If there is one thing a monthly period is good at—besides serving as a friendly reminder that you’re probs not pregnant—it’s appearing in your life at exactly the wrong time. Periods have a sneaky way of starting when you least expect it, whether you’re on a week-long rustic camping trip sans any real bathrooms, or you’re Jennifer Lawrence walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes. The blessing in the sly way a period can unleash its fury: The hilarious, embarrassing stories women get to collect from their monthly flow showing up unexpectedly. And Aussie tampon brand Cottons wants women to share their period tales.
The brand tapped YouTube star Jess Bauer to lead their new Facebook video campaign, “It’s Only Natural.” The goal of the campaign: To get women talking about their time of the month. Even though women account for roughly half of the world’s population, there’s still a weird taboo against talking openly about periods. Bauer breaks the ice by sharing her period story in the video. She says when she was 14, she was at the mall with a friend, casually sitting on some white chairs. Then, she felt her period make its unexpected debut.
“I had to suddenly look on the seat to see if I had my period, and no joke, the white seat was covered in blood,” Bauer says. “It was so embarrassing.”
She had to clean up the blood with a napkin and borrow her friend’s spare sweatpants. It’s a classic period-meets-white-seat story. Bauer then asked viewers to share their funniest period story in the comments, and, boy, did people participate. One woman’s brilliant story: “When I got my first period, I turned on the radio and ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’ by Shania Twain was on. Fact.” Another woman wrote that she got her period for the first time at a family gathering—and all her relatives applauded her. And another woman said she got her period during middle school graduation, and everyone noticed when she sat on the floor and a pool of blood formed around her.
Are these stories embarrassing and cringeworthy? Yes, they are indeed. But we have the great privilege to laugh about them. The more women and men talk about and normalize periods, the less embarrassing it might be the next time it strikes unexpectedly. You can just holler out, “Anyone got a tampon?!” Periods suck, but at least we get to think they’re funny.
SELF – Culture