WARNING: the following post is in no way meant to make those of the male gender uncomfortable, however I’m afraid it will. If you are a man who is easily filled with discomfort at the talk of things ultra femme, I would advise you to turn away, and go read something else like “Guns and Ammo” or “Field and Stream”. You do have other options of course, like “GQ” or “Esquire”, but I think after Googling the word menarche you may need some extreme macho. And I think there’s a cardboard testosterone sample in one of the first two publications mentioned. You can rub it on your pulse points.
My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Carlon Perkins wasn’t a particularly sweet man. But, he was funny and had the same 1st name as my girl cousin so I liked him well enough. I guess I hadn’t ever gotten sick at school before, because I never actually remember having to go to “the office” until that day. I put my head down on my desk and tried to do my work like that. Mr. Perkins told me to sit up. I did but then I couldn’t do much more than stare off into space, and try not to regurgitate my snacktime goodie. ‘Nilla wafers are only meant to go one way.
Mr. Perkins in his usual brusk manner sent me to the nurse with no one to accompany me. Halfway across the playground I thought it would be a good idea to just lay down on the black top and rest awhile. I woke up in the arms of a superhero. Andy the Janitor carried me in his giant arms to the principals office and they put me on the cot reserved for just these types of situations. After I came back to school he drew me a beautiful picture and watched me on the playground like a hawk. A very concerned hawk. Andy the Janitor was a lovely man.
It must have been shortly after I was laid on the cot that they noticed the menstrual stain. I was carried once again, in a blanket this time to the principal’s car and he took me home to my empty house. I went straight away to the bathroom and when I saw my panties I started to cry. I had no idea what was happening but I knew a relative had a dog that had bled like that right before it died.
As I sat in the bathroom looking at my underwear, I asked God why he even brought me into this world if he was going to take me out so soon. I was concerned about my little brothers and my parents, and grandparents. I was clueless. My mother came home from work early while I was still in the bathroom crying, and trying to get right with God before it was too late. She did a completely inadequate job of explaining the birds and the bees while she put me to bed with extra pillows and a heating pad. The heating pad and I were to become very good friends once a month for the next couple of decades.
When I returned to school we had an assembly (I was sure all the kids knew it had something to do with me) for the 5th and 6th grades. We watched a movie starring a couple of old guys, animated sperm traveling through a cartoon uterus, and hard to understand ducks by Disney. (If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’) On our way out the double doors after the puzzling film, we were given a brown paper bag with a booklet. Inside the bag was a box that looked way too small to hold the gigantic (only one size back then) Kotex brand sanitary napkin and garter belt that it attached into. You didn’t actually need the garter belt if you tied the ends over your shoulder. That garter belt may have been inspiration for the first thong. It felt like you were riding a Shetland. A Kotex that size could have doubled for any number of 1st aid items. It could’ve been tied into a sling if you hurt your arm, or used as an ace bandage for a sprained ankle. Just keep wrapping until you run out of Kotex. You’ll need patience and a strong arm. In those days we didn’t have the adhesive strip on the underside. A handy idea, but one which earned a relative of mine the nickname “Aunt Baldy”. No, we had no adhesive strips back before electricity. You know what we had? A blue string. Of course it was as long as the Kotex so it could be pulled out and used as a delicate lasso, or braided into bolo tie. If such a thing were ever necessary. Never really did figure out the blue string.
It only took a few months after my menarche for the folks to realize that I wasn’t going to have an easy time of it. The debilitating cramps, vertigo, vomiting bile, came every other month. It wasn’t as if I was given respite otherwise either. The severe cramps and nausea were inescapable. Even in the months I wasn’t bedridden. An OB-GYN recommended Ortho-Novum something or other to “regulate” my periods. If I had only known at 10 what I know now. I would have stopped doing meat and dairy and any other hormone induced foods. That would have been a good start. I would never put my child on the pill knowing what I do about them, but in the ’70’s it seemed like the best option.
Whether or not I think they are a good idea for myself makes not a speck of difference one way or another in regards to other women and their ideas about what is right for them. I wish Rush Limbaugh would understand this, and that his beliefs are his and his alone. We as women don’t want to be called names if we are prescribed medication. I don’t remember being ridiculed but it was something of a spectacle to my friends when they watched me take my “pill”. They all wanted to look at the dial-a-pill package while I popped the tiny yellow tablet through the foil seal.
I think Limbaugh is the worst kind of human being, (using that term loosely) in that he spouts his hate with no regard for the children he hurts. I think of the young girls out there who are innocent and have not one ounce of desire to change that but who are prescribed “the pill” as I was to help them with their period. Rush Limbaugh, are you saying these innocent girls are sluts, and prostitutes? Did I hear you say it was alright if you “could watch” the uploaded feeds? How dare you, you ignorant, 12 sandwich eatin, no lover havin’, pill-poppin’, psychopathic, shame to your family name. I could throw down more dozens on you, but why waste my time. It is hard though not to fantasize that your lips have been permanently sealed, and without a place for all the hot-air to go you blow up like Veruka the blueberry girl and float out to space to rejoin your mothership.
I really try not to hate, but with people like Limbaugh in the world it’s becoming increasingly more difficult! It’s time for the King of Nut Bags to relinquish his scepter and crown. How has he lasted this long?
Can you tell I’m a little angry here?