Bucking the Trend
(Men, be warned. This is strictly a Girl Talk post. If you disregard this warning and continue to read and become embarrassed, don’t blame me. I warned you.)
I’ve never been much into current fashion (except, I confess, for a brief bout of silliness during my teenage years). When I was in elementary and middle school, my teachers—products of the 1960s almost to a man and woman—taught us to question what we were told. Part of that involved learning about the techniques that advertisers used to influence potential customers. We spent several weeks bringing in advertisements from magazines and analyzing them in class, and dissecting popular ads on the radio and on TV. We learned how to use grownup terms like “subliminal advertising” and “snob appeal.” It was fascinating stuff, and I enjoyed it.
But it was more than fun, more than the excitement of kids about to enter adolescence feeling like they were being initiated into the secrets of Madison Avenue. It was valuable teaching. I learned to look beyond the slogans, photos and trends and choose products that I liked, not what someone else was being paid a lot of money to tell me I ought to like. Some years ago, when a saleslady at my eye doctor’s office tried to sell me an expensive pair of frames on the grounds that they were the latest style, I told her: “That’s not how to sell me frames. You have to tell me that they’re pretty, practical and will last me for years, not that they’re trendy.”
Which brings me to the point of this post. Guys, if any of you are still here, I warn you once again: you probably want to stop reading now.
I’ve tried, and used, much of what’s been available in feminine hygiene over the past thirty years. (Good Lord. Thirty years. Now I really feel old!) When I was still fairly young, I settled on applicator-less tampons, feeling that they were the most convenient option. In my view, they were better for the environment because they generated the least amount of trash. For the same reason, they were also more modest, since I had less trash to worry about disposing of discreetly.
And then I found these... and I haven’t looked back since.
I won’t go into detail about how to use and care for them here. There’s plenty of information about that on the Internet (see the Wikipedia article and the individual sites that sell them). I will say that they’re the best option I’ve ever found and that I wish I’d known about them when I was much younger. When I think of all the money I could have saved and all the hassle I could have avoided... well, done is done.
Going the reusable route also gave me a practical use for my sewing hobby. I made my own reusable cloth pads according to a pattern that I downloaded from the Internet. There are dozens, probably hundreds, of good patterns out there. I simply chose the one that I liked best, bought some inexpensive cotton fabric at a local fabric store, took out my machine and went to work.
Since then, I haven’t had to spend one red cent on monthly supplies. The cup does most of the work, the cloth pads are there for extra insurance, and all is well. There’s also the comfort factor, which is pretty important in a hot climate. True, sometimes it happens that the pads don’t look as fresh and new as they did the moment I lifted them off the sewing machine and snipped the thread. So I have to spend a bit more time washing them—big deal! They need to be washed anyway. When they get worn out from years of washing, I take out my bag of cloth scraps and make new ones.
Some years ago, a well-known feminine hygiene company adopted the slogan “It’s all about you.” Every time I see one of the company’s trucks with that slogan on it—yes, we do see them here, with the slogan in English—I can’t resist a smile. Yes, I think to myself, it is all about me... because I get to use products that are safe, comfortable and reusable, and that paid for themselves long ago. My money’s not going to this firm’s advertising execs. As far as this part of my budget is concerned, my money is staying right where I want it: in my wallet.