I recently discovered that I have NoKotex-aphobia. In case you are not familiar with this little known disorder, it is “The fear of not having a tampon when you need one” (Wikipedia; little known imaginary disorders).
Although I am so regular you could set the World Clock by my cycle, I still have always been plagued by the concern that I will get caught off guard by the arrival of my little monthly friend on the exact day that I am wearing white pants while sitting on a white sofa on live television. Nevermind the fact that I don’t own white pants, nor are there any TV shows with white sofas or that I have never and probably never will appear on live TV. It is the possibility of all that which throws me into a pre-menstrual panic.
Because of this fear, I have taken to stashing tiny tampons in a vast array of emergency locations. These emergency locations include the glove compartment of my car, my bike sack, every one of my pocketbooks, and the pockets of most of my jeans. When we had a dog, I would even toss one into the doggie poo bag dispenser attached to his leash on the off chance I got surprised while walking him. Of course this begs the question, where did I think I would go to take care of the surprise while I was walking the dog. But one doesn’t think about things like that when one suffers from NoKotex-aphobia.
While it’s good for people like me to have back up plans to ease their fears, the solutions can sometimes create more of a problem than the phobia. Such was the case when I got stopped by a cop. As I tried to extricate my registration from the glove compartment, I accidentally ended up torpedoing him with a barrage of flying tampons.
FYI, this is really not the recommended way to get out of a ticket.
Then there was the time I was at a business networking event. As I reached into my bag to grab a pen for someone to write down my contact information, I mindlessly whipped out a tampon and handed them that instead. Had it been another woman, she might have thanked me for providing her with feminine protection for a later time. But the guy I was trying to impress was less enthusiastic about the gift.
Finally, there was the infamous mouse incident. While doing a load of laundry, I forgot that I had stashed some ‘pons in my jeans, and when I pulled the clothes out of the dryer, several tampons also emerged, sans wrappers, all big and white and fluffy with the strings hanging out. This would not have been a problem if it were just me. But I had brought my then 3 year-old son down to the laundry room to keep me company while I changed loads. While laundry is not something that would usually interest him, the discovery of a new breed of white rodent is.
“LOOK MOMMY! There were MICES in the dryer!” he exclaimed, picking up two of the fluffy cotton tampons and swinging them around by their strings.
“I think you kilded them, though,” he said. I watched in silent horror as my son played with the tampons as though they were new pets.
“How comes they have no faces?” he asked.
I shrugged helplessly.
“Ima name this one Minnie and this one will be Mickey Mouse,” he announced.
I was sure Disney would be thrilled by this honor.
“Can I have these?” he asked.
“No sweetie,” I finally choked out. “Mommy needs to, um, bury the mice. But you can have this…” I looked around for a replacement toy. All we had nearby was laundry detergent, fabric softener, and some extra boxes of sanitary pads. I weighed the options and decided a cushy airplane was a more acceptable toy than a faux dead fluffy white mouse.
Breaking open a box of maxi pads with wings, I peeled off the wrapper, smoothed out the wings and handed him the pad.
“…This PLANE!” I announced.
He zoom-zoomed it around the basement while I folded clothes and then asked if he could bring it upstairs to find some Lego passengers to take for a ride.
“Absolutely,” I chirped. “But the plane has to be put back in the airport before Daddy gets home!”