Warning: If you are a female who is past child-bearing age, or at all squeamish, you might want to stop reading right now. If you’re a male, you definitely want to stop reading. Seriously, this post is not for you. Go over here and get a few chuckles, and then enjoy the rest of the internet. (Editor’s note: “doghousediaries.com” is NOT the same thing as “thedoghousediaries.com.” Too. much. cute.) Except for this post. It is not for you. I’m not kidding. If you continue, you’ll be very grossed out and ticked off, and I will not entertain your angry comments or emails asking me what I was thinking concocting such a post.

Just to clear up the adjective modification of this post’s title, the “revolutionary” refers to the product, not to my review.

Lest you believe I am overstating, may we take a stroll down a shady path I like to call Memory Lane?

Basically, throughout history, women have used some kind of padding or sponge to collect their cyclic evacuations. You may recall a story from the Old Testament in which Jacob (of the Jacob/Esau brotherhood) was returning to his estranged family with his new wife, Rebecca, who had stolen her father’s house gods. This was a big deal, and Daddy had tracked them down to reclaim what was rightfully his. Rebecca, lady genius that she was, placed the trinkets underneath a blanket and sat on them. When Dad came to ransack the room, she declared with feminine deception that she couldn’t get up because she was having her monthlies.

Well, women can’t just sit down three (if you’re my sister) to twelve (if you’re me) days out of thirty-ish, so someone wisely invented a belt device to hold the pad snug up against the offending orifice. Additionally, women have been using variants of tampons pretty much forever. Then there were adhesive pads that stick to the between-leg parts of the underpants, unless you’re wearing snug jeans, in which case the pad will migrate throughout a day of walking the halls in high school, and by the end of the day, you’ll have some flattering duck-wing action going on at either your slight left or slight right (depending on your footedness) cheek.

The downfall of pads is manifold:
1) They move around. At night, gravity and your unconscious flailings conspire against tidiness. During P.E., the constant movement threatens a complete dislodging and perhaps even a loss of adhesion. With those athletic shorts, what’s to keep it from just falling out? (My heart races at the very thought of this, some 22 years beyond high school, and 20 years beyond pad usage.)
2) They are bulky. Even the “thin” ones are bulky. You have to be aware that they’re there. Walking around with the equivalent of a carry-along tissue pack in your ‘twixt leg britches area is just not natural.
3) You can’t swim. Or do gymnastics. Or engage in any activity that calls for anything less than sweat pants or overalls.
4) If the adhesive is really good, you can get it stuck to YOU, and when this happens, especially in the middle of the day (after the aforementioned shifting and whatnot) it can be tricky finding a time or place to readjust. Or the adhesive can stick to itself, folding over, and creating twice the bulk. Fun!
5) Gross warning, okay? I’m telling you… skip it if you need to. This is going to be way too much information, but I’m trying to make a point. Remember my 12-day thing? Yeah. It should go without saying that I apparently get rid of a LOT of excess material. And, frankly, having to look at that, not to mention other senses at play… It’s. Just. Nasty.
6) Leaks! Oh my gosh, the leaks. No. No. No. Ruined sheets, ruined clothes, ruined reputations. It’s not worth it.

(P.S. If you’re one of those women who’s tempted to say, “No, it’s not nasty! It’s a natural part of life! It’s beautiful! Embrace it!” you don’t need to message me. I get that. But there’s a reason people don’t walk around with open wounds. Blood may be natural, but it’s also disconcerting. And there is move involved here that just blood, as you ladies well know. So perhaps it’s not entirely barf-inducing in and of itself, but you lug that stuff around in a very enclosed, potentially sweaty space for a few hours, and it gets there really fast.)

Tampons, I think, represent a slight improvement over pads in that the leak factor is lower, though not eliminated. There used to be a whole toxic shock thing that might still exist, but I guess women have learned to better tend themselves so we aren’t all just dropping like flies.

Actually, tampons represent a huge improvement over pads. You don’t have to worry about your kid making a bunny costume out of them and hopping into the living room when you have friends over for dinner. They are more compact, easier to carry, more comfortable, you can move around more easily and with less insecurity.

However, tampons have their drawbacks, too:
1) Swimming. Although technically you CAN swim, if you try to do this for too long, it gets all water-logged and swollen. Yuck.
2) Learning curve. Tampons have various patterns of “opening,” or “blooming,” if you will. Some expand in all directions outward pretty evenly. Others lengthen as they widen. There are more flowering-shaped ones. If you happen to try to use a public dispenser and they have a different version than the one you use, you could regret this later.
3) Unforgiving at first. When you first put in a tampon, if you sneeze too hard or jump around too much before it’s softened up a little bit, it can shoot out of its home like freaking Nerf ammunition from an air gun.

There is another option, one that has been in use for centuries, as well. Previously, however it was made of rubber, and this is an allergy risk. NOW, there are silicone products available. I have used precisely one of these, and that is the one I’ll review now… (drum roll)

THE DIVA CUP!

I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have wanted to share an enthusiastic endorsement of this product, but haven’t been able to figure out how. I considered splitting my Facebook friends list into “male” and “female” and posting a status update only to the women.

However, since I have a few product reviews under my belt, I decided that the time was right for this. Without further ado…

Basically, this is a silicone cup that goes the same place as a tampon, and “disappears” the same way. In fact, I think it’s less noticeable for several reasons: 1) It’s softer, 2) it’s shorter, 3) it moves with you, 4) it genuinely conforms to your shape.

Besides the official website, there are tons of sites that explain how to use this product, how to clean it, have diagrams about how to fold it, hints for insertion and removal. It boils down to whatever works for you, and the time it takes you to figure these things out.

When I was 15, I got contacts. I cried every morning for two weeks as I spent the better part of an hour in front of the mirror, eyes red and tears flowing, trying to figure out how to put those tiny lenses onto my eyeball and make them stay. This product has the same kind of introduction, but it took me less than three days (perhaps because it was more than a once-a-day proposition).

The stuff you’re thinking about how it might be gross, how you’re not comfortable messing around down there looking for something, what happens if you lose it, etc… All of that is absolutely nothing about which to be worried. I will say that when I first got mine, I had fingernails, and that made removal considerably simpler.

It’s funny: the cup comes with a carrying pouch (I need a new one; mine’s pretty torn up) and a lapel pin (which I’ve never worn). The pin cracked me up. It just says “diva” and has a flower on it, but for those in the know, I knew that donning it would be tantamount to screaming, “I’m ridding my body of superfluous inner-uterine lining and whatnot!” No, thanks.

I made this purchase in January 2010, and it’s recommended that you replace this yearly. The price is $24, and within about three months (remember the 12-day thing?) it had paid for itself. I actually still use the one I bought more than two and a half years ago. Don’t judge me. It works just fine.

Here are the benefits, in no particular order:
1) I’m never caught by surprise. Have you ever had one of those moments (if you’re irregular like I am; sometimes I really despise my sister) when you go to the restroom and realize, “Dang it! Already?!” or “Dang it! I’d assumed I was pregnant!” and you’re product-poor at that moment? Have you ever created a temporary pad out of toilet paper? Yeah. That hasn’t happened to me in over two years. I am *always* ready. It is *always* in my purse.
2) Prorated out, this has cost me less than one dollar per month.
3) Swimming! I can swim! It doesn’t move! It doesn’t swell up like some bloated caterpillar that fell into the pool two days ago!
4) Virtually leak-proof. There have been times when I’ve pushed time-length because of having been super busy, but even that was negligible and probably wouldn’t be a problem if you’re irritatingly “normal”
5) No trash! You don’t have to worry about filling up landfills, or feel guilty because someone has to empty your hazardous waste from that little rectangular tin bin in the ladies’. Speaking of which, why do they have red bags for used shots but not for this?
6) Don’t have to carry your purse to the restroom during “that time of the month.” I never do that otherwise; do you?

Ownership and use of this product has made my life so much simpler and freer, it eliminates waste, and I can do so much more! I jumped on a trampoline for nearly two hours once before I even thought about the fact that I was wearing this thing.

I have a male friend who, earlier this year, said to me, “I’ve always considered myself savvy when it comes to women’s menstruation…” (Yes, this is how my friends talk. We’re all kind of geeky.) He proceeded to explain that he figured there were two choices when it came to dealing with periods. When I realized where he was going, I started squealing, “I’m so glad you know about this! I would never have told you about it myself, but now that you’ve opened the door, I feel like you know me so much better!”

I don’t know that this greatly improved our friendship, but it made me giddy to know that this wasn’t a totally hidden product anymore, even to the male portion of the population. If you’ve never thought about it, you should. It’s cheaper, it’s more comfortable, and ultimately, it’s cleaner. Try it! Try it! You will never go back!

This is so I’ll have a picture to show when I post this to Facebook. πŸ™‚ I don’t want the other two pictures on my wall!

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