I think periods are hilarious. Honestly! Like anything both a) common and b) mildly unpleasant, it is a topic ripe for comedy. It’s a long vein of lolz-rich coal that has scarce been mined by anyone. I don’t see anything particularly squick- worthy about periods, tbh. I’m too busy dealing with the bleeding, the hormonal imbalance and the cramps to really reflect on their objective ickyness. To me and to other women, they’re just something to get on with. Ladies, we don’t have the luxury of being grossed out by own bodies and WHY SHOULD WE? Periods are a badge of HONOUR. We should be sharing our horror around. Some of the nicest moments I have had in life are those ones of solidarity when you ask a friend does she have a sanitary towel you could use. It’s just a fact of life.
The most amusing menstruation related story of recent weeks was the saga of the mooncup. Mooncup (pictured above) is a sanitary product I’d heard of before; it’s like a tampon but without the frankly horrific risks side effects of tampons and reusable- eco friendly! Woo! When I was at a protest recently, my friend handed me a candle, held in a makeshift shade crafted from a folded pamphlet. I did manage to read quite a bit about mooncups on this pamphlet before it got all covered in wax. It turned out the pamphlet had been Emily’s.
Emily, I had heard, was the mooncup guru. She is big up the mooncup. I was fascinated. I am always on the lookout for ways to make my monthly roller coaster through biology a bit of a smoother jaunt. The weirdest thing I find with periods is how reluctant women are talking about them, even with close friends. There’s a strange denial going on there, a kind of taboo wall we’re not happy punching down (preferably while shouting ‘TAKE THAT, INSECURITY’). At my dear friend’s 21st, the subject of conversation, over a bottle of very nice wine moved in the direction of aforementioned taboo period wall, and thus on to mooncups. At first mention Emily dove into her bag to find me a leaflet but had none. I am endlessly happy that Emily regularly has a stock of mooncup leaflets. And so as more and more of the women present at the party gathered, so began what I can only describe as
The Mooncup circle
All the present girls gathered in a circle around Emily, who for maximum effect was now seated on a chair, in the manner the pope might perch on his throne while preaching to his homies, and regaled us all with the wonders of the mooncup. It doesn’t leak. It lasts five years. It’s reusable. It’s never been connected to a case of toxic shock syndrome. You just clean it out when you need to change it. YOU CAN SWIM with it in. Made of medical grade silicon- MEDICAL GRADE SILICON. It was too good to be true. Everything about it was so good. There was only one little girlish doubt in me.
‘Emily-‘ I begin, in a remarkably prim version of my normal voice. ‘What do you do if you’re ah.. in a public bathroom changing it? Like, you can’t go out to the sink.’
‘Well-‘ Emily in my memory says the following with the practiced wisdom of a guru -‘You can clean it out with toilet paper, or bring in some wet wipes. Or you can just leave it in for twelve hours, of course.’
There is a collective gasp from the mooncup circle. Twelve hours?! It reverberates around the circle and beyond, into the rest of the party. Twelve hours… I feel faint. I have to go out onto the balcony and gulp in icy air until I feel normal again. TWELVE HOURS. That’s like… TWELVE HOURS. Of not worrying about ANYTHING! You just… Twelve hours! I have to embrace Emily for imparting this knowledge to me.
The mooncup circle disbanded after this little bombshell- that there exists in the world a reusable, eco friendly, bleach and TSS free sanitary product. I think the awed reaction of ‘TWELVE HOURS?!’ can be understood by any woman who has had what my mother refers to as ‘a little emergency’ on a long bus ride with no bathroom facilities while on her red letter week.
Niamh I would like a mooncup for Christmas, yes’ Keoghan