Guy’s… I tried the Menstrual Cup

The Tesla of Feminine Hygiene Products

I’m sure, like me, you have read a lot on the Menstrual Cup. It’s the first major, revolutionary product in Feminine hygiene products in about 100 years.

Men – I assume a lot of you are reading this and definitely didn’t scream girlishly when you saw the word ‘MENSTRUAL’ and throw away your internet device just in case it came through the screen like the girl off the ring. This will be a period chat. Do what you will with that.

Men, or those of you that are new to the female web – the Menstrual Cup is a little cup made of medical grade silicone, BPA free (whatever the fuck BPA is), that sits inside a vagina and essentially catches all the blood that is attempting to be menstruated.

AneerBrand

I won’t go into the whole religious and cultural beliefs about periods – but take my word that it has been, and still is, an uphill battle – with very little progress being made on the design front.

Tampons really only hit consumer shelves in the 20’s. By the 40’s, only 25% of the population used them. In the 60’s they thought of putting a string on them. In the 80’s they realised they were giving women TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), with 800 reported cases, and 38 of which that were fatal. In the 2000’s, 80% of women use them. The average woman will use about 16,000 in her lifetime.

I don’t know if that little scope of data has clarified the flaws, but essentially – they are slow to evolve, not great on the environment and that small risk of actual death.

Mostly, having a period is fucking annoying.

Then along came the Menstrual cup. And boy did it sounds like a dream come true.

You can re-use a cup for several years

Yay for the planet, yay for not spending money on such luxury goods, yay for not having to worry about stocking up tampons in the place of canned goods in a zombie apocalypse

No connection to TSS

Not dying is also great.

It holds a lot and it doesn’t leak.period

You can leave it in all day, you can leave it in when you sleep. You don’t have to do the ‘Pant Check’ when you brunch with the girls. YES WE ALL DO IT. Sister solidarity.

So many of my friends have been wanting to try it, so I took the plunge (pun intended) and did it for us.

DAY 1:

I read the little instructions that came with the cup. Read it three times out of fear that I would misunderstand. Read it in a Scottish accent for fun. BF catches me and says

“What are you doing.” I respond by putting on my most noble of faces and raising my fist in the air. (Still in Scottish accent that started to turn Irish at the end.)

“Taking one giant step forth for women-kind. For I, will sacrifice my bod-“

“Yep – period stuff, got it.”

So I go into the bathroom to try out this bad boy. I squat down on the floor, fold the little cup and insert. The directions say you can pretty much fold it anyway, but I fold it in half. It magically sorts itself into position inside me. Like one of those pop-up tents.

I read a lot of people say that it’s uncomfortable and takes a while to get used to – but I actually think it’s more comfortable than a tampon. I can’t feel anything. I do some practice lunges, star jumps and coughs to make sure nothing is moving. Can you imagine that falling out?

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It’s all good. I do a victory lap around the bedroom. BF is definitely impressed but trying not to show it.

“You know what,” I say, “I should probably make sure I can get it out before I do another victory dance.”

I go back into the bathroom. Assume squat position (deep squat, all the way on the floor) and I can’t get the fucker out.

The instructions say to pinch the bottom with your forefinger and thumb to break the seal at the base (it sort of works like a suction cup) but this does sweet FA. I try wriggling it, I try pulling on the tiny little toggle at the end, I try getting my finger all the way up to scoop it out. But suddenly my fingers are short and stumpy – and also sharp AF because I just had my nails done.

I was panicking, but saying out loud – “just don’t panic.” I panicked some more.

I walked out of the bathroom to survey BF who is watching a movie.

“How did you go sweetie”, he asks.

“Not excellent, I might just give it another hour and try again. Or you know… Outsource.”

He stares at me blankly. 

“Outsource?”

I stare at him until he realises I mean him. Then we laugh and laugh.

I lock the door.

No-no, I’m kidding, we aren’t there yet. That’s like a 6-month relationship step. But I tried another three times that night. The last time I try he actually says;

“Okay, what do I need to do.” He looks a little pale.

The thing is, breaking the seal just didn’t work for me, it was too far up to hook my finger around, and there is just no gripping. The more I tried to pinch the end, the more it would slide further in. Then I’d have to calm down and push it to closer to the exit again. You know what I mean push it out? Pelvic floor. I read so many things on the internet of how the others did it and none of it would work!

I decided it was more of a future-Amy problem and I should just sleep on it. Which I could totally do because you can sleep with it in – no leaking. I really wanted to love this product.

Day 2:

I get up an extra half an hour early for work for this expedition. I jump in the shower. Squat. Take a deep fucking breath and try to be Zen. I’ve actually managed to strain one of my fingers the day before trying to get the mofo out so I decided to use my left hand.

neorealismIt took about ten minutes. I scooped it out sideways, sliding it along the left-hand side of the walls. Jackson-Pollocking the shower walls as I did so. It holds a lot of blood.

 

I was ridiculously proud and had the grandest sense of achievement I’ve ever felt in my life. Still riding on this high, I washed it out and put it straight back in. I was determined to master this process.

I didn’t take it out once that day, which for me is just….so great. I work in an all-male office, so I can be a bit self-conscious that I spend double the amount of time in the bathroom as them.  But damn this cup, it was amazing. I left it in there all day, I didn’t check on it, I let it be. And it was fine. I have actually never felt so care-free about it in my life.

Then I get home and do the struggle again. It takes another three 15 minute expeditions. Again, the only thing that works for me, hot shower, deep squat, left hand, slide it out sideways, paint the roses red. And by roses I mean, paint, wall-to-wall, the most horrific mural seen outside of a horror movie.

The rest of the week:

I did it for seven days. I couldn’t seem to change my success method, but I did stop painting the walls. It was a menace to get out every time. I kept thinking I was getting to accidentally come across an easier way to get it out. Alas, not this month.

Though for all the panic, the annoyance, the strained fingers, the sheer artistry and new flexibility – it was totally worth it. Put it like this, I had to struggle twice a day. In the safety of my own shower. It saved me so much hassle during the day and while I slept. I figure I’ll get better next month.

TLTR Version: Hard to get out. Don’t panic. Sassy comments. Totally worth it.

Here is the one I used – well not the actual one, that would be weird. But here’s the brand

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Do you want to be right or do you want a solution?

I’ll probably consider renaming my blog ‘Something stupid I observed today’ as generally that is what inspires me and I feel as though I’ll have a magic-puddings worth of content.

***

Within the sphere of my working life, I talk to people when they’ve got a problem. I know times are good for my clients when I haven’t got a phone call in a week.

I read once (somewhere probably not scholarly) that people are six times as likely to tell you about something bad than about something good. Maybe it’s off the back end of being taught not to brag as a child. Maybe we are complaining to build rapport. I definitely make faster friendships over a ‘common enemy’ than a ‘common friend’.

We’re all surrounded by terrible drivers, in terrible weather, with neighbours that decided to mow the lawn at the crack of an inconvenient time. It’s a wonder we know how to smile at all!

Whatever the psychological reasoning, in all the roles I’ve practiced, in all industries I’ve endured, people will only call me when they’ve got a problem. You may notice at this point that I didn’t specifically say ‘with a problem they want me to fix’.

That’s because they don’t necessarily want it fixed.

Not really.

They sortof… Just… Want a friend.

I think it would a sound investment to have an automated response on my phone.

“You’ve reached Amy’s phone and I’m delighted to take your complaint today. Listen to the following selections carefully:

Press one if you would like a solution.

Press two if you need to vent.

Press three if its three thirty and you’ve wasted your day and you want to put off acknowledging it.”

I’m totally fine with it – though I wish we could call it what it was. How many times have you heard the phrase: ‘It’s just business’. That’s what people say when they want to be judged for their logic only and not the potentially emotionally deplorable, shady AF thing they’ve just had a part in. It’s just business. The unfortunate thing about business logic is that it comes out of the mouths of humans. The most illogical of creatures. So I take the ‘It’s just business’ with a grain of salt – because no one in business does business with purely business methods. Yep. I’m calling you all liars.

Allow me to give you an example. I had a client call me this year complaining to me about the quality of leads I provided him.

“The leads aren’t good. They’re all tyre kickers

TYRE KICKERS: this phrase stems from potential car buyers who kick the tyres to determine the working functionality of the car, but never end up buying.

When people say this to me, they mean: “they are time wasters”. What I see, much like literal tyre kickers of yore, is that: you have a potential customer in front of you – who definitely wants to buy a car –  but for some reason or another, your car is not up to scratch, OR, your sales skills are not up to scratch.

Awkward.

But is it just business if I say to them, “yeah I know when I’ve got some time to waste I go prank business owners. I definitely wouldn’t rather be watching Netflix and eating chicken wings – no I get my jollies kicking tyres.”

Just business though.

I later found out this particular client getting the tyre-kickers hadn’t called any of the leads, hadn’t even so much as looked at them. However he had just had his business development skills scornfully discredited by a colleague and it HURT HIS FEELIGS. Imagine that. Someone in business – a human wearing a business suit, hurt? Time to dial three and talk about how it’s already three thirty and you’ve wasted your day, your month, or even your year – aaaaand queue to break into song: I’ll be there for youuuuu!

The truth is, behind every venting monologue there is always something going on in the background that I don’t know about. Maybe a big deal just fell through, maybe they’ve found out the only have three years to live, maybe their kid just came home with a grade five algebraic homework question they couldn’t answer and now they are questioning their intelligence. I don’t know. Whatever the real problem is – I’m not going to find out. I’ll just hear about the cherry on top of the mountain of nonsense they’ve put up with that week.

And what the heck? – it’s just a cherry. Let’s chat it out.

Nine times out of ten by the time we get off the phone the weight is off their shoulders and quantifiably, nothing has changed. They just needed to vent

As some clever lady in my office says: “A problem shared is a problem halved”.

 

It’s me. The clever lady in my office is me.

How to survive a breakup in 2016

If there is one thing I have learned in the first few weeks of singledom, it is that the standard ‘how to survive a breakup’ tips and tricks, just don’t fucking cut it anymore. You just cannot escape like the people in the 60’s who probably wrote the book on breakups. The world is shrinking and as a result, everything and everyone is a little bit closer. Like you, reader. I have likely never met you and look at me sitting on your lap or in your hand. Travel is easy, communication is immediate, and alcohol is expensive.

Short of sitting in your room facing the corner and slowly starving to death, you really can’t avoid the world until the end of your days. So time to re-write the book, Pride and Prejudice with Zombies style. How to Survive a breakup with Zombies.

Toss your dignity out the window.

Let’s be honest, you probably lost it in the mish-mash of breakup fights, dropping the washing machine on your toe during moving out, or accidentally losing their set of house keys down an elevator shaft.  So while your fresh out of dignity go do all the things you need to. Cry, eat, cry, eat, cry. Do all the things that irritated them in one night. Comment on the economic damage in super hero films, rearrange the fridge so that the cheese and ham are in the same compartment, light the smelly candle they hate. Eat Krispy Kreme’s for dinner and KFC potato and gravy for dessert. Do it on your own if you can so you don’t have so far to climb when you decide it is time to regain a little.

Cut

Not your wrists, and not their brakes. Where possible, delete them off Facebook and Instagram, delete their mother, delete their friends, and delete their favourite TV show off your hard drive. Unless it was your favourite first. You aren’t going to be able to delete them out of your life but give yourself the best chance at not being unpleasantly surprised by hourly reminders of stupid thing they liked and being tagged on Facebook, out having the time of their lives probably. You can claim everything back when you have your shit together again.

Spend a lot of time with your friends.

Separately. Friends who want to talk about it, friends who want to drink, friends who want to go to Ikea. Then put them on a rotation so you don’t irritate them with your depression. Because let’s face it – it’s going to last longer than you would like and everyone has a sympathy expiry date.

Develop an Obsession.

Because when you go home and there is a long empty night with you and your thoughts, you’re going to have a bad time. So get obsessed with something that you can’t wait to get back to when you’re at work. Something that’s going to keep you up till 3am when you have work at 9. Great if it’s exercise, realistic if it is TV shows, bad if it’s hard drugs.

Locate tossed dignity from outside the window

And depending on how liberally you took the first tip, this one may take a while.  You get on with your life. Maybe you exercise, maybe you just get a fake tan so you look skinnier. Set some goals and actually start them. If it helps, you can start to spite your ex, though you will only reach them if you do it for yourself.

 

I’ll let you know if it works.

The five stages of putting on a sports bra

Sometimes the hardest thing you will do all day is get dressed. If you are putting on a sports bra it is definitely the hardest thing you will do all day. I’m not talking about the soft little boob-hammocks you wear when you are long past impressing the boyfriend/girlfriend/neighbour kids. I’m talking about the ones that you wear when you have the intention of doing a far-out hardcore session of the big E. Ecstasy. Exercise

Stage 1: Denial

Yes it starts off the same way as the stages of grief. The blissful ignorance, or perhaps absolute subconscious refusal to accept the task that lies before you. The workout before the workout, the beginning of the end. 

A sports bra looks the same as any small top. Usually brightly coloured, seemingly flexible, and a noticeable lack of fangs. You, my friend, have reached stage one. Now slip that bad boy over your head.

Stage 2: Feeling trapped

By ‘slip’ did you mean wrestle my suddenly large head into what feels like an armband? Why did this look bigger from the outside? Where is the elastic stretch that was promised? You wriggle your giant head through the point of light at the end of a tunnel looking for an end to this limbo, but alas it is just the other side of the sports bra. 

Full of broken dreams you break through, arms windmilling madly. You wind up with a suffocating necklace. Your arms sticking awkwardly out the top like some humanoid pot plant. One boob at a time you detach your various body parts like snake would unhinge its jaw to swallow a warthog. Resist the urge to call for help or cry. You can do this. You summon up your last vestige of strength and pull it all down and wallah! It is on! You think this is the end but no. There are five stages. You’re not even halfway done.

Stage 3: Acclimatising 

The air feels thin in here, you are feeling slightly lightheaded, maybe you ought to sit down? You are panting and feeling tired. Imagine, if this is getting dressed, what will the real exercise be like? 

Everything I just described is actually a symptom of acute mountain sickness. Much like the mountain climbers in the Himalayas you are now attempting to live off a 30% (not an actual figure) oxygen intake. In fact if you google “how to train to climb a mountain” the first answer is just a link to Lorna Janes online shopping website.

Panting and clutching at the sink you wait to recover.

Stage 4: Examination

Once you have recovered your sight you will then start to study this new you. A you who likes to exercise and wear the equivalent of Chinese foot bindings on your boobs. Look how fit you are and how tanned that bright yellow top makes you look and – the fuck is that? Am I growing a second arm? Is my back pregnant? No. That is every ounce of fat you have squeezed out because this sports bra is at capacity. Sit back down caterpillar. You are not the beautiful butterfly you imagined. Wrap up and wait another six months. 

Stage 5: Acceptance

Because you know no matter how bad you feel now, what is coming is ten times worse. Priorities, am I right? Sigh and thank god there is another layer to this outfit.

The Bitchy Resting Face Phenomenon

Just before I start – this well researched and passive article has a sexism angle so if it upsets you to read about women being prejudiced against, I suggest you go read something else. Like the label on a protein bar.

***

Everyone has heard of the phenomenon known as ‘bitchy resting face’. I bet most of you know someone who has it, or perhaps you are peacefully reading my article with unintentional disgust because that’s just how your face is. I bet once a day someone will say one of the following:

What’s wrong?

Did you have a bad day at work?

Or the absolute worst….

Cheer up! Smile!

FIRST OF ALL. If you weren’t having a bad time, you are now. Some idiot has carelessly, indirectly told you that you look unhappy. Unhappy enough to warrant a comment from a stranger. Who’s the real bitch here? I don’t know how it is socially unacceptable to walk up to someone and tell them they’re ugly, but totally acceptable to walk up to them and inform that the expression on the ‘at peace’ face was making them uncomfortable enough to come up to you and ask you to change it.  I may look like a bitch however you are an actual bitch, to be perfectly candid.

Side note: I actually don’t suffer from bitchy resting face. I suffer from friendly resting face, which is a million times worse. Because while I look approachable. I really don’t want people approaching me. I would actually prefer fear to love. (I would make such a great villain).

I am writing this to every idiot who has gone up to a complete stranger and asked them to smile. You are especially worse if you said it to a girl behind the bar. I have literally heard someone say, “I’m only going to tip you if I see you smiling.” You sir. Are a dick.  Do I come to your office and shove my face in front of what is probably a stupid-drunk excel spreadsheet and say “why aren’t you smiling?” Yeah now it seems foolish. The day I walk around with a plastic-fantastic grin on my face, is that day you should actually make for the hills, because I’m about to go on a mass murder spree.  I’ll smile when I’m happy and not a moment before.

SECONDLY. Why is it that only females get this? Why do brooding males not get idiots asking them to smile? In fact, why do males get ‘brooding’ while females get ‘bitchy’? I’m sure this is present in nearly every workplace. The man gets the not-to-be-fucked-with, and the woman gets I’m-a-giant-bitch-and-therefore-unreasonable. Maybe next time you see a guy getting all frowny you should inform him he looks like a bit of a bitch, and maybe a smile wouldn’t hurt anyone. Let’s see how he reacts. Let’s see if he doesn’t reach a hand out and crush the nearest butterfly with absolute rage. God I could really use a butterfly right now.

Lucky I’ve read enough

So far in 2015 I have read a total number of 28 books. Thank god this week’s Top Ten Tuesday By the Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten books I’ve read so far in 2015, was this year and not any other year before when I would have only read 10 books so far. Seriously how do serious readers get anything done?

So here is the top ten books I’ve read this year that you should all get on board with if you haven’t already.

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bonedaughter of smoke and bone

If ever there was a book as well deserving on the number one spot it is this. Northern Lights meets

This book catapulted up my list of favourite books of all time within the first few chapters. Excellently written, intrigue for day, and characters of absolute greatness. Please oh please never be made into a movie. However I lved the whole series – which is three books. Therefore 1-3 of this list is taken up by Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Hey it’s not like I have a big list to play with here.

  1. Night CircusNight Circus

It’s like someone captured Tim Burton and put him in literature. The imagery and mystery in the book was so beautifully uncanny that I had to revaluate my life. I didn’t know who I was until I read this book. Now I still don’t but I have a weird obsession with monochrome.

  1. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets came highly recommended on WordPress. So I was meaning to get around to it for a while. It’s really rare to come across a period piece set in the 50’s (weird year), but holy shit am I glad they did. Drama and class come to a head.

  1. Wintergirlswintergirls

You only have to read this book to understand the meaning of an unreliable narrator. Laurie Halse Anderson wrote from the perspective of a girl with anorexia, and did an impressive job of insight. Give the lady an award. And a burger.

  1. Fangirl

Fangirl was a delicious insight into the mind of a girl who most readers can relate to. A girl who wouldfangirl (2) rather live inside a good book. It was spectacularly told, and I was excited for her imaginary success the whole time. I almost wish the story was real just so I could follow her blog purely out of readerly support.

  1. Masquerade

Masquerade caught me a bit by surprise. I read most of it with a ‘feel-good’ mood that cute little stories often provide. Then Bam. Shock ending that confuses everyone and leaves all the strings loose. Just rude. But still a great story.

  1. The Bone seasonthe bone season

The Bone Season was a particularly epic science fiction that I didn’t think I was going to get into. I don’t know why but I always feel that way about books that are given to me for free. I really ought to know better.  I read the Bone season, and the sequel ‘The Mime Order’ in quick succession and I probably won’t get to read the next one until I’m old enough to have forgotten what the first two were about. First world problems.

  1. The Ruby Circle

It was a sign from the heavens when Ruby circle came out on my birthday. To misquote Phil Dunphy, It’s like God and [Richelle Mead] got together to say, “we love you [Amy]”.  I mean  it all ended a little too rosily, but at least no one died. You hear that Rowling?! She would have kept Fred!

Now I’m going to have a stalk through all of your TTT’s to get the list of books I’ll read for the next half of the year. Any suggestions?

6 Rebuttals of Insanity, OR, Why I am Not Going Crazy

When you work in an office, there are some things that people will say on a daily basis that sounds a little crazy.

How was your weekend?  I went to the – oh you’re not listening are you? Alright just tell me about yours.

Is that a new jacket? I wore this yesterday.

Ooooh pasta again? A moment on the lips forever on the hips.  Shut up Karen, go ‘enjoy’ your salad.

Then there’s what I call: The 3:30 snide remark. For me that remark is “Are you talking to yourself again?” <Insert some cliché about going crazy>. And maybe I am. Every time I walk into the office I feel like its groundhog day. That’s the one where he gets caught in a time loop right? Repeating the exact same day over and over. And no one else but you seems to be aware of it. My response is usually: “Ha ha ha, I am!”  (muttering quietly) “I’ll kill you one day.” I don’t know why most people insist on getting their medical knowledge of psychopathic’s from 1950’s stereotypes.  So maybe I do odd things at 3:30pm. Maybe there’s a reason. Maybe…there are 6 reasons.

1.Talking to yourself is the first sign you’re going crazy

Rebuttal: Talking to yourself is the first sign that you need an expert opinion but are surrounded by idiots people whom are not experts.

  1. Hearing Things

Rebuttal: Different from hearing voices because sometimes you hear people calling your name, or the phone ringing, or someone saying: “is that a new jacket”. Guess what it’s called an echo. A mental echo.

Side note: a mental echo is something I definitely made up, I have no actual knowledge of psychology.

  1. Staring into middle space

You know how in movies people pick up photographs of their family and descend into flashbacks? That doesn’t happen in real life. In real life if we want to think deeply about something, we don’t have to stare at anything and we can think. And do you know how hard it is to stare at nothing? It’s literally the space in between you and the thing that is away from you. It actually a talent so maybe you should be encouraging it.

  1. Deja Vu

You know what. I’m not telling you I’m experiencing Déjà vu because I am experiencing Déjà vu. I’m experiencing the same story or bullshit assignment that I received yesterday or last week, or sometime between the time we met and now. I am being passive aggressive. I’m holding back from aggressive aggressive.

  1. You can’t remember where you left things

I’m sorry, is it tied to my wrist!? Then chances are I can’t be 100% sure where it is. But I have a mental list of the top three places it will be. How about you go find your own stapler. Or the one you probably stole from my top drawer, or the shelf near the kettle, or the filing cabinet where I just was.

  1. Temporarily forgetting your name

*ring ring*

*pick up*

“Welcome to Worky-work-work, this is… Um. This is. Just give me a sec.” It happens to the best of us. And by the best of us – I mean me. God help me when 3:30pm comes around, I space. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know who I am. You should consider yourself lucky that I remembered what the ringing sound meant. I’m as good as a trained monkey at this point. Why don’t you just call back tomorrow at 10am when I’m coffee-refreshed, or maybe at 5:30pm when I’ll watch the phone ring for a bit, before leaving the office skipping gaily.

Also, while doing some research, my room mate, Angostura (code name obvs) pointed out this article to me. Good for a read.