A week or so ago I was at the store, and had a good laugh at someone else expense. Normally I try to be sympathetic towards people, something that is actually new for me, but in this case all I could do was chuckle under my breath and watch.
The particulars are simple. There was a young couple, early to mid-twenties, shopping together. They appeared to be married, both had wedding rings, and were joking and laughing as they loaded their cart with food and other necessities. They would split off from each other, one going down one aisle to get an item or two while the other checked a different aisle. The wife would let out a little sing-song noise with the husband replying “Over here.” Very efficient until they came to the “Health and Beauty” area.
I heard the wife tell her mate, “Go grab a box of tampons and I’m gonna get shampoo. Get the Kotex regular ones.” That’s when the fun started.
The husband looked at her like she was insane. “I’m not goin’ down that aisle.”
Wife: “Why not? You do when were together.”
Husband: “That’s different.”
Husband: “It just is.”
This exchange went on for a few minutes, and I had other things to do, so I don’t know if the husband got the tampons, or if the wife got them, or if they even bought any. It did get me to thinking about how we as men can have the silliest of hang ups over the stupidest things.
A man will think nothing of going into a store and buying a box of condoms, and if he is thoughtful perhaps some KY Jelly. But ask him to pick up a box of tampons or pads and its like he’s expected to pick a leper up from out of a ditch.
Back a NUMBER of years ago when I was a teen, if you wanted a box of condoms (we called them rubbers back then) you would have to go to the pharmacy and ask for them. Of course the person behind the counter was always some 70-year-old man who would look at you with disdain. You just knew that he was thinking, “You pervert!” and then he would ask what type you wanted. Back then there was only a handful of choices, and you would say under your breath the brand, pay for the box and run out of the store before anyone that your parents knew saw you.
Today, however, is so much different. Go to any store that sells condoms, and that is virtually ANY store, and you will find dozens of styles, shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors (yes flavors). Along with them you’ll find just as many lotions, creams, and lubricants all of which come in differing colors, designs and flavors. If you are still uncomfortable with buying condoms, and are in high school, you can go to the “Health Services” (we used to call it the nurse’s) office and get what you need for a weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to “safe sex” however, I think we have so inundated young people today with the idea that sex is for recreation not procreation that they do not realize that there is not only the physical ramifications to sex – ie pregnancy and disease – but also emotional and psychological. Sex is a wonderful thing, and once you have experienced it, it is like eating potato chips, you always want more. The problem is that young people, teens and even those in their early twenties, who engage in the “hook up” mentality do not understand what they are doing to themselves in all aspects of their lives. The bond that is formed when two people share that intimate moment is very strong, and if the relationship is merely sexual it leaves a void in both parties. If the ’60’s was the decade of “free love” then this decade is the decade of “freer love.”
But back to men and their phobia about “feminine hygiene.” At the Wal-Mart I normally shop at feminine products are in the same aisle as condoms. Watch a man go into that aisle, and you will see him avert his eyes from looking at all the tampons, pads, wipes, washes, etc. It is like he cannot comprehend the fact that a woman’s body is not a playground, but has some very basic physiological functions that require monthly attention. While he is willing to share in the “fun” aspect of a woman’s body, he is hesitant to assist in the monthly maintenance of said body.
I grew up around women, and being the only child of a single mom, there were times, unfortunately, where I had to visit the hygiene department. As a teen it was embarrassing, and one of my least favorite errands. As I grew older, and became involved with women throughout the years, I became less and less shy about buying tampons or pads. My philosophy has ended up being, if I can do anything to help the woman I am with to get through “that” week all the better. For one thing, it makes her grateful in having a man who is not afraid to buy sanitary products. Although I will admit I get just about as confused buying feminine products as I do with the condom selection. Once upon a time there was only a handful of feminine products, now there is as many choices as condoms.
The point of all this is simple. Gentlemen, NO ONE thinks that you personally are going to use a tampon, pad or Midol. The woman at the check out is actually going to think that you are a GREAT guy for being willing to buy this stuff for the woman you love. The guys at the check out are going to think that you are one ballsy guy for being willing to buy hygiene products. So stop being a bunch of wimps, and when the wife or girlfriend asks you to stop and pick up some Tampax Pearl do it. She’ll be grateful, and you won’t be any less of a man.