Saturday, December 27, 2008
Are you a modern woman?
It’s over. It’s finally flippin’ over. Twenty people. Chez de Mullets. Heartburn. Headaches. A life-size Elmo. Old faces. New friends.
Well, I wouldn’t call them friends exactly.
My grandmother brought her new boyfriend, John. When I offered him coffee he shouted, “We finished eating. I don’t know why the hell we’re still here.” (He’s actually an improvement from her last boyfriend, who tried to charge my dad for a turkey he brought for Christmas—a turkey he’d gotten free from work.)
Aunt Flo decided to pop in and visit my niece, Sarah, for the very first time. She didn’t take it well; in fact, she and her mom left early because of it. Sarah was worried people would see the Kotex wrappers in the waste basket and know they were hers. I offered to casually announce that they belonged to me—as in, “Hey everybody, if you, um, happen to notice Kotex wrappers in the bathroom they are totally mine please pass the potatoes”—but she wouldn’t have it.
It’s funny how you forget the weight of those early coming of age experiences. Why, after Sarah left I realized I had completely blocked out that muggy afternoon in Maine when my cousin and I were at my aunt’s house and I butterflied into the vibrant, oh-so mature woman I am today.
I believe that when I came running out of the bathroom that fine day in 1987, my aunt was slinging one of my training bras across the room at her parakeet, Hank, who, incidentally, could whistle “Oh, when the saints.”
“Is this your Band-Aid?” she asked me.
After I sheepishly shared my news, she told me I could find a box of Tampax under the sink. When I politely asked her for a maxi pad, she told me that modern women didn’t use pads, they used tampons. Coming from a woman who lived in a double-wide in the woods of Maine—a woman who toted a 6-pack of Bud under her arm—this statement struck me as odd.
Nonetheless, I looked under the sink and found the Tampax, right next to my uncle’s collection of Hustler “magazines.” He may have been rolling joints on the kitchen table while I dutifully read the Tampax instructions; this is where my memory grows hazy…
…because using a tampon for the first time is nerve-wracking! There’s sweat, shaking hands, fear you’re going to mess up and end up with a tampon sticking out your nostril. What if you puncture your kidney? What if you can’t get it out? What if you just lost your virginity to a wad of bleached cotton?
Never mind a stoned uncle, heckling aunt and whistling parakeet outside the door.
I would have been thrilled with a Kotex and an aunt who offered to take ownership of my stupid little wrappers. Thrilled I tell ya!
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I like how WYM ended off her post-Christmas post: “Don't forget. Appreciate. Breathe in your life, hold it in and allow it to nourish your heart.”
And banish those horrid relatives who scarred you in your impressionable years to the bowels of hell!
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