Dear Menstrual Cup, We're Breaking Up For Good
Dear Menstrual Cup,
We are over. Done. Finished. Finito.
And not just because my period is ending. This time I mean it for good. I wish I could say, "It's not you, it's me," but that isn't true.
It's you. It's definitely you.
I first heard about you back when the only people wearing menstrual cups were the same crunchy ladies buying organic bananas and Tom’s toothpaste, the kind of ladies who decorated their homes with dream catchers and wind chimes and let their gray hairs grow wild, btw that’s totally me now. At the time, I tried to befriend you. I liked trying new things, and I liked the idea of never having to buy tampons again. I had read a scary article about how many chemicals were in women’s feminine products and decided to explore less toxic options. First, I tried out your stubborn cousin — organic tampons —the ones with no harsh chemicals like oh I don’t know...bleach. But, I am sorry to say, they just don’t work for heavy bleeders like me, gals who are prone to waking up victims of their own crime scenes.
That’s when I bit the bullet and shelled out 30 bucks for you at my local co-op. I tried you for a few cycles, but we never really seemed to connect. Either you leaked, and I was left with period stained panties, or the pressure on my bladder was too intense for me to bear. I eventually ended up cheating on you with my one tried and true, my ride or die — Kotex Reg. I carried on with Kotex for another five years, no harm no foul.
Honestly, I didn’t even think of you once. That’s how little of an impression you left upon me.
That is until recently when I walked into my WG’s kitchen. My roomie was boiling something on the stove, but since it was too early for pasta, I asked her what the hell she was cooking.
“I’m boiling my cup, my period started.” “Your WHAT?”
“My menstrual cup. You have to boil it before each cycle to reduce infections.”
Though I was slightly disgusted that she was using our pasta pot to boil the infection out of her silicon period catcher I was also weirdly intrigued.
“Maybe I’ll try the cup again,” I pondered out loud, “I tried it years ago but didn’t like it. Perhaps they’ve improved the engineering.”
Aside from that time my Tinder date’s condom broke, I couldn’t remember the last time I was this excited to get my period. The excitement came and went, however, when I struggled with getting you in. I tried the taco fold which felt more like shoving a plastic chew toy up my ya-ya. I still didn’t like the slight pressure I felt on my lower abdomen, but well, I got used to you.
My new period routine went as follows: pop you in for my first two “heavy flow” days and then use my Thinx period panties for the remaining lighter days. I felt confident and sexy about my new environmentally friendly , chemical-free menstrual routine and couldn’t wait to share the news with my bleeding friends.
Last night was the night that changed everything, however. I had just finished a Peaceful Warrior Yoga sesh with my homegirl Adrienne when I went to the bathroom to remove you. I stuck my index finger inside expecting to feel the silicon nub that would allow me to set you free. Instead, I just felt the warm, cavernous walls of my vagina. In fact, you were nowhere to be found. Of course, I did the one thing that you are not supposed to do when you can’t find your menstrual cup — I panicked. I tried squatting so that fishing you out would be easier.
I decided to move to my bedroom where I had more space, grabbing a towel in case things got messy. I removed my pants and underwear and squatted over my full-length mirror.
I inserted my finger again hoping that I would make contact. That’s when I felt your tail. But it was so far up that I could not manage to grab hold of it with my thumb and finger.
I Googled “what to do when your menstrual cup is stuck.”
I considered yelling for my roommate to help me give birth to my cup. She’d once helped me dig a splinter out of my foot, this was the same thing, right?
I imagined how I would explain this to my gynecologist tomorrow in my broken german.
I suddenly became a militant feminist. “Periods are such a drag man, and you dudes with your dangling balls have no freaking idea. Fuck men, seriously.”
I squatted down and pushed like I was giving birth while at the same time pulling on your tail’s tip, trying to loosen the death grip you had on my cervix. “You are coming out mister, RIGHT THIS MINUTE.”
Finally, I got you free.
As happy as I am that you, a parasite, are now out of my body, I’m also very disappointed that it didn’t work out. I was looking forward to bragging to my feminist friends about you.
Instead, I’m sharing this letter as a warning.
Despite how trendy you become or how much others praise your presence, menstrual cups just aren’t for everybody, especially if your body happens to contain a deep, narrow abyss like mine. And guess what? That's okay.
From this day forward I vow never to let any wide-mouthed, suction lipped, foreign object near my sacred saccharine peach again...Unless he buys me dinner first.
Story by Nicole Paulus