DISCLAIMER: The following is a blog contribution from a female writer, because I know nothing about tampons. Nor do I want to.
There are some items in the store, that although necessary, no one likes to buy. For teens, it may be any variety of pregnancy protection, or tests in some cases. For elders, Depends. But for many women, the choice is obvious: tampons. They are necessary – that’s for sure – but I can’t think of ANYTHING I hate buying more; you are throwing your money down the toilet (literally).
I have a system devised for any trip to CVS that requires me to buy tampons, which begins by scoping out the grounds. I’ll check for people I know, people I know but will pretend I don’t know unless I stand next to them while picking out shampoo and people I truly abhor. After that, I must do all other shopping first, saving the tampons for last. This way, you can discretely shove the large white box with the grotesque picture of a “scented plastic applicator” featured on the front under the newest addition of US Weekly and your body lotion. Lastly, wait for the lines to clear out and pray your middle school math teacher doesn’t take his place in line behind you.
That was the protocol, since age 12, until now. Kotex has singlehandedly changed one of my idiosyncrasies (and if you knew me, you would know that’s almost impossible to do). After launching U by Kotex – a campaign to “Break the Cycle” which “aims to encourage women to talk candidly and without embarrassment about periods and vaginal care,” they seem to have something else entirely. They put out a tampon box that doesn’t look like a tampon box. It’s black, not white. It has “fierce” colors and not pastels. It doesn’t feature a picture of what can be mistaken by a 9 year old boy as crosshairs for his home made pop gun. Therefore, I can now buy tampons without the whole world (or at least men) knowing I’m doing so.
It’s fine and dandy that their real pitch was to increase self-esteem and blah blah blah, but they also changed the size and color of the tampons and nowhere on the actual tampon does it say TAMPON. So now when I’m on a date and my cell phone rings and I fish around in my bag for my phone l know a tampon will not fly out and land in my salad. Actually, that may still happen but at least I can play it off as a new type of candy and hope he doesn’t ask to try some.
Sadly for Playtex and Tampax, their attempt to lure females into buying the Playtex Sport and Tampax Pearl brands did not work on me. Basically they came in a fancy box but were three dollars more expensive than the CVS brand. They still featured gross pictures and were individually packaged in slippery cellophane and were the length of pens. Not only are the U tampons the size of a stick of gum, they are typically about the same price as the generic – an added bonus.
Buying tampons are a rite of passage for any woman. But at least now nobody knows when that rite of passage is occurring. Thank you Kotex.