BIG AL, in memory of my sister Jeanne

There are things that happen in our bodies that are naturally occurring in all humans, even the animal kingdom to some degree.  We poop regularly (that is for you to decide what regular is to you).  We have gas (16-17 times on average a day).  We urinate.  Those are three things that all humans do.  We don't necessarily talk about them like we talk about the weather, that is unless you are Amish (they love to talk about their bowels) or over the age of 88.  But, none-the-less, whether we talk about them or not, they happen daily to all of us.

If you are a woman, aged post-puberty to menopause, you have a menstrual cycle, a period, a visit from Aunt Flo, Big Al or whatever your particular family's slang for it is, every 28ish days or so.  It too is another fact of a vast majority of women's lives (or was).  Women talk about it with each other from time to time.  Men quietly, with some measure of discomfortendure feminine hygiene product commercials.  Women laugh at them.  Periods are not fun, so don't make commercials that show women riding bikes, wearing white skirts and dancing the night away.  That is an illogical and ridiculous over exaggeration!  More accurate would be a woman laying on the couch exhausted, her uterus pulsating angrily, wearing elasticized sweat pants that put no pressure on her tender lower abdomen, with a zit that has magically erupted somewhere on her face.

I bought new underwear recently at Macy's in Chicago.  I am a very picky shopper, and after wearing the underwear I have now for the past two years, they were growing increasingly thin and thread barren.  Since I could not find any more like them, I refused to buy new until I came across some I loved equally as well.  I must say, my new ones are beautiful panties, and if I were 4 years old I would lift my dress to show you.  My daughter did that a time or two growing up when she got new underwear.  I've been privy to see a few little boy's super hero underpants when they just had to show them off - much to the embarrasment of their mothers.  Superman on your ass cannot be hidden!

Having just arrived for dinner last night at a friend's house, we were standing in their kitchen when I felt a gush.  Oh, it wasn't a little gush, it was the turning on of the menstrual faucet.  My period had started several days earlier, but entering the waters of peri-menopause and menopause has made things a bit more unpredictable.  I excused myself to the guest bathroom.  My beautiful all lace new boy short panties were not white any more!  Taking care of the matter at hand meant I had to just go without underwear, be commando. Which, rounded out the fact that I was also not wearing a bra.  Total freedom!

As I finished "wrapping" things up, I looked around for the wastebasket.  Good lands, there wasn't one in that bathroom!  Panic ensued!!  I couldn't walk out, back into the kitchen with a big wad of toilet paper hiding my tampon.  What was I going to do with my underwear?  Oh, could things get much worse?  I had no choice, I rolled my panties up and stuck them in my purse.  The big wad of toilet paper, including the cardboard end of a roll, I also crammed in my very tiny purse.  I was so grossed out!!  The days of using that purse had just come to an end.

On the ride home, I told my husband the story.  He laughed and asked why I didn't tell him we needed to go home.  Periods are a fact of life, just like pooping, but one doesn't discuss them at a friend's house or ask for a wastebasket to throw your tampon away in.   I decided from henceforth I will carry a small sandwich zip lock bag in my purse.

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