PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, February 14, 2005

My Bloody Valentine

For reasons that will become clearer later, I was thinking about what age I was when I received SexEd, courtesy of the public school system. Of course, my mother also did her part throughout my pre-teen and teen years, but the older I got the more painfully awkward those became. For some reason, I think they started on the basest of basics, menstruation, in elementary school. I vividly remember a booklet filled with letters between three girls over the summer, as each of them (indicated by a different colored flower) got their periods, and the sheer excitement of it all.
I bought it, hook, line and sinker. I was intoxicated. Drunk on the glamour of menses and all the accoutrements that denoted you as a Woman. I am now going to make a very embarassing, yet hilarious, confession. The year is 1977. I am 9. I have begun to have Delusions of Grandeur, already. I beg, beg, beg and plead with my mother to buy me this particular item. I must have it. Have to have it. She is bewildered. She tries to talk me out of it. She tries to explain that I will not like it. All I hear is a whirring tuba noise as her mouth moves, and I sweepingly brush her arguments aside. I will have none of it. I MUST. HAVE. THIS.

For I, dear friends, had to have the Maxi Pad With Belt Configuration.

If you are much younger than me, you will not even know what I'm talking about. I think the product decline happened shortly after I finally got mine. You can see a picture of them here. Oh, but yes. My mother bought me the whole shootin' match. I still remember my uncontainable excitement, when she brought it home with her after work one day. I could hardly STAND it, I was bubbling over with my imminent Womanhood.

Now, if you've never worn one of these, allow me to describe how it works. You have a maxipad, roughly the size of a body pillow, with a large amount of loose tulle at either end. This is what you will thread through the little jagged metal hooks to secure the pad in place. Then, much like a chastity belt, you step into this riggery and ignore that you cannot walk normally. In fact, I'm sure these were quite effective AS chastity belts in their heyday. Heyyyyyyyy, sailor! Gaze upon my body and this king-size pillow wedged between my legs. I am IRRESISTABLE.

So I wobbled off to school the next day, triumphant in my ascension into Womanhood before all of my other classmates. Good. Lord. Those delusions crashed mightily onto the Harsh Rocks of Reality. By ten a.m., I requested a bathroom pass. I still remember an overwhelming desire to chuck the entire thing into the trash, but since the belt had cost some coin, I only tossed the pad. (Mind you, I was nowhere near starting my period at this point.) I had to wear my crazy belt under my pants until I got off the schoolbus, where, in the privacy of my half-mile hike home, I removed the elastic gizmo and shoved it into my backpack.

And yes, my mother did say she told me so. And no, I no longer find menstruation to be a glamorous, accoutrement-filled event.

But you can't say I've lost that peculiar brand of enthusiasm.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:11 AM