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The Great TMI Post

Demure or something
[Yesterday dear Naamah and I were joking that her popular monthly vagina report should begin a chain of proud girlie entries ... so here's my contribution to that chain. Feel free to join the 5-Day Flow Express; maybe I'll even see about posting links to all who participate. So now that you know what this post is going to be about, all you male-type people can feel free to keep reading or bail as you see fit.]

Hinsdale, IL -- 1982. I was playing in the basement with my cousins Jackie, Arthur and Ryan* when my mother and Aunt Wanda came swooping down the stairs. They picked me and Jackie up and hauled us upstairs to my mother's bedroom -- where they deposited us onto the floor and closed the door behind themselves. It was time for the SEX talk.

Mind you, I only gathered this in retrospect. At the time, it looked like we were being enlightened with regards to quantum physics, or maybe industrial plumbing.

Mom and Wanda had diagrams. They had pointers. I believe they even had an easel upon which they'd set up a series of medical drawings, which they discussed in great detail, using a lot of big words. I was about seven, and Jackie was a year older. We didn't have the foggiest idea what any of it meant, but we frowned thoughtfully and nodded when we sensed it was appropriate.

When the SEX talk was over, Mom and Wanda chucked us out of the room and shut the door behind us. Arthur and Ryan were waiting with worried little looks on their faces. "Are you guys in trouble?" they asked. Jackie and I looked to each other for clues, then collectively shrugged. "I don't think so," I said. "But I'm not totally sure."

In fact we were not in trouble -- not yet. We still had another few years in front of us before we would know the kind of trouble our mothers had been trying to warn us about. Read on then, for that strange and sordid saga.


My mother was the oppressively nosey sort who wanted to know every biological blip and ping that went on in my system. I don't know if she'd had some weirdly, grossly close relationship with her own mother or if she was just naturally creepy; but she developed an obsession with establishing my formal progression to "womanhood" -- if ever a stupider word was coined.

Submitted, by way of example: one time when I was about twelve, in the middle of Wal-Mart, she hollered for my attention and -- in the same holler -- demanded to know if I needed any deodorant. When I began to back slowly away, horrified by my proximity to this crazy woman, she chased me down and picked me up by one arm. Then she shoved her face into my pit and began loudly sniffing -- and narrating. "WELL, IT'S NOT TOO BAD YET. I DON'T KNOW. STOP WIGGLING, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! I'M TRYING TO GET A GOOD WHIFF." Right there. In front of God and everybody.

But my mom was not content to stop with public discourse on adolescent body odor. Oh no. Every week or two she'd also ask -- at top volume in the middle of a drug store -- if I needed any TAMPONS YET? OR PADS, IF YOU'RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THE IDEA OF TAMPONS -- AND YOU MIGHT NOT BE, AT LEAST NOT AT FIRST. WHAT? KEEP MY VOICE DOWN? BUT IT'S PERFECTLY NATURAL HONEY, AND IT'S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.

True. Also true: diarrhea, warts and back fat are perfectly natural -- but that doesn't mean you want your mother explaining your condition to everyone on aisles 4-12.

In the end it turned into a game. She would insist at every possible occasion, in front of as many people as she could get away with, upon providing me with feminine hygiene products. It was as if she had to prove to the world that she'd produced and actual, living, breathing, functional woman from her very own loins, and as evidence, look! She menstruates! And I, of course, would continue to decline her offers of 'pons, pads, and Midol. I could have been gushing like a grade school science project and I still would have told her, "No thanks. I'm fine."

Upon one typically horrific bodily function challenge, she followed me into the ladies room at church. While I was in the stall -- minding my own business -- the woman in the next stall over began to unwrap something incriminatingly crinkly. My mother's finely-tuned period-radar began beeping like mad! She turned away from the sink and began beating on my stall door, chanting, "Cherie! Is that you unwrapping a pad in there? Cherie, do you need anything? I've got my purse right here, sweetheart. If you've got your period, all you have to do is say so!"

As some of you already know, my mother is an elementary school teacher so she's accustomed to projecting -- in case the little ADHD kid in the back row CAN'T QUITE HEAR HER. About twenty years ago she became stuck in "Teacher Who Requires Your Attention" speaking mode, and I don't know how many of my fine readers have ever been inside a ladies rest-room in a smallish church, but let me just say there was an ECHO. And I'd like to take this opportunity to offer an official apology to the Groves SDA Church in southeast Texas -- I'm really, really sorry about that unconventional addition to your morning worship service. It was all my mom's fault.


At some point, I guess she just assumed that I must have somehow started my period without her being able to detect it ... and she quit asking. But my fancy red fairy didn't visit until the summer I turned fifteen, so for a long time she was wrong. That fateful summer I was alone in Kentucky (near Fort Knox) with my dad and my baby brother. My stepmother -- the other Captain Priest** -- was absent, having been sent someplace thanks to Uncle Sam. And apparently she took her entire supply of cute pink boxes with her, because there was nothing helpful hiding underneath her bathroom sink.

However, my dad's a hip sort of guy and a medical professional -- so I went right up to him, told him to pick me up something on the way home, downed a handful of Motrin, and acted like everything was fine and normal. Ha ha! Don't be ridiculous. Of course I didn't. Instead I devised an elaborate scheme wherein my dad would be compelled to take me to the mall twenty miles away, where there was a drug store and I could sort this out on my own. Luckily, Dad was game. Off I went to the mall to be thoroughly bewildered by the dazzling array of cottony products available.

I eventually picked my Mary Kay pink, fruity-smelling box [so my crotch could smell like CANDY, and thereby lure unsuspecting children to their doom] ... plus a chocolate bar, a small teddy bear, a tube of lipstick and a Teen magazine.

What? I couldn't let the cashier to think I'd gone in there for the sole purpose of picking up period supplies -- because whatever you do when buying tampons you must AT ALL COST pretend that you do NOT NEED THEM. If anyone asks, your house was flooded and you're trying to dry out your collection of historical finger puppets -- and you thought to yourself, "Hey, I bet some of those feminine hygiene products would do the trick." So now you're going to go home and stuff those puppets 'til they swell to the size of mittens. Yeah, that's the ticket. Or else they're for your mom. Or your sister.

Or your cat. They make excellent cat toys -- just ask Spainy, who once got into an OB box and chewed the contents into soggy white mulch. I guess once those suckers come unwrapped they do look roughly like toy mice. They've got little tails and everything. Huh.

Anyway, these days monthlies are not so traumatic, and my biggest period problem comes from public restrooms that do NOT have teeny trash cans within the stalls. Who wants to drag nasty, unflushable leftovers out into the open? I've got pretty good aim, but it would take an NBA free-throw king to hit the trash can out by the paper towels blind, from inside the stall. And I don't know about you girls, but most of the bathrooms I frequent don't feature stall attendants who are willing to make that 3-point shot for you.

__________________


Right. Well. That's enough of that then, isn't it?
So happy Friday, LJ peeps,
and have a good weekend.

~w_w~



* Because some of you are new to this blog I'll sum up here: for awhile when I was a kid, I lived with my mother, sister, grandparents, aunt, and three cousins. All nine of us lived together in a suburb of Chicago. It's a long story.
** I used to have great fun answering the phone. "Is Captain Priest there?" "Which one?" "Uh, the nurse." "Which one?" "What? I'm calling from the hospital. I need Captain Priest." "There's Captain Donna and Captain Jerry. Both nurses. Which one do you want?" "Uh, it doesn't say ... " "Well, I'm not psychic, so you'll have to be more specific." "Shit."

Comments

( 96 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 3 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
naniris
Nov. 20th, 2004 09:52 am (UTC)
*Adding you*
If this is your usual level of funny, then I shall be very entertained. ^_^
cmpriest
Nov. 20th, 2004 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: *Adding you*
uh no ... no pressure or anything ;-)
naniris
Nov. 20th, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC)
Re: *Adding you*
Don't worry. I'm easily amused. *grins*
fenrah
Nov. 20th, 2004 02:14 pm (UTC)
*gapes* How perfectly hideous. I am _SO_ sorry.

My mother was more the...well, the Granny Weatherwax type, I guess. :) She was of a mind to provide me easy access to encyclopedias and the contents of her own bathroom cabbinet and trust me to put two and two together. I was not a studid child, so this worked. I think once we might have had a three sentence conversation about it. In retrospect, I suspect my mother's attitude came partially from having a mother of her own who was very anxious to talk at length about her own bodily functions and everyone elses. My mom is a pretty private person. I can remember as a child needing to tell her something and finding her in the bathroom. If I waited outside the door, her keen rader would alert her, and she would inform me that unless something was dying or burning, I needed to go away and come back later. I always liked that about my mom.
ratkrycek
Nov. 22nd, 2004 12:06 am (UTC)
Oh, boy. Does your mother's interest in your body sound familiar... my mom was right there with the tampons/pads well before I needed them, as well as deodorant, shaving my armpits (I did it, but always cut myself), training bras at age 10 before I thought I needed them (my classmates made fun of me for trying to "show off what I didn't have," but my mom made me wear them anyway) and... my favorite (not, and excuse the TMI factor)... one of my breasts was bigger than the other, and she would always make comments, and when I began to, er, develop them, I got kinda big kinda fast, and she insisted on telling her friends, proudly - I remember the time she and another of her friends had me call their friend's answering machine (their friend was 30,, and abut a size 32A; I was fourteen or fifteen and about a 34 or 36 C, cant remember) and tell her to "eat her heart out." I didn't really get it then.

Mothers... are proud about the strangest thingss. Sorry to hear you had to go through all that - thankfully, we never went to church, so I was at least spared that trauma.

Thanks for the wonderful post, in any event; I may just have to check out the rest of your journal. You seem like a good, and interesting, writer! Right now, though, I've got to make some tea and lie down - colds are teh sUXor.
cmpriest
Nov. 22nd, 2004 06:03 am (UTC)
feel better soon and stuff.
and hello, and welcome.
have fun puttering around ...

;-)
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( 96 comments — Leave a comment )

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