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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hey, I'm Talking to Your Daughter About Menstruation

A while ago, my mother-in-law signed my wife up, most likely unsolicited, for a subscription to "Reader's Digest." I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy "Reader's Digest." I'm equally sure that most of them are over the age of 77. The first time, in fact, that I can ever recall seeing an issue of "Reader's Digest" was at my Bubba's apartment in Center City, and she owned a velour sofa, a television with a vacuum tube, and knee highs. She also cooked unrecognizably burnt liverwurst hamburgers that my sister and I delighted in flinging off her 18th story balcony.

I don't know your feelings on this subject, but, to me, giving someone a subscription to "Reader's Digest" is basically like giving them a year's worth of diarrhea, or a year's worth of fingernail clippings. A year's worth of, well, liverwurst hamburgers.

Mrs. Apron reads the "Reader's Digests" that she receives with what appears to be a mixture of apathy and interest, which admittedly is a tenuous combination. Her eyes, however, sparkled last night as she got to one particular advertisement.

"Here, Bobber," she said to me with a devilish grin, "this can be your blog topic for tomorrow."


It's a full-page advert, courtesy of your friends at "Always." A young-looking, improbably hot mom with long, chestnut hair draped lovingly over improbably pert 36-Bs sits Stage Right. She's lightly touching the chin of her slightly awkward-appearing daughter, with unfortunate bangs, who is gazing almost soulfully into her mother's eyes, as if said mother were in the process of dispensing some carefully-guarded pearls of MILF wisdom.

And she certainly is. She is talking to her daughter about menstruation and, by the same token, she is...


"Although most girls get their first period around age 12," the ad copy states, "some start menstruating as early as age 8. That's why explaining what's ahead is so important."

* "The best appeoach is to start early and speak often. Don't wait for one 'big talk.' Provide age-appropriate information and let her know you're okay discussing it."

I don't know that I agree wholeheartedly with this first one. I'm a pretty ardent proponent of the "big talk." I would recommend renting out a boardroom of a local hospital or corporate entity-- the more formal the better-- perhaps with some austere oil paintings of stern-looking middle-aged or elderly men in tweed suits staring down over spectacles with one wily eyebrow raised. This will make your daughter aware of the importance of the information that you are about to reveal to her, and will enhance the gravitas of your presentation. Remember, don't be afraid to yell. Yelling drives home the important points.

* Talk about all the issues of puberty - physical changes, reproduction, menstruation, etc. There's a lot to cover."

Whoa, Always peeps-- we're supposed to have this marathon conversation with our eight-year-olds? Reproduction? Shit, man. You're damn right-- there IS a lot to cover. Renting this boardroom isn't coming cheap, you know. You might have to throw on a few extra hours, just to cover foreplay alone!

* "Let her know everyone's body is different and development comes at different times for every girl."

This is also known as the "It's okay that you're completely and utterly flat-chested" talk. Yeah... have fun with that.

* "Always put the discussion in apositive light. Explain that menstruation is a wonderful part of being a woman - without it, women couldn't become mothers!"

Right, because your eight-year-old daughter really gives a big honkin' shit about that. In other words-- lie through your goddamn teeth, leave out all the unpleasantness about that first horrifying drip on the floor during the 6th period math test, the cramps, the bloating, the misery, the scores of stupid, incompetent men who just don't get it and, at the high school prom, will suggest doing you "in the mud" as a viable alternative to vaginal intercourse while you're menstruating. Oh, and don't you love how they start this one off with the word "Always"? Just can't resist dropping that brand name, can you, bitches?

* "Have a book available if your daughter would like to look at it."

Great advice. Any particular one you have in mind? "To Kill a Mockingbird" maybe?

* "If your daughter doesn't bring up the subject, get the conversation started by asking her what she knows about puberty and what questions she has. Time this with a doctor's appointment and let her know that the doctor can help explain what's going on with her body."

I don't know, man. Getting the conversation started by "asking her what she knows about puberty" doesn't seem like a really creative icebreaker to me. I suggest trying something like this:

Spill some POM Wonderful juice on the white livingroom rug. Turn to your daughter and say, "Janice-- once a month, for a very long time, this is going to be your life. Now clean that shit up, goddamnit, and go to your room for five days. Mommy's going to go in the den and read 'Reader's Digest'."


  1. Dude. You rock.

    I remember getting my period. It was highlighted with my mother screeching at me about staining my pants and my father going "oh shit" over and over and over again.

  2. I remember Always trying to sponsor my first period.

    In those "health" videos they show in 5th grade, when they separate the boys and girls, ours started with an Always ad in which a woman takes her niece out to the grocery store to buy Always after the girl gets her first period. Then they went home and called Pizza Hut to celebrate womanhood with a deep dish.


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