done both, and can compare.

And I agree with those who said that he's not doing anyone much of a service by telling men that periods are the worst and grossest thing that can happen to a person. Nice try, but no cigar.

I did find it amusing. But it's not the revolution we're looking for.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:28 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess it's time for me to write that blog post about how having kidney stones was like giving birth to twins.
posted by HuronBob at 2:36 AM on June 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


i really wish we didn't live in a world that was like "well now that this MAN has told me about this APPROXIMATION OF A WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE i finally feel like i can listen to what women have said about it" but there you are

though this sounds pretty unlike my menstruations

also if you really felt the overwhelming need to get a MAN'S TAKE on PERIODS you could just ask a trans man who has periods
posted by NoraReed at 3:25 AM on June 6, 2015 [36 favorites]


I get that some men are scared of or disgusted by menstruation, meh, I couldn't give a fuck about those tossers. But why the fuck are they scared of sealed, hygienic, cotton/gauze products? Is there some magic that's going to seep out and rip their testicles off? You'd think some dudes would be proud to purchase such products as evidence they were masculine enough to acquire a "female" who trusted them enough to send them out for unmentionables.
posted by b33j at 3:26 AM on June 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


What is with the fear of the menstrual products aisle? It's not like we've used all our collective mystical powers to transfer periods cargo-cult like to anyone who holds a tampon.

Oh, and my phone just tried to autocorrect "menstrual" to "men's trial." Et tu, android?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 4:27 AM on June 6, 2015 [54 favorites]


2 out of 3 pages on just how embarrassing it is to buy maxi-pads while having a dick in your pants?

There are lots of us out there who routinely buy this stuff for their wives / significant others, you know? The reason you never noticed that is probably because it's really not a big deal.
posted by sour cream at 4:49 AM on June 6, 2015 [33 favorites]


I’d type out a visual, but you’d stop reading because men are utter pansies in this department.

This was a particularly tone-deaf moment, in an essay replete with tone-deafness.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:01 AM on June 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is this where I complain about how every single type of sanitary pad for sale here appears to be perfumed except one, and that one feels like it's made from cardboard? I've come to the conclusion that the makers of these things hate women. Like really, it started as a mental joke but over time I've ended up with no better explanation. There is literally zero reason to put perfume there except some kind of hide your shame in bodily functions bullshit and the only end result is irritation and allergic reactions for a small but significant number of women. So when I get grumpy in the lead up to my period this is the exact and only reason why, something that used to be zero problem at all for the previous 20 years now just sucks.

Probably not totally relevant to this story, but it's been bothering me more and more recently so kind of had to come out. And it feels like the attitude implicit in this story (periods are so horrible and gross!) contributes to the idea that it's a shameful function in need of sanitising with perfume and chemicals.
posted by shelleycat at 5:09 AM on June 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Years ago, while tree planting, I had an accident which scraped up my knee super bad. The first few days were hell because it was so weepy that everything got glued by the scab including the first aid bandaging. It was constantly ripping open. I couldn't wear any clothing over it and I had trouble keeping any gauze on with the first aid tape.

Finally found a solution, an Always no stick pad and duct tape. After cutting off one leg of my pants I was good to go.

Most thought it absolutely hysterical but a few were hilariously squeamish and would avoid looking at my knee. We had fun finding various ways of getting my menstrual padded knee into their line of sight. It was so stupid but mocking seemed appropriate in the situation.
posted by Jalliah at 5:52 AM on June 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: it's not the revolution we're looking for.
(h/t to Too-Ticky)
posted by datawrangler at 5:53 AM on June 6, 2015


Oh man, I remember when (a thankfully long-ago) boyfriend got pissed at me for getting menstrual blood on his brand new fancy bedding.

I mean, I get annoyed when I bleed on stuff myself, but my annoyance is like *god I guess these are period sheets then godddamnit* as opposed to *oh god gross blood blood blood even worse blood from DOWN THERE why wasn't I born a proper person, aka, without a blood-leaking pussy*
posted by angrycat at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Every so often I read something and am really grateful I've been out of the dating scene so long. All these common, normatively accepted weird masculinity hangups I'm not used to encountering from any of the men in my life, and would suddenly have to remember to screen for if I were dating male partners again.

I'm 100% sure every single dude in my life (friends, family members) who might ask me "hey, I'm going to the store, do you need anything?" would respond to any request for menstrual products with "sure, what kind?" - because their only anxiety about that aisle of the store is that there are so goddamn many variations on pads and tampons and they wouldn't want to get the wrong thing.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:07 AM on June 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


the whole "it is SO EMBARRASSING to buy these products I had to COVER THEM UP WITH OTHER STUFF" is so ridiculous and i cannot handle cis men who do it

i mean i kind of felt like that when i was first menstruating and shit and i was a wee baby, and i like the pads in the black packages because they feel less like LET ME SHOW U HOW PINK MY BLOODTIME IS but i am a lot more willing to accept issues with internalized misogyny and its attitudes toward vaginas and the stuff that comes out of them from women then men being like OH PERIODS, SO EMBARRASSING
posted by NoraReed at 6:09 AM on June 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, as far as being 12 and bleeding on stuff, my cringeworthiest experience with that was bleeding right through a new super maxipad, through my pants, and onto the fancy floral couch belonging to the lady running the bed and breakfast my family was staying at on vacation. I wanted to die, but instead I got up, placed a decorative pillow over the area, fled, and informed my mom, who then got to have a very awkward conversation with an exceedingly nice French lady who refused to hear of her paying for cleaning costs.

sorry Mom
sorry French lady your chocolate cake was delicious and I hadn't learned how to excuse myself when super anxious yet

posted by deludingmyself at 6:17 AM on June 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


It might not have bothered me by itself, but it's part of a bigger pattern of pieces that are ostensibly "sympathetic" toward women portray periods as the worst thing ever, with an added condescending you're amazing for dealing with it on top.

Yeah, I can see this as a really legit piece of criticism, since I know that for many women periods are totally not a big deal and for them this is pathologizing something normal.

My own period though is a hideous ordeal of terrible pain, baseless anger and randomly bleeding all over shit. I actually have an enormous pool of resentment about how I'm socially supposed to ignore my pain, anger, and tidal wave of leaking body fluids and just go about my day. So, er, I personally really like the "this is the worst thing ever and you're amazing for dealing with it" attitude.

I mean, clearly it's not the worst thing. Labor was worse, and postpartum depression was a lot worse. But having a broken bone, for example, was for me (I know this isn't true for every woman), much less bad. A blood clot in my leg was much less bad. And you go to the freaking emergency room for those things. You're for sure not expected to pretend they aren't bothering you and not discuss them because, you know, it's "woman stuff" so it's all taboo and nobody talks about it.

So I'm always happy for the "Oh poor you, you're so amazing" thing when it occurs- which is way not often enough for my taste- because yeah, poor me, I am amazing. (But um, I actually think that the fact that much more sympathy about all kinds of suffering in our fellow beings isn't built into social mores points to some kind of awful fundamental flaw in the human race... so well... I dunno).
posted by shiawase at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2015 [28 favorites]


Is this where I complain about how every single type of sanitary pad for sale here appears to be perfumed except one, and that one feels like it's made from cardboard? I've come to the conclusion that the makers of these things hate women. Like really, it started as a mental joke but over time I've ended up with no better explanation.

I think there must be a better explanation.

Sanitary pads are a mass product that have a potential customer base of, well, maybe not half but perhaps a third or a quarter of the population. Worldwide.

So if there is only 1% of women like you who will buy a certain brand just for the reason that it's not perfumed while not feeling like cardboard, then the producers of those pads will shove aside their hatred for women for their love of big bucks. Maybe your go-to shop doesn't carry unscented pads, but a quick Google search shows that they do exist.
posted by sour cream at 7:01 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


PERIODS, SO EMBARRASSING

What I really don't get is that buying sanitary products for your SO should be a badge of pride for men like this because it usually means you're also getting laid. If I was a dude and another dude was all "Eww!" I'd be all, "That's right, these tampons are for my girlfriend. Who are those Doritos for?" Then I'd do a mic drop, probably spin around a few times while letting out a James Brownian "Haahh!" before waking away with an exaggerated strut.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:16 AM on June 6, 2015 [39 favorites]


If you're a guy that would be embaressed to be shopping in the feminine hygiene aisle, all you have to do is hold a small piece of paper with some indecipherable scribbles on it. As you try to make your selection, occasionally look at the piece of paper and frown. Once you finally focus on one, look alternately at the paper/pads/paper/pads, then shrug your shoulders and take the pads off the shelf.
That's what I look like when I'm shopping for my wife.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 7:22 AM on June 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Alternative strategies include GROWING THE FUCK UP
posted by NoraReed at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2015 [35 favorites]


2 out of 3 pages on just how embarrassing it is to buy maxi-pads while having a dick in your pants?

Sharing a gender with this dude is easily the most embarrassing thing I've ever done.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:02 AM on June 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


“Man up”

How about we get this saying out of our fucking language as soon as possible, eh?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:15 AM on June 6, 2015 [38 favorites]


And how about do what Canada has done and start regarding all female sanitary products as essential tax-free products like condoms. That would be a great start too.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:19 AM on June 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


For example, you could tell men to stop treating women as their personal sex dispensers and treat them as full, autonomous human beings instead. Condescendingly portraying them as martyrs to their grosssssss biology is not the only option here. It's not even in the top five options.

I mean, I could do without the condescension and the hyperbole but actually, I am occasionally a martyr to my grosssssss biology, and I don't know how else to put it. Most biology is gross, and most of us are pretty much constrained by it. (My apologies to those who have already ascended to the singularity.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Flawed human is forced to realize own flaws, and decides to try helping other equally flawed people realize same; humans who do not share same specific flaw hurl insults, revealing that they have unrecognized flaws of their own.

Any person who is so completely embarrassed and ashamed to even be seen in a feminine hygiene products aisle is someone who normally would go the other way, and become a worse person over time. Instead, he was forced to confront his irrational belief and then actively sought to make things better for others who hold that same irrational belief. Sure, it would have been better had he not had those stupid beliefs originally. And sure, his language and attitude shows he still has a long way to go. But he's facing the right direction now at least. That's not a reason to give him a trophy (nobody deserves a medal for acting like a reasonable human being), but it's counter-productive to mock him.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


Sure, he started out with a bad attitude, but then it got better. I think that's what we call progress, even if it's progress to where we wish we had been in the first place.

And I totally agree on the overwhelming number of scented feminine products. Why would anyone even *want* heavy perfume down there, even if it didn't leave their skin raw like it does mine?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:36 AM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


posted by The Underpants Monster

God, I'm happy you posted in this thread.
posted by gladly at 9:00 AM on June 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


Maybe your go-to shop doesn't carry unscented pads, but a quick Google search shows that they do exist.

I've been to literally every supermarket and pharmacy store in town, they all sell the same things. Also your patronising google link ignores the fact I live in a non-English speaking country plus inclusion of perfume is never listed on the packaging. It's not even a selling point, it's just a given that vaginas are dirty and need artificial scent added.
posted by shelleycat at 9:05 AM on June 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


I read this the other day and laughed... mostly out of disbelief at what a ridiculous man-child this dude is. And was! I mean, holy shit, how can you be married to a woman and still throw a giant sulky shitfit at the thought of venturing to the period aisle? I mean, I'm laughing, but I'm also not exactly respecting the author or his learnings here either.
posted by sciatrix at 9:16 AM on June 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is this where I complain about how every single type of sanitary pad for sale here appears to be perfumed except one

I can't stand the scented products, and some that claim to be unscented actually do smell like something perfumey so I'm that lady in the aisle sniffing all the packages. Sorry not sorry.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:21 AM on June 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Basically he's having, as an adult, an experience pretty similar to what a lot of twelve-year-old girls go through: experimenting with a hall-of-mirrors-like aisle of coyly described mystery objects, some of which will be right for you, some of which won't, and some of which are just crappy in general, with the understanding that you're not allowed to really speak in detail about what exactly you're looking for in a product, oh and remember you're subject to huge social shame if you make any publicly visible mistakes so you better get this right the first time.

Yeah, the part that was most interesting for me about this was how similar his shopping trips felt to when I was twelve and first started buying pads and tampons. It was hugely overwhelming and I was really embarrassed about taking them to the checkout counter. Eventually I thought "well, the store sells them, so why should I be ashamed of buying them?" but I shouldn't have had to think that because I should never have had to feel embarrassed about buying pads/tampons at all. If he'd sort of made this point and stuck with it, I think it would have been a much better piece, but instead he made a bunch of assumptions about how all guys feel the way he does about ew icky gross periods.

The bit about how he shamed his wife for having her period and not only found it gross but made a point of making it clear to her that he didn't think it was okay? Wow that is awful. I can't imagine the misery of being married to someone whose identity requires them to demonstrate that they find something about me disgusting. That's really, really horrible.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:29 AM on June 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


Why wasn't he using adult pull ups?

I had a cretin who worked at the Beacon Hill Whole Foods smirk at me when I was about to bleed through my pants....I hadn't yet learned "If I bled every time......I'd be anemic" line.
posted by brujita at 9:36 AM on June 6, 2015



Honestly, the modern super-thin maxi pads are miraculous.


These were a big turning point in my life because they helped me realize how totally fucking abnormal my periods were. They're GREAT for absorbing liquid blood and TOTAL FUCKING PANTS at dealing with the chunky clotty madness of Problem Periods and it was a concrete thing I could tell doctors and be like bEHOLD FIX THIS SHIT.

also re: smell - having had both period blood and non-uterine wound blood come out of my lady parts i can confirm beyond a doubt that period blood smells a whole lot worse, at least for me.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've been to literally every supermarket and pharmacy store in town, they all sell the same things.

I had the same problem in Europe and I ended up getting pads on amazon. if amazon.de doesn't have them there's always amazon.co.uk.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:42 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


No fucks were given, because who the fuck gives a shit what strangers think ? I will never understand so called men who are bothered by such things - you're not 12 anymore. It's ok to not respond to peer pressure.

Doesn't bother me at all. Hell, I'd hold them over my head and make a production if I were 19 again, since this means you most likely have a partner at home who is on occasion willing to sleep with you. It's like people who are embarrassed to buy condoms.

At 44 buying any kind of hygiene product is boring. If anything, I feel bad for the young women in the aisle who have to deal with the middle-aged bearded man trying to find the ones that are the correct size with wings.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:45 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


some that claim to be unscented actually do smell like something perfumey

Yeah, a huge part of the problem is that a lot of products are divided into "scented" and "regular" and the "regular" ones are still scented. You can't always tell until you get them home and open them.

It's not even a selling point, it's just a given that vaginas are dirty and need artificial scent added.

Exactly. Scented is the default state of most menstrual products. I have yet to meet someone who buys pads because she really loves the fragrance of crappy floral dryer sheets in her pants.
posted by corey flood at 9:45 AM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Count me as another for whom a monthly period is an occasion for martyrdom and coping with mind-ruining pain and etc. and I find this guy's experience 80% obnoxious and tone-deaf and 15% kind of sweet and 5% deliciously satisfying to watch a man suffer (tw: misandry).

The comments at the bottom of the post were also interesting. Lots of women saying "tee hee I laughed til I cried! you got it right except I typically need to take muscle relaxers for the pain and also there's a lot of diarrhea tee hee hee!" which won't do a lot to dispel this type of mainstream thinking. As long as there are women to validate some men's feelings of "this is the most horrible grossest shit EVER but I will man up and force myself to buy pads," and as long as it's used as a punchline, these attitudes won't really change.
posted by witchen at 9:52 AM on June 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I mean, holy shit, how can you be married to a woman and still throw a giant sulky shitfit at the thought of venturing to the period aisle?

I took the blog title (Single Dad Laughing) and comments like "When I was married..." to mean that he is now divorced, which kinda answers that question (i.e., you probably can't, long term).

My biggest fear when buying such products for my wife is that the store will be out of the specific brand/style she likes, and then I have to either guess the most approximate alternative ("does she really need the wings?" or come home with nothing. You'd think the wrong thing would be better than nothing at all, but that's so not the case with my wife. I don't mind standing there for hours if there's a chance the right ones will suddenly reveal themselves.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:12 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


dysmenhhorea

Does this word refer to the practice of expelling horrible men from your life?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:14 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Guys, guys! I had this experience. And now I am an expert on women-stuff!
posted by Omnomnom at 10:14 AM on June 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, he's kind of obnoxious and tone-deaf with this, but speaking as someone who once had an S.O. with G.I. issues tell me how disgusting he thought it was that I had to use "so much toilet paper" and whatever else for a quarter of the month, I found this a somewhat cathartic read nonetheless. And re: the comments, well, it's true, he didn't have to deal with all the other things that go along with periods, such as sometimes not knowing whether you're genuinely angry or just hormonal for two weeks straight every month, your entire abdomen bloating for two weeks straight every month, weird bowel movements for at least a week every month, cramps on top of the blood for at least a day or two every month... I mean, this nonsense can take up a lot of time and energy. So he got a sense of what some of it is like, and he gained something from that experience. There is a line between acknowledgement and pathologizing, of course, but acknowledgement, at least, is good!
posted by limeonaire at 10:19 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


It is, of course, nonsense to believe you have to have a wife or girlfriend to be a Real Man. But it's weird that people who buy into that way of thinking about Real Men can simultaneously believe that being a Real Man = not having lived with a woman long enough to have ever picked up tampons or pads for her at the grocery store.

It's sorta like cartoonists who put right on the front cover of a comic book evidence that they've never seen a naked woman before.
posted by straight at 10:20 AM on June 6, 2015


Yeah, dude didn't even have clumpy bits makin' even more trouble for him.

I appreciate that he's probably making some guys realize something, maybe. But he really didn't have to work so hard to not think about menstruation before. I mean, I've thought about how morning erections would be a big inconvenience. Had to learn later on that it wasn't all that necessary that Every Boner be Immediately Addressed. I don't have those parts, but I've thought about what it might be like to deal with the inconveniences of them.

It did make me realize that I was at first unnecessarily reluctant to get my (lovely, up-for-it) husband to buy me tampons and ibuprofen. He was immediately game and did indeed carry them to the cashier as a badge of pride, like a right-thinking human.

- This message written while I am bleeding RIGHT NOW
posted by lauranesson at 10:20 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the comments really kind of bummed me out with all the "tee hee you're so right it's the grossest i'm so sorry you had to go through all that". I mean... yeah, dude, I'm sorry you had to have a surgery with that level of aftercare, that's something I can totally sympathize with. I'd feel bad for anyone in that situation. But I have to roll my eyes extremely hard when he gets all OMG BLEEDING FROM NEAR MY GENITALS IS TERRIBLE AND NO ONE SHOULD EVER HAVE TO ENDURE THIS SORT OF TORTURE about it. I mean, come on. Women make up, what, half the population of the planet, give or take? And broadly speaking (heh), most women menstruate every month for about forty years or so. Bleeding from the genitals is part of our biology. Acting like it's something to be universally dreaded, feared, and ashamed of is not exactly fostering understanding of anything. It's just another way to make women into an alien species.
posted by palomar at 10:20 AM on June 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I get the eye-rolling for this piece, but I guess my reaction's a little different: this is not a technical manual on being a feminist/ally, this is a Curious George book on being a feminist/ally.

The path from misogynist prick to feminist is mostly taken with small steps - I'm sure if he continues walking the path, he'll look back on this article/blog post and cringe, but at the same time I sorta nod, smile and say 'keep walking, dude.'
posted by Mooski at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2015 [34 favorites]


So if there is only 1% of women like you ...

Also, you're off by at least a factor of 10.

And yeah, I buy them on Amazon. But the part where I have to import sanitary products from another country to avoid a really common allergen because someone thinks periods are inherently dirty? Still infuriating.
posted by shelleycat at 10:27 AM on June 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm sure if he continues walking the path, he'll look back on this article/blog post and cringe, but at the same time I sorta nod, smile and say 'keep walking, dude.'

Damn. That's a nice response. Reminds me of a chill situation & I will try to channel your calm.
posted by witchen at 10:34 AM on June 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


I wanna edit the "badge of pride" bit. He carried them to the cashier like they are things that people buy.

Shelleycat, that utterly sucks and I'm grumpy on your behalf, as well.
posted by lauranesson at 10:35 AM on June 6, 2015



dysmenhhorea

Does this word refer to the practice of expelling horrible men from your life?


Ha, ha, no.
posted by maryr at 10:37 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


“Man up”

How about we get this saying out of our fucking language as soon as possible, eh?


10 Responses to the Phrase "Man Up"
posted by maryr at 10:40 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


also if you really felt the overwhelming need to get a MAN'S TAKE on PERIODS you could just ask a trans man who has periods

I was going to say a bunch and then deleted it all, because it all could be boiled down to "More of the same, except the men's bathrooms don't have little garbage cans in them. Also would anyone like my uterus?"

ugh body it's been literally two years since we last went over this, ugh, why are you doing this to meeeeeee. cut it out right now or i will cut you out.
posted by you could feel the sky at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm a woman who happens to be allergic to fragrance and many adhesives. Those magical Always pads? Turn my skin to raw, weepy hamburger.

So I get to rely on hippy dippy, all cotton, fragrance free, chlorine free pads. Which would be great in theory if not for the fact that they are much more expensive and feel like cardboard.

I have very sensitive skin so I get that I am an outlier but for the love of bleeding Christ, stop fucking putting fragrance in everything. Fucking fuck.

Oh, and lesson one from my allergist: unscented does not mean fragrance free. Unscented means they ADD fragrance to make it smell like "nothing".
posted by lydhre at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Shellycat, Natracare's website lists where their products (unbleached and unscented)can be bought in Germany.
posted by brujita at 11:43 AM on June 6, 2015


I'm with you shelleycat. I hate the scented pads with lotheing. Nothing smells worse then blood/menstrual fluid and lavender and roses. I'm not squicked out by a lot of things, but it frequently makes me want to hurl.
posted by royalsong at 12:01 PM on June 6, 2015


That's not a reason to give him a trophy (nobody deserves a medal for acting like a reasonable human being), but it's counter-productive to mock him.

I'm sympathetic; this is how I often feel about "have a cookie" retorts. But in this case I really don't think he gets it. At all. I do appreciate baby steps but I just don't think this is a step forward. I think witchen expressed this well:

As long as there are women to validate some men's feelings of "this is the most horrible grossest shit EVER but I will man up and force myself to buy pads," and as long as it's used as a punchline, these attitudes won't really change.


posted by Room 641-A at 1:01 PM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is not about periods but Amy Schumer, when accepting the Glamour Award for something or another, had this great bit:

"I'm just hoping to get home and take off my underwear and not have it look like I blew my nose in it.[Women in audience laugh their asses off] Oh I am not seeing a single smile on the men that are here, but you should know that your underwear looks like like a coal miner wiped his brow with it."

She also had the great line: "I'm 160 pounds and I can catch a dick anytime I want."
posted by angrycat at 2:35 PM on June 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wow, you mean this guy is now single? I'm shocked, really. This blog post has done nothing to rectify that situation, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Jubey at 3:56 PM on June 6, 2015


I remember walking a half mile to the 24 hour convenience store at midnight in the pouring rain (and I mean pouring) for my then girlfriend who found herself stranded on the toilet at my place. When I placed them on the counter, the guy behind the counter looked at me - soaked head to toe, said no charge - I thanked him and I walked back.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:25 PM on June 6, 2015 [20 favorites]


I remember walking a half mile to the 24 hour convenience store at midnight in the pouring rain (and I mean pouring) for my then girlfriend who found herself stranded on the toilet at my place. When I placed them on the counter, the guy behind the counter looked at me - soaked head to toe, said no charge - I thanked him and I walked back.

My dad once drove to three different stores in a hurricane to find tampons for my mom during the great o.b. shortage.
posted by phunniemee at 4:32 PM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Not trying to one up you, just...god's work, man. You guys are doing god's work.)
posted by phunniemee at 4:33 PM on June 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


Scented is the default for most hygiene-ish things, and it's irritating as hell. I've had a hell of a time finding unscented deoderant and baby wipes.
posted by jpe at 5:25 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure where you are, jpe, but I recently got some pretty cheap unscented baby wipes from Target.
posted by NoraReed at 5:48 PM on June 6, 2015


That's not a reason to give him a trophy (nobody deserves a medal for acting like a reasonable human being), but it's counter-productive to mock him.

You know, call me jaded, but I would be more inclined to be generous to this guy if he weren't giving such a strong impression of someone who is just using the rhetoric of progressive enlightenment and "reform" as a form of destructive attention-seeking behavior and an easy way to get cheap validation from women. The article itself was childish, but going on and reading this man's blog made me really, deeply uncomfortable in exactly the same way Hugo Schwyz*r's early blogging did. Given the staggering nonchalance of that "I verbally and emotionally abused and publicly humiliated my wife whenever we were grocery shopping together and she bought feminine hygeine products" drop, I would lay money on him following a similar trajectory. Let's revisit this in 5 years. :/
posted by moonlight on vermont at 6:59 PM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Honestly, I was more impressed with the guy behind the counter. Clearly the tampons were the only reason that I walked in the rain and I wasn't going home without them. The fact that he recognized that nobody goes out in weather like this if they aren't an absolute necessity - and he gives them to me instead of charging me - the man was a saint.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:16 PM on June 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, you haven't lived until you have sported six of these in your underwear.
posted by maggieb at 8:23 PM on June 6, 2015


I enjoy carrying my menstrual products to the check-out line manned (heh) by the teenage boy. It's good for him to learn how to handle the transaction without any embarrassment or fuss. His future partners, should they be female, will benefit.
posted by carmicha at 8:52 PM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, speaking as a former full time grocer, no one at the grocery store gives a crap what anyone buys. Everyone is too busy hating their lives, trying to steal, do drugs, or Fuck each other to pay attention to what customers are doing.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:43 PM on June 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


It did make me realize that I was at first unnecessarily reluctant to get my (lovely, up-for-it) husband to buy me tampons and ibuprofen.

I was recently thanked by Elder Monster's fiancee for being forthright about bodily functions. She had been having a hellish period and mentioned to him that he might not want to come over.

He showed up with a box of her preferred pads, a bottle of Aleve, and a giant bag of chocolate. He has never been squeamish about periods.
posted by MissySedai at 10:45 PM on June 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I didn't notice the ob shortage because it didn't affect the availability of Natracare or 7th Generation.
posted by brujita at 11:41 PM on June 6, 2015


"I never even considered having sympathy for the countless women I've encountered in my life until a thing kinda, sorta, ALMOST happened to me!"
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 12:17 AM on June 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


Shellycat, Natracare's website lists where their products (unbleached and unscented)can be bought in Germany.

Yeah, unscented, unbleached, and feel like they're made from cardboard. More expensive too. It was like every month I was forced to pay penance for having a common allergy and not wanting to cover up my shameful smells. I've never used products so horrible. In the end I figured those were made by the most women-hating of them all.

In the past not adding perfume was the default. I don't know why things have switched, it started to happen before I changed location. And in Germany buying parfüm-frei everything else is really easy, it's just period stuff that apparently must smell artificial. Which is why I ended up with the position that adding the chemicals is the first place is a misogynous action.
posted by shelleycat at 2:28 AM on June 7, 2015


He's got a similar post about growing out his hair.

[My second wife] had the longest, most incredibly beautiful red hair I think I still have ever seen. And I used to give her such hell about spending so much on premium shampoo and conditioner. I didn’t listen to her when she complained about the upkeep of such hair. I showed her no sympathy. And one day she told me she might want to cut it shorter… and I had a tantrum. And told her no way. And I reinforced to her that I loved her long hair more than anything, and I wanted her to keep it long, and I didn’t want her to cut it. Never once did I listen to what she wanted or why she wanted it. And she kept it long for me. Not for her. For me.

I don't understand why it's so difficult for some people to step in the shoes of others unless they experience it themselves.

And the lesson he says he learned is this:
A big part of why I’m [growing out my hair] is because I know that by doing it, others will have opinions, and I want the reminder for the rest of my life that nobody’s opinion should ever matter except my own when it comes to things like this.

It doesn't sound like this guy has had a terrible time figuring out his own opinions. That should not be the lesson. The lesson should be that now he knows that other people have experiences and opinions and that those things are just as valid.

Sigh.
posted by sockermom at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I just am baffled that grown men are embarrassed buying tampons and pads and stuff. Really. Do they think "oh the cashier will think i am a girly-girl" or something? I'm married to a woman and we have an 18 year old young woman in the house with us and I do the shopping quite often and what, I am going to go come home from that and deal with two women who do not have menstrual products and explain to them that, sorry girls, I'm just too macho to follow a grocery list, and would prefer that you just menstruate all over the furniture??? That's gonna go over real good. Jesus Christ, I'm way more embarrassed at the idea of buying Cool Ranch Doritos and the cashier thinking that they are for me.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


You can tell how macho a guy is by how precarious he perceives his own masculinity to be.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:45 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


And I used to give her such hell about spending so much on premium shampoo and conditioner. I didn’t listen to her when she complained about the upkeep of such hair. I showed her no sympathy.

No sympathy? "Such hell?" I can understand being annoyed or frustrated about the expense if money is an issue in your relationship, but that's super aggro over...what? 20? 25 dollars maybe?
posted by Room 641-A at 8:46 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, speaking as a former full time grocer, no one at the grocery store gives a crap what anyone buys. Everyone is too busy hating their lives, trying to steal, do drugs, or Fuck each other to pay attention to what customers are doing.

This times 1000. I worked at grocery checkouts for two years and I have lots of memorable stories about other employees and about workplace injuries and about annoying customers and insane customers but I don't have a single concrete memory of a single thing anyone bought ever.

This should make me feel better when I go to the checkouts feeling judged (broccoli, diet soda, 11 identical 12-ounce packages of jellybeans) but somehow it doesn't.

Also, agreed that this article just came across as creepy.
posted by mmoncur at 11:14 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The lesson should be that now he knows that other people have experiences and opinions and that those things are just as valid.

I've been reading Dan since he first got started blogging, and he has been quite upfront about his own cluelessness and selfishness, and about trying to be a better person. He has made no bones about his previous assholery.

I think these days, a lot of his cluelessness has been exaggerated for comedic effect, really, and to reach guys who are still stuck in Perma-Asshole mode. He's made great strides since he started his blog.
posted by MissySedai at 10:40 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can really see why this guy has had two wives and is no longer with either of them. I sincerely hope he's stopped treating women like shit over things like pads and shampoo. It's hard to muster a lot of sympathy for his plight when he openly admits to treating women badly due to his unexamined male privilege and juvenile selfishness.
posted by i feel possessed at 5:28 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


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