Friday, October 27, 2006

Bonne et heureuse semaine

If anyone has an *irrational* problem reading about the curse/my old Aunt Flo/the time when a woman's body flushes itself out, feel free to skip this entry. (I'll be peppering the rest of the entry with other absurd euphemisms. Yes, they're all real - except for that last one. I made that up.) However, the main point of this post is feminine PRODUCTS, so don't run screaming yet.

I wear tampons during the day when I'm rebooting the ovarian operating system. Though I have a serious problem with the fact that I'm sticking a bleached product into myself for hours at a time, it's the best solution I can find. But at night, I use pads. I don't want the tampon in there for more than four hours and on a good day, I sleep longer than that. Who am I kidding I ALWAYS sleep longer than that.

Anyway, a couple of nights ago I opened a new package of the Always pads I use - the ones with wings on the sides. The wings are held together with a piece of paper, which you take off when you open it. That paper greets me with, "HAVE A HAPPY PERIOD!!!" It is then followed by the mandatory French translation I used as the title of this post.

(Tangent: why do most women's products have a French translation? Shampoo, make-up, tampons, pads - everything written on these products is written in both English and French. Is it only to appear posh and 'international'? If anyone knows a better reason, please enlighten me. Granted, sometimes there is a Spanish translation too, but many people in the US speak Spanish.)

This new little addition to my night-time routine gave me pause. I think I may have actually chortled. First of all, no one has a happy T-Minus 9 months and holding. Though I have been blessed with little pain and suffering during arts and crafts week at panty camp. No one has a 'happy', pleasant, or nice dishonorable discharge from the uterine navy. NO ONE. Not even the freest spirit, the hairiest, smelliest woman, the Wicca-est priestess. No one enjoys their time ordering l'omelette rouge.

The companies that make feminine products are seedy and manipulative and I'm one of their victims. I know this, yet continue to buy their products. Someone told me yesterday (we both doubted its veracity) that Tampax is being investigated for adding an addictive ingredient to their tampons. Regardless of the truth of that rumor, Tampax does conveniently forget to add bleach to their list of ingredients.

The point is, I don't want them wishing me 'a happy period'. It doesn't make me think (as I imagine their trying to) that I'm at a slumber party with a couple of my closest girlfriends. Right after our pillow fight, we start talking about how stupid it is that we complain about playing the banjo in Sgt. Zygote's Ragtime Band so much. Let's empower ourselves! Let's have HAPPY massacres at the Y! We should always be happy, right? Guys don't like it when we complain. Who cares that our insides are trying to punch through our stomach while simultaneously clenching and spinning? Who cares that we have headaches and backaches? Who cares that we have blood flowing continuously out of ourselves? Guys have to walk around with penises dangling around ALL THE TIME. We should feel sorry for them and their fragile ball sacs.

Okay. Sorry. The inner militant feminist does break out sometimes, doesn't she? The point is, saddling Old Rusty is not fun. Taking Carrie to the prom is not empowering. They're disgusting. There are times that you feel like a little child/old woman who can't control what is released down there. Ah - there's the worst part. You are not in control. For a week out of every month. A woman cannot control or predict (much) what her body will do or feel like. She feels helpless at times and ridiculous at others.

So let us be miserable. I'm not saying we should complain about them or use them as an excuse to be lazy or unproductive. But don't wish us "happy periods." It's offensive and presumptuous. Let us deal with it the way we've learned to, whether it's with chocolate or exercise. Please, just wish me a young menopause.

And let's stop with the euphemisms. A period is a period. Period. Miss Scarlet is not coming home to Tara. It is not game day at the crimson tide. I am not trolling for vampires. I am on my period. And I can feel blah. I can feel vaguely out of sorts. I don't have to take it out on anyone, but I don't have to put on a smiling face for anyone either.

Thank you, and let's keep those panty shields up, captain.


Adam Elend said...

That was a phenomenal post.hari

Adam Elend said...

I didn't really say "hari" - I was tryng to type my password in, and it jumped back into the comment box.

So allow me to repeat: that was a phenomenal post...


jmixont said...

Thank you for a good laugh. I think my favorite is T-minus nine months and holding.

And maybe French because they're marketed heavily in Canada?

All of my life I've been grateful I'm not a woman. Dealing with menstruation (a word you never used in your post - interesting) sound like a major pain in the ...

Anonymous said...

I'm with jmixont. Why did you fix on "period" as the correct term?

Amanda said...

Sorry, that's just the term I use for it. I don't know anyone who says, "Oh, I'm menstruating this week."

But there was no reason. The word is just the one we've landed on. I think the reason why would be a different post.

trix said...

There is a lot to be said for community translations, especially in areas where companies do not deem it necessary to localize for other markets (such as fansubs of Japanese anime etc.) or there simply isn't a company behind a product (open source software anyone?). But if you are running a business and trying to make the most out of the opportunities presnted by globalization, using professional translation services is the only way to go.
Luckily, I can't see machines taking over the jobs of human translators in the near future, as they have done with so many other professions (remember telephone operators?)