Menstrual Cup

So, I’m sitting here wearing a menstrual cup.

Guys, you might want to grab some nachos and go watch the game or whatever it is you do, this one isn’t for you.

I only tried a menstrual cup once in my life and it was not a good experience. In fact, it was downright traumatizing. I got the disposable kind, now, this was a long time ago so I’m hoping I get all the details straight, I think I saw the bastards that burned me in the drugstore beside the Diva Cup I wound up choosing. Ooh, I just coughed… nothing. The cup didn’t move or try to shoot out or anything. We’re good.

Anyways, I followed the directions for the cup, this is the one I tried many moons ago, and then carried on living my life, as one usually does when one is menstruating. There was a lot I loved about it, or rather, the idea of it. Not spending days on end sitting in a blood-soaked pad was the most exciting prospect of the experience. I mean, honestly, they can put a man on the moon, but us womenfolk have to spend a week out of every month, stewing in our own blood! Not that stewing in somebody else’s would make it any better, but still. It just seems so archaic. Aren’t we beyond this? We have satellites for pity sake! Google maps! 3D Printing!

Things went well for a few hours with what I will dub, the disposable cup of horror, and then I did something. I don’t remember exactly what I did because it was so prosaic. I changed positions. It might have been from sitting to standing, or standing to laying down, something like that. What I do remember is the aftermath. The entire contents of the cup dumped out in one fell swoosh, not a typo, it was a monstrous swoosh. I’ve blocked out much of the memory, and thank God this was during the infancy of camera phones, but I can recall my mortified dash for the bathroom, the resulting mess everywhere, and me, angrily hurling the rest of the cups in the trash.

I had followed the directions. Everyone who knows me knows I always follow the directions. Whether I’ve just bought a new car or a toaster my first priority is always to read the directions, cover to cover, then examine my purchase, instructions in hand, to ensure I’m familiar with the operation of my new acquisition. It might legitimately be some form of OCD I have, but that never changes. Besides, if that’s the learning curve or the price you pay for failure, then count me out. I’m usually a pretty quick-study, but I sure left my share of blood on the floor that day.

For a long time I forgot about that bloody awful experience (Pun intended, with prejudice). But I’ve been hearing more and more about these cups, more women are trying them, and many are swearing by them. I, for the reasons described above, have been wary. Every time I hear about the cup, I am reminded of my traumatic experience on that fateful day, and I cringe, ever so slightly. Yet, here I am, with my cup. So far, so good.

I got the Diva Cup, size two since I’m over thirty and have a child, and it was on sale for three dollars off. If you are under thirty and you have no kids, then you go with size one. Getting it in was a little weird – I will spare the gory details of that, but afterwards I did clean myself up around the outer area and I’m wearing a pantyliner, which of course will be useless in the face of a tsunami like the one I suffered the last time, but will suffice in the event that this works out.

I unbox the Cup, and before I even remove it, I take out, of course, my directions, and examine the little cotton storage pouch that is included. It is patterned in pink flowers with red centres. Yes, I’m on my period. I get it. Cute. Back to the directions. The Diva Cup is sold beside it’s own special wash, which is also a face and body wash? Something like that. I didn’t buy it because it seemed like a gimmicky add-on, but the directions say it’s best to wash it with unscented, non oil-based soap. Hmm, I make soap. Isn’t all soap oil-based? The very term ‘soap’ denotes the process by which oils, in conjunction with sodium hydroxide, are saponified in order to form the sudsy substance. But I digress. Long story short, maybe I should have gotten the special wash. Next time I’m in the drugstore I will take a closer look at it. But for now, I’m stuck with my regular hand wash, which happens to be antibacterial, which is instructed against. Oh well. If using the wrong kind of soap causes the elevator scene in The Shining to happen between my legs, then just damn it all to hell.

I need to wash my hands before I wash the cup so where does the cup go while I’m doing this? Not on the counter, smeared with my son’s toothpaste stains and lord knows what else he does to the surfaces when he locks himself in there, I mean, he’s four, not fourteen, but still. Boys are boys at any age. Messy. So I hold the cup gently between my lips. The ones on my face, you sicko! Already this is kind of awkward, but I manage to wash my hands and then the cup and next time I go to remove it, my hands will be washed while the cup is still safely tucked away, yes, between my other lips, enjoy the visual. Savour it. I don’t mind.

It’s too soon to tell whether I am going to come to sorely regret this decision. What I can say is that it feels a little different this time. This cup is sturdy, built to last, replace annually, the directions suggest, and it’s shaped differently. The other one was shaped like a flimsy diaphragm, and only slightly thicker than a condom, it was meant to be used for a day, I think, then tossed out. This one can be worn for twelve hours and holds half the contents of an entire average period. That sounds promising. I don’t intend to keep it in for twelve hours unless I’m sleeping, but it’s good to know. The other ‘cup’ needed to be fished out and dumped as often as you would change an ordinary tampon, if I remember correctly. I only had it in for a few hours before my ‘accident’ so I never got to really give it a fair go. Maybe it does work for others. I just don’t think it’s worth the humiliation of finding out the hard way that it doesn’t.

It’s the weekend and I’ll be home for the rest of today and most of tommorrow. Not sure if I’m going to risk wearing this thing out of the house yet, but if all is going well and I don’t wake up in the morning looking like I went on a killing spree in my sleep, then maybe I will take the chance. Wish me luck!

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