8 First Period Horror Stories to Make Your Daughter Laugh
Do you remember the day you got your period for the very first time? For a lot of us -- maybe most of us -- it was a day filled with awkwardness and confusion. I remember I was watching the movie Xanadu on TV, and I had so many feelings: I was annoyed at being interrupted from my favorite movie, for one thing. And horrified when my mom told me I was a woman now. No I wasn't -- I was definitely still a kid!
Anyway, now that I'm over the trauma (mostly), I love hearing other women's first-period stories. So I asked a bunch of my friends to tell me theirs. Did anyone have a positive, affirming story? Hell no, it's shame and disaster all around -- but we can all laugh now, right? Please tell me it's better for teen girls here in the 21st century.
Grandma Was No Help
I was with my grandmother when I got it at 13. Oh, lucky me. I was in the bathroom and noticed I was bleeding (after getting a sudden backache at school).I yelled out and told her, "I got my period!" and she responded, "You know what to do right?" I actually had no clue. Luckily, my friend taught me how to put in a tampon because god knows my grandmother wasn't going to talk to me about my vagina!
No More White Pants
I was 12 and it was the last time I ever wore white pants.
I spent way too many years in my junior high and high school years fearing the SHAME and utter humiliation of public bleeding. I learned it was a "private" matter to be "managed" and never discussed in mixed company because it grosses men out and causes them to flee the room. This has come in handy a few times, I must admit. But mostly it just pisses me off.
I got political about this issue when I started teaching sexuality and gender studies courses. I made students read about the different ways American teens experience their coming of age transitions -- male-bodied persons gaining a sense of bodily empowerment and female-bodied persons feeling betrayal and shame and disgust at their bodily functions. So I made students examine these issues and talk to each other about it.
The Not-So-Magic Kingdom
First trip to Disneyland. I was 12. I've been bitter about it ever since. My mother was very practical about it. She got the keys to the car from my father, drove to a local store, bought a box of pads, came back to the hotel, showed me how to use and dispose of them, and that was that. As we'd already had The Talk some months before, there was no need for a repeat.
Mine started the day President Bush 41 was inaugurated.
Just Another Day on the Beach
First period started while visiting my grandparents in San Diego the summer before I started high school. I knew that being in water slowed the flow, so I kept swimming. No one had any supplies, so I stuffed a bunch of Kleenex in my underwear for the drive home to Los Angeles.
When we got home, my mom only had belted hospital-sized pads (who knows why), so I went to bed with what felt like an enormous pillow between my legs. The next day, we bought mini pads. I was so paranoid someone would see my pad while I was wearing my dance class leotard that I cut the mini pads down to about three inches long. I also wore dresses to school the entire week of my period to hide the pads. (I thought this was stealthy.)
You're on Your Own, Kid
I grew up in a terribly conservative family, in a very religious community, and it was not discussed. AT. ALL. Thank goodness it was covered in health class and I was paying relative attention. When it came, I was at home and felt something funny between my legs, so I went to the bathroom to check it out. I knew what it was, I knew I had to wear a pad, and I knew it was not something I could talk about in my family. So I didn't.
After a day or two, I realized that pads were not for me (I still can't see how anyone tolerates that itchy, drippy mess) and tried tampons. Thank God for the little diagrams on the pamphlet inside the package so I could properly insert one. How scary was that at first!? Putting a tampon in my vagina that was so verboten and bad and dirty and sacred and something no one was supposed to touch for at least 10 more years ... oh religion and patriarchy!
Dad Says Congratulations
I was 11. I told my mom, who obviously told my dad, who said to me "congratulations." Seriously??!! What 11-year-old wants to talk about it, let alone with her FATHER, and it was something awkward uncomfortable and embarrassing. And OMG my dad (clearly I still have issues) is inappropriate and stuck in the 1950s, though well-intentioned and loving ...
The First Period That Wasn't
I wrote frantic (and untrue) letters to my parents from sleep-away camp, claiming to have started at 10. I wanted them to come get me. They didn't fall for it and I didn't begin for years after that.
What are your period horror stories?