This post is about blood

I have a briefcase that I take to work. I carry my documents, my lunch, and an assortment of various items. I have pens, hand sanitizer, a mirror, a cell phone battery charger. I always like to be prepared. I also have a tampon. Specifically, I have a Tampax tampon that I got in the bathroom of a Southwest Airlines plane. The bathroom also had boxes of pads, but those were too bulky for my briefcase.

When I tell people I have a tampon, the first question they always ask is “Why?!” But tampons are pretty useful to have around. They are highly absorbent and sterile, so they are useful for makeshift bandages. Plus, you never know when you’ll need a tampon. I don’t expect women to mention to me that they need feminine hygiene products, but if they do, I want to be ready to help.

The tampon in my bag is also a great way to start conversations. After all, menstruation is a tough topic. As a guy, I still feel a bit uncomfortable simply saying the word “menstruating”. People say that I’m weird for carrying around a tampon. But am I the one that’s weird, or is the way that we talk about menstruation weird?

After all, menstruation happens all the time. It’s a critical part of the female reproductive cycle. It’s not like it’s some rare condition that only happens to a few people. Chances are, someone reading this right now is on her period, and has blood coming out of her vagina. Now, I don’t make it my business to go around and try to guess who is on her cycle, because then I would get punched in the face (and rightly so). And it’s not my place to educate women about “how to menstruate” (and if I did, I would get punched in the face). But I would like to do what I can to help other guys feel less awkward about it. Hopefully, by talking about menstruation, I can help demystify it. I can encourage guys to support women on their cycles, to not feel embarrassed to buy pads at the store, and to quit making quips like, “Geez, you’re crabby. What, is it that time of the month?”

I don’t know…Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I shouldn’t carry this tampon around, and not talk about menstruation like it’s an ordinary thing that happens to so many people. Maybe I should go back to remaining ignorant about menstruation, and treat it with ickiness. Maybe I really am being weird. If there’s something I’m missing, please let me know! I’m always looking to learn.

For the time being, if you need a tissue, an ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, chopsticks, a pen, or a tampon, just ask! No need to feel embarrassed about it. I’m happy to help.

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