Those of you who enjoy making boys cringe at the mention of things like tampons and childbirth will appreciate this. Next time the conversation lags, ask the woman next to you if she's heard of Instead.
This happened at work the other day, immediately causing two males to stand up and exit the room.
Instead, as the website boasts, is "a unique, proven advancement in period protection."
My friend at work described it as more of "a plastic condom attached to a thick rubber band."
She went on to tell how well it works, and in the process actually mimed the removal technique, which we nicknamed the Hook-and-Pull.
I decided I must try it.
As a public service for my readers, exclusively on this website, I hereby dedicate Heavy Flow Day #1 to personally testing and reporting my impressions of Instead.
8:35 – Stop at Walgreens to purchase product. $6.99 for a box of 12. If, as stated on the packaging, each one can be worn for 12 hours, this represents an economical bonus. I use the pad/tampon tag team technique, which is effective but not cheap.
9:17 – Close door to office and begin perusing the product website. Am highly, highly, HIGHLY relieved to learn after a few clicks that their "send us a picture of you using Instead" is not a call for money shots, but rather a marketing campaign featuring real women in real life scenarios.*
9:48 – Time for a tampon change, which means subbing in product on its first rotation. Exciting! Feeling a little tingly as I pop open the box. Nothing like shaking up the routine now and then. I remember my first tampon was just as thrilling. Inside the box are 12 neat purple packages that look a lot like ultrathin pads.
9:50 – Open packaging and remove product. Aw, isn't it cute! It looks just like a big, fat diaphragm.
9:51 – Now how the…?
9:52 – Oh! Okay. That makes so much more sense.
9:53 – "*&)(*$*(@)#($&$#*(@#)($*$#(*#!!!!!!!!! Fu&*ing mother )((*#$&!!
9:57 – Feeling lighter, freer, and quite wonderful, actually. Why doesn't everyone use these? It's the tampon revolution, I tell you! This is the best feeling in the world!
10: 02 – Is it working? How do I know if it's working? What if it's not working? Why, oh, why didn't I wear a backup pad? Am I stupid or something? I'm way too trusting. This is going to be a disaster. Like a murder scene. Wish I'd brought a change of clothes. Stupid, stupid, stupid…
10:06 – Leakage! I sense leakage! Run to the bathroom for a Hook-and-Pull. Hmm. No. Product seems to be working perfectly.
10:07 – Thought this would be easier the second time. Goddamnmotherfu…
10:14 – Feeling a bit like if I sat down wrong it might cause product to shoot out and thwak someone in the eye.
10:31 – Acutely aware of feeling completely normal. This is so weird. Something must be wrong.
10:45 – Another leakage scare reveals no leakage whatsoever.
11:58 – Finally starting to relax a bit.
11:59 – Yes! This is great! Love this product! Am never going back to tampons!
12:05 – Realize I have a happy hour with important people tonight and probably should not drink at all. Am quite sure I would end up telling a VP all about my experiences with Instead.
1:10 – Just managed to entirely forget about leak worries for over an hour! Need to pee. Confidently proceed to bathroom, only to discover leakage. Small and spotty. No big deal. This is Heavy Flow Day #1, after all. Obviously Heavy Flow Day can defeat even the most dedicated period protection device. Removal, however, was not unlike a murder scene. A little disturbing to see that much blood at once (yet kind of cool).
1:16 – Aware of someone entering stall next to me. Resist strong urge to "drop" bloody toilet paper.
1:18 – Reinstall device. Slightly easier this time, but really starting to question whether I want to be this familiar with my anatomy multiple times per day.
1:52 – Product feels like it's in a perpetual state of slipping out and running away to join the circus, which is really unnerving if not uncomfortable. Realize it was a terrible idea to test anything while on one's period. Mood swings causing me to hate product right now. Wishing someone would invent a cure for cramps.
2:00 – Leaving office to attend long meetings at really swanky downtown hotel, followed by happy hour. This scenario all but guarantees disaster.** Will keep you posted.
* Since I have always been extremely grossed out by those "Tampax was here" TV spots (especially the beach scenes), this approach did not win points with me.
** Possibility exists that Instead SoftCups make really great frisbees in meetings.