We Need To Talk About Kristen Bell’s Menstrual Cup

Um.

So.

I logged onto Facebook this morning, and AGAIN Parent’s magazine threw me for a loop. That makes two days in a row that I felt wronged by them. (Yesterday, which I posted about this morning, was about the re-share of that whole daycare pick up shaming thing.)

Today’s article was so startling, and yet at the same time so mundane, that I couldn’t help but double take.

“Kristen Bell Fainted While Trying To Take Out Her Menstrual Cup.”

Uh… sorry to hear?

How do you respond to something like that? Or, rather, react? Do you read it? Do you keep going? Why does anyone care? Is there some deeper meaning, or is this just another attempt at humanizing celebrities so that we identify them more when their movies come out?

Beyond the fact that I feel like every other day I’m learning about the goings on in Kristen Bell’s personal life, whether I want to or not, there’s something so remarkably mundane about a celebrity’s menstrual period woes, or anybody’s for that matter.

I mean, I get it.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed by when it comes to a woman’s period. So bold for Bell to highlight this by telling her own personal anecdotes. I, myself, could regale you all with a myriad of stories when it comes to my own monthly cycle, although I’m not sure Parent’s magazine (or any magazine) would pick the stories up.

And anyway, celebrities are people too! Right? These humanizing articles serve to remind us that the Kristen Bells of the world are real people, not just the characters they portray. They, like us, do quirky things, weird things, fun things. Bell, in particular, seems to have become the poster girl for just how normal celebrities really are. I feel like I’m constantly seeing articles shared over and over again about her (and her husband’s) humanness and – like I said, I get it.

But, is it news?

I guess I’m starting to question what the whole point is of a lot of media outlets, including legitimate magazines that you can still get in the mail, when they are sharing somewhat banal stories, like this one.

I even commented on the Parent’s Facebook post this morning, asking just that. Can Kristen Bell do anything without it turning into a news article? I would suggest, after this whole menstrual cup fainting fiasco, not.

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Talking to Your Husband About Your Period

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There he is. Poor Nick. My husband. Smelling the inside of a maxi-pad.

This was during one of our many talks about my period. My husband – like many – is a little bit of a misogynist. He has never taken the time to consider the nuances of the fairer sex and always thought that women were just like him. Cold. Sterile. Emotionless.

Recently I decided that the best way to make him understand that women have different experiences, emotions, and needs than men was to talk at length about my period. Who am I kidding, though? A man understand women? That’s about as likely to happen as Kim Kardashian closing her legs and losing that huge ass of hers. So at the very least, talking to my husband about my period is a good form of punishment.

Talking to Your Husband About Your Period

Cramps

My husband rarely experiences bad bodily feelings. But when he does, it’s like the end of the world. I have noticed lately that he’s starting to feel the effects of age. His elbow hurts all the time when he uses it a certain way too much. I have aches and pains all the time, but you don’t see me rubbing them, blathering on about them, and putting icepacks on before lifting something. His stomach can no longer handle him eating three week old leftovers either. The endless conversations about how he had lost his appetite the last time he did that were enough to make me take an Ambien-Vodka cocktail.

What my husband has absolutely no concept of still, though, is being compassionate towards other people’s pain. When I had a really bad asthma attack years ago he told me I was acting like a princess. I had back surgery when I was 13 years old and still have stainless steel rods screwed onto my spine. And he still doesn’t understand that I have limitations. One time we moved my husband actually insisted I help carry heavy boxes and furniture up a staircase. By myself while he was at work.

Cramps are a really good way to help him get the point that people have their limits. Usually when I have cramps they progressively get worse and worse and worse. There is never a let off until I either (a) take some Tylenol, or (b) pass out and sleep them off. It’s always been this way, but it was only recently that I realized I should be sharing with my husband the nuances of it all.

“Nick, I can’t make dinner tonight, will you pick something up? … oh, there are about a million men trying to push their way out of my uterus. It feels like World War II in there.”

Talking to Your Husband About Your Period

Stomach Upset

I remember when I was in health class in high school, they always acted like a period was no big deal. You just bleed for three days and that is the end of it. And for swimming class, they’d only give you the pass on it for three days too; then still make you do super-strenuous stuff as a replacement activity, in spite of how shitty you felt. Now I realize that this was just a part of the cultural male agenda to try and minimize the plight of women, but let’s not get socio-philosophical here.

To begin, I’ve never actually bled for only three days. Maybe just four or five, but never three. It isn’t just a little blood for those days though, either. It’s cramping. It’s hurting boobs. It’s headaches and anxiety. It’s mood swings. It’s insomnia. And it’s stomach upset.

All of those are normal for a woman to have on her period. Normal. But if you are my husband, you have no concept of what is normal for a woman, so it’s all crazy and unreasonable and it’s like being in high school with the health class and the swimming pass all over again.

So a few weeks ago my husband ate leftover Mexican food that was over two weeks old. We were laying in bed, watching some shitty movie, and he said he had a stomach ache. Then for about thirty minutes he tap danced around just telling me that he had the shits from eating old Mexican food. It was the most awkward conversation I think I have ever had.

To me, if you are married you are there to experience everything. Why be skiddish? We’re married. This is why I have absolutely no problem at all telling my husband every little thing that’s wrong with me when I’m on my period (really, ever). My boobs hurt. I have a migraine. My sinuses are drizzling gooey snot down the back of my throat. I could continue, but the real gems are when my stomach is upset.

“I just lost forty pounds in water weight, thanks to my glorious period and too much dairy. I think I’ll skip dinner and take some Imodium.”

Talking to Your Husband About Your Period

The Scent of a Woman

Let’s not beat around the bush (no pun intended): periods can smell a little weird. I don’t mean like fish weird (that’s gross). I mean like dead blood cells weird. I mean like feminine products weird. That’s why they make scented tampons and maxi pads.

I don’t usually use scented stuff, simply because I don’t see much of a point. If you are clean and take care of yourself, there really isn’t much of an issue. And it’s only about a week anyway. But sometimes in the box there is a free sample for whatever their newest product is, and nine times out of ten they have some new scent technology.

Last night I opened this box of sample scent technology maxi pads and opened the package to smell a waft of lemon scent fly at my nostrils. Weird, I know. I started laughing and my husband asked what was so funny, so I figured I would show him. By having him sniff the pad himself.

But he didn’t understand, so I explained. First I squatted so he had a visual aid. Then I explained it to him.

“Sometimes a woman’s vagina smells rotten during her period.”

He interrupted “you don’t smell rotten on your period.”

“Right, that’s because I bathe a lot. Some women do not, so their vag smells foul when Aunt Flo is in town. So Always has taken it upon themselves to add lemon scent to the mix in hopes that it will cover up whatever foulness the period has to offer.”

And then I illustrated with the movement of my hands how the smell wafts out.

Horrifying, I know.

So the only question that remains here is if this is effective. So far it seems not. Poor Nick is not more compassionate, or understanding. Now he just blames everything that goes wrong on my period. But I do feel that this is just retribution for being a misogynist.

I also think that women should not be so ashamed of these things. Why? Why be ashamed? It’s who we are. Cramp-wielding, hormone-fusing, foul-smelling blood baths. Embrace it, ladies.

My Menstrual Hut

Yes, I am going there faithful blog followers. If you are a man easily turned off by all things feminine, get over it – this isn’t about stuff like uteruses and tampon tips. And this most certainly is not a series of gripes about being a woman.

A few days ago I was perusing the Internet and somehow happened upon a site called The Menstrual Hut. It wasn’t a joke or  an Health and Wellness site either. No, no – it was a website where some women gave homage to their periods by posting photographs of their used tampons and maxi pads. Usually all you hear about are women complaining about their periods, though. Menstruation does seem pretty inefficient (for the most part at least); and it is a pain (literally and figuratively).

But despite the cramps and the headaches, and the occasional zits popping up in odd places, I love it. Not so much that I would post photographs of my used maxi pads anywhere; but definitely enough to make a list of reasons why I do.

Reason #1: Skinny Jeans

The minute my period begins, my body sheds water weight like gang busters. From then until the time I ovulate (roughly two weeks later), I am in the skinny jeans zone. Some of the nicest compliments I have gotten about the way I look have been when I am on the ol’ rag.

 Reason #2: An Excuse for being a Crazy B(itch)

I mean, I’m certifiably crazy most (read: all) days of the year, but on the 3 – 5 days that Aunt Flo is in town, I have an excuse. I also silently excuse others in assumption that they, too, are on the rag. “Oh, my friend just told me I’m an asshole … she must just be on her period – I’ll forgive her” or “oh, that other mother just gave me the stink eye before she started screaming at my kid … we’re going to just assume she’s feeling a little hormonal today and move along.” While I like to confront the world head on, sometimes it is a little less stressful to pick your battles and excuse the bitchiness.

 Reason #3: My Hormonal Changes Affect My Husband’s Hormonal Changes

You faithful blog followers all know that men go through a monthly hormonal change just like women do, right? And just like women closely confined bleed at the same time, men and women closely confined have monthly hormonal fluctuations along the same pattern as well. I know my husband is on his rag when he starts breaking out like a 15 year old, throwing little temper tantrums like a queen, and eating entire bricks of cheese in one sitting. Personally, I find it entertaining.

Reason #4: With Aunt Flo Goes Lots o’ Toxins

I just read a great article in Psychology Today about a female scientist that disappeared in the 90s after publishing some controversial papers, one of which was about menstruation being a good thing and birth control inhibiting the body ridding itself of toxins. I thought to myself – well duh, this is why I don’t take birth control, and it’s just another reason why I love my red flag.

So when the zit the size of Puerto Rico planted itself on my face this morning, I knew this was just junk getting flushed out of my system. Yay for Period Pimples!

 

Reason #5: A Biological Trick on my Husband

Every month when it gets close to period time, my husband starts fishing around to find out when I’ve gotten it. I don’t take birth control pills, so when I am stressed out or sick my period comes early or late. This month I got sick with food poisoning and then I was super stressed out with everything my Trailer Trash Mom was putting me through, so Aunt Flo’s flight came in a whopping week and a half late. For the last week or so, my husband has asked over and over if I’m pregnant, only on the sly:

Nick says: “Oh, you have cramps? PMS or something … … else ……..??”

Nick means: “Is there a baby growing inside you?”

Nick says: “How are your cramps doing this evening?”

Nick means: “Are you still pregnant? Because in my mind you are and the world is going to end because of it.”

The funniest part about this is that it appears that Poor Nick thinks his sperm can be implanted in my uterus simply by looking at me contemptuously from across the dinner table. You may be magical, darling; but not that magical.

See, now – was that so bad? Five reasons why I love my period; and there are plenty more why I’m sure you secretly love yours.