Lately, I’ve been hearing about all sorts of advances in feminine protection; I guess that’s what happens when you are a women’s magazine writer currently working on a story about bikini grooming-related ER visits. As it turns out, buying a plain, plastic-applicator tampon at the grocery store is so very passé. Check out the coolest new ways to purchase your ‘pons, protect your privates, praise your period, and more:
Tampon home delivery
It’s kind of like a CSA, only with tampons instead of turnips. First, you visit LeParcel.com and choose your most trusted combination of tampons, pads and liners. Next, enter your
desired delivery date, and schedule repeat deliveries every X number of days (28 for the hyper-fertile; 24 or 31 if you’re semi-regular; etc.) Then sit back and scarf down a half-pound of Nestle White Fudge Flipz while you wait for your mail carrier to drop off your monthly supply of Tampax Pearls, along with your surprise “free gift,” which, from the looks of the web site, includes Ferrero Rocher Chocolates. (Heads up: Those iconic gold wrappers are not an effective panty liner substitute.)
Organic menstrual protection
The simple act of choosing a healthy snack has me paralyzed lately; between freaking out over Penicillin in my morning yogurt, tumor-inducing insecticide in my corn-on-the-cob, pink dye in my genetically modified Frankensalmon, and sulfites in my evening wine, nothing is safe anymore.
Not even our tampons. That’s why a new crop of feminine protection has popped up: Organic tampons and pads, free of carcinogenic chemicals, neurotoxins, irritants, fragrances, dyes and more. As if I wasn’t worried enough about pesticides on my strawberries; now I have this image in my mind of a conventional tampon hanging in a garden, repelling spiders and keeping bunnies far, far away. A company called Natracare sells 99% biodegradable and compostable, chlorine-free and plastic-free pads made from certified organic 100% cotton and natural cellulose materials, derived from renewable and sustainable sources. (Sorry – I should have warned you that you might need a banana and some trail mix in order to make it through that sentence.) Natracare is a far cry from the average scented tampon, which could easily be mistaken for Strawberry Shortcake’s BFF, Huckleberry Pie, and was likely manufactured in an Indonesian sweatshop made entirely of plastic and staffed by genetically engineered Frankensalmon. A dioxin-free “down there” doesn’t come cheap, either: Seventh Generation sells organic tampons that cost $0.37 each (in comparison, Tampax cardboard applicators run about $0.13 each, but to be fair, they could stand in for a nail file at your next pedicure.)
Red Tent parties
Some parents are now throwing bashes to celebrate their daughters’ first periods. These are like Sweet 16s, but for your uterus. What, exactly, happens at a Red Tent Party? Do you play ‘Pin the String on the Tampon? Fill a giant glass jar with 1,319 Motrin and give a prize to the guest who comes closest to guessing the correct amount? I imagine even the most secure 12-year-old would reject the idea of a uterus piñata, and your neighbors might not welcome multiple visits during your First Period Scavenger Hunt. (On the list: A speculum; chocolate-covered peanuts; an unopened tube of Clearasil; and a prescription for Sarafem.) Still…Mazel Tov!
Using the Diva Cup to get pregnant
Stereotypes abound about the typical DivaCup user: She’s vegan. Her name is Sunni-Moon. She is planning a dolphin-assisted birth, and her doula’s name will be Flipper. But the truth is, these little silicone cups have legions of followers who love the fact that they can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, are reusable (ie less money flushed down the toilet) and help the environment by not clogging landfills with the 16,800 tampons used by the average woman throughout her menstrual lifetime.
But I was shocked when a friend told me she and her husband were using her DivaCup to try to conceive. The theory: By inserting the cup immediately after intercourse, it helps keep semen up against the cervix so they have a better chance of squeaking their way into the uterus. The folks at DivaCup do not endorse such a use, and an email to various fertility specialists was met with a resounding, “Huh?” Something to keep in mind if you’ve been contemplating using a soy sauce dish, Dunkin’ Donuts travel mug or a tea cup from your niece’s tea party set as a fertility aid.
Pinterest is known for making women feel badly about themselves. How can your ego not be crushed when you learn that other moms out there are hand-crocheting wrapping paper for their kids’ birthday parties and that brides-to-be are getting married in chandelier-lit barns, serving champagne in mason jars that once belonged to Vivian Leigh and featuring actual gold leaf-painted miniature ponies as living centerpieces?
Now, you can add menstrual inadequacy to the list. Because while you sadly use your feminine hygiene products for their intended purpose, wannabe Martha Stewarts are out there creating furry tampon rabbits, adorable tampon Daschunds, and tampon pan flutes (which can be used to hum out Pachelbel’s Canon as you make your way down the aisle, into the candle lit barn, just days before you make your baby on your honeymoon with help from your DivaCup. Aaannnnnd….scene.)