CASCAIS, PORTUGAL-

Hey everyone, guess what?

I’ve got my period.

Yippee!

Lets all celebrate the fact that my boobs have swollen into two huge, lumpy, over-ripe rock melons; I’ve grown a zit on my cheek that’s big enough to name “Junior” and enroll in kindergarten; my mood is lurching precariously between highly emotional and intensely ferocious; my back hurts as if someone’s inserted an electric carving knife into my fifth lumbar vertebrae; and I want to eat an entire cacao plantation in ancient Maya, along with the little people that farmed it, those horrible Jesuits that sold them out to the Spanish, and all of their pets.

Give.

Me.

Chocolate.

Now.

Periods are fucked.

And there’s nothing more annoying when you’re BLEEDING TO DEATH than having some blowhard pussy-foot around the topic of menstruation by referring to it as “the fairies visiting,” or asking you if you’ve “got the painters in.”

The Painters?

Give me a break.

I’ll paint you a new face in a minute.

Come a little closer, my friend, and I’ll give you a fistful of fairies….

Right in the throat.

 

Here I am, in a strange foreign country where I don’t speak a word of the language, and I have to go into a tiny pharmacy in the Portugese version of the boondocks, and try to buy tampons.

(Try miming THAT, Marcel Marceau.)

One of the best things about me, I think, is my distinct lack of an ‘embarrassment gene.’

I was either born without one, or managed to discard it by the time I reached puberty.

It’s simply NOT THERE.

Even so, sometimes there are situations in life that just aren’t fun, and pointing to your vagina while acting out a bursting dam to a confused and frightened European dude is most definitely one of them.

It was a hellish scene for both of us, but we got there in the end.

But then here’s the thing that was strange to me.

After years of living in America and having to put up with cardboard applicators and other whatnots–this guy didn’t sell any.

No pads, no strange appendages for insertion, no twenty-foot long robotic arm with a rubber glove on the end.

Just regular old finger-applied tampons with no added embellishments or accessories.

“How very, very Old School,” I thought.

How in-ter-es-ting.

The day was young, and because I had nothing else of importance planned with which to occupy the next hour, I decided to investigate further by taking my aching, bitchy, intrigued self to a supermarket to try and get a more in-depth perspective.

I meandered down the aisles and explored rows of jars and canned illegibles.

I got lost amongst the chocolates.

Wrinkled my nose at the pungent arrangements of dried, salty fish.

And then eventually I found my way to the tampons.

The aisle was certainly extensive.

Zoebrock2c_1

There must have been thirty different brands of the cute little guys, all served up in pretty boxes catering to the tastes of girly teenagers and ultra-feminine women.

Where were the little black boxes, for psychos like me?

Goth tampons.

For bleeding Goth girls.

There’s got to be a market out there for dark, gloomy packaging that no one’s tapped into yet.

Anyway.

There I was.

Meandering my way up and down the expansive sanitary products aisle.

And I was struck by the fact that the applicators were noticeably absent.

There was only one kind, one option, one brand, one type of box.

Ordinary little tampons.

Zoebrock2d_1

Here I realized, upon further reflection, that Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, and Asia are completely different than America in this respect.

The cultural divide is even wider than we thought.

On the well-stocked shelves of any American supermarket or drugstore, the exact opposite is true.

There are dozens of varieties of applicator tampons, but only ONE that goes without.

Fascinating.

And curious.

It’s interesting to ponder the kinds of conclusions that can be drawn from this observation.

Are American women afraid of touching their most intimate of parts?

Do the fairies offend?

Is this another case of the natural, physical world infringing on a modern, urbanized, Puritanical society and then being rewritten as something disgusting, foul and utterly untouchable?

Unmentionable, even?

I was perplexed.

And there was nobody around to discuss it with, and probably no one in the known universe who would actually want to, so I sat down at a café and talked it over with myself, immersing myself deeply into one of those demented, muttering monologues that you see bums having under bridges in the middle of a long, cold winter.

Now we know what they’re talking about, I guess.

It was during this one-sided but very engaging conversation that I reminded myself, angrily, of the other shocking thing I’d come across in American stores:

Douches.

Can anybody out there explain to me why a potpourri-scented vagina would be anything, anything, anything other than an uncomfortable reminder of your grandmother’s lavatory?

There is NOTHING sexy about a flowery twat.

Nothing.

Don’t these star-spangled females realize that our girlie-bits are self-cleaning, delicate organisms that like to be dealt with in a hands-on manner, and that douching interferes with all that lovely natural bacteria?

If I were a nice little bacteria, humbly going about my business inside a nice warm vagina, and some crazy lady decided to douse me with lavender water, I’d rebel in a second.

It’d be mutiny.

Here’s the thing, girls:

All you have to do is actually get your lazy asses off the sofa and have a shower once a day, and you’ll be smelling like roses, without actually (ahem) smelling like roses.

And so here’s my problem.

I think women are losing touch with themselves.

Literally.

American women in particular.

As far as I can tell, there’s a whole generation of dismal, douching, disgusted girls out there who are deeply appalled at the prospect of touching themselves when they’re bleeding, or even touching themselves at all.

It’s a travesty.

If a girl can’t be friends with her own puss, she’s not gonna be friends with anything.

And sure, this kind of trivial consumer befuddlement might seem like a small thing to get worked up over, but on some levels it feels like a much deeper and far more sinister problem.

Applicators, after all, are not only an unnecessary product, they’re also an environmental abomination.

One more irrelevant product that we flush down the drain, discard to burn, or dispose of in a giant landfill.

Another wasteful ‘luxury’ that is taken for granted, never considered, and one that separates us from ourselves.

*Sigh.*

I’m now looking back on this odd and rather tangential missive, knowing that nobody will probably read it all, let alone take it all that seriously.

And that’s okay.

I’ve said my bit, I’ve had a rant, and that’s all I can really ask for these days anyway–to express my weird self in candid fashion–irrespective of my audience.

It’s a cathartic exercise, and perhaps a little crazy, but now I am cleansed.

Which could theoretically mean that I’ve actually just mentally douched myself.

Oh my GOD:

My brain smells like cornflowers and pine needles!

Pink-tinged aromas are wafting from my ears!

At this point, it seems entirely possible that perhaps I am the patron saint of periods.

Zoebrock2e_1

Or perhaps it’s time to start drinking–and drinking heavily–on account of the fact that I am clearly insane.

Or at least partially insane.

Or least partially somewhat clearly insane.

Or something like that.

Period.

*This has been yet another bit of inane reportage by Zoe (Go Small and Make It Organic) Brock.

If you can recommend an asylum I’d be much obliged.

Zoebrock2f

 

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ZOE BROCK was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. She has lived in more cities and on more continents than she can count (truly, she's a model and can't count) and is currently residing in the deep fog of San Francisco. Her true home lies on the dusty plains of Burning Man where she feels safe and challenged and truly alive. Zoë once had a very popular blog on MySpace and writes everything from awful poetry to truly delicious dark satire, and all sorts of sexy things in between. She has appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, inside the pages of Vogue, Cosmo and Marie Claire, to name a few, and is working on her memoir, an expose of 'growing up model'. Zoë is also a certified yoga teacher. Yes, that means she's bendy.

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