(Less) Fun with Feminine Hygiene

The following might read like a joke, but believe me, it’s not funny: how long do you need to try to inserting a Diva Cup before realizing it’s time to give up?

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The short answer, unfortunately, is: FOREVER. At least, that is, if you heed the instructional insert which tells a girl something it would be helpful (though deadly from a selling standpoint) to print on the box: this device is non-returnable.

Luckily, your ability to get your money back is not necessarily up to DivaCup: it’s up to the store where you might need to return the thing. And so if you think you can work up your nerve to bring in a used (albeit, cleaned up) menstrual cup back into the store, check in advance with the store in question in advance.

And of course, being a completely kick-ass kind of place, Good Earth Foods in Fairfax, California did that for me!  (Sorry guys: I really did plan to keep it.)

And believe me, you’re going to want to return it, unless you’re Oprah Winfrey, whose menstruating days are probably a thing of the past anyway. The DivaCup, in all of it’s non-disposable goodness, costs around $35-$40. It might be a bit cheaper to buy online, but with postage and handling, I don’t know that you’ll make out any better.Paying $40 for a single toiletry item is a big commitment.

That is why I was DETERMINED to make the DivaCup thing work: dammit!

But ladies? Remember what a pain in the you-know-where it was to get your first tampon up in thar?

Picture having to shove a much larger, rubber/plastic-type device up your vagina, all the while thinking, “If I don’t make this work, I’ll have just wasted 40 bucks!”

Now this brings up an interesting point, re: celibacy.  I began to wonder: if I was sexually active, or had given birth, would it be easier to insert something like the DivaCup? I don’t know: it’s not worth doing either to find out! But I do know I bought the smallest size, and it still wasn’t small enough.

Bear in mind, too, that a tampon seems to be shaped specially with insertion in mind. But the menstrual cup almost seems like they had someone design the thing, and only later mentioned to her that it would actually need to be put inside a vagina. “Oh,” the inventor of the DivaCup would respond, hesitantly. “I suppose if the woman kind of folded it up first? 
The DivaCup revealed:

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Maybe she could get it up there?”

Maybe. If the darn thing stayed folded up. But. Good luck with that.

And I am so sorry to say that!  Gotta love the convenience and minimum-spot-on-white-pants risk that a tampon gives me, but the prospect of all of that non-biodegradable flushable stuff is really depressing. I doubt the DivaCup itself is biodegradable. But since the thing is meant for long-term reuse, that helps ease one’s guilt.

Thus, I have yet to find a “sustainable” tampon.
Which reminds me, I should probably test-drive more than one option before giving up entirely.

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Fun with Feminine Hygiene! GladRags

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The monthly crimson tide has finally ebbed. A few days later, it’s time to empty the waste basket. The bathroom waste basket. Now, I am not ashamed of being a woman or my body or whatever, but let’s face it: garbage is disgusting. And if you happen to encounter your used tampons and/or maxi pads in the garbage it’s just not…. how shall I say… aesthetically pleasing.

My first, fleeting thought is: “Ewww.” They second, more lasting thought is, “At least I’m doing my part to add to the county landfill!” It gets depressing. And so like many women, I decided to try to find a way to use non-disposable “feminine hygiene” methods.

And like a handful of women, I was pretty lazy about it. Note my wording. I “decided to
try.” I didn’t actually try, yet. But I thought about it, and felt appropriately guilty, right? But disposables are easier. And the easiest way to stop feeling guilty is to simply get someone else to take out the trash. (Why not pull a Tom Sawyer and try to make it look fun, and recruit people that way?)

You figure — hey, not only do I recycle. That’s a given. I also compost. I bring my own bags to the grocery store, I drive a Prius. I do use aerosol hair spray, but that’s only because the pump kind sucks so very much. Don’t those things help cancel out some monthly trash?

And that brings me to Good Earth Natural Foods, of Fairfax, California. (www.genatural.com)
Good Earth

On my way to the checkout counter at Good Earth, I happened by the “Feminine Hygiene” section of the store. That might not be what they called it. Perhaps they referred to as “Personal Care.” Or, more likely, “Goddess Needs.”

This means my purchase of GladRags was essentially an impulse buy.

Well-played, Good Earth.

I also bought the Diva Cup. I was especially looking forward to giving that product a test drive. Well, not looking forward to it, exactly. But I was definitely looking forward to not having to use tampons anymore, and I was hoping I had found a solution with the Diva Cup. I shall discuss that product, however, in a different post.

The GladRag. At first I had a bit of sticker shock at the price. The little box, which was essentially one maxi pad, was $15. It seemed steep, until I realized that I could easily spend $15 on a few boxes of disposable maxi pads, and hopefully this thing would last me a lot longer: with the added perk, of course, of not becoming landfill fodder anytime soon.

Positives:

1) One GladRag will hopefully replace hundreds of disposable maxi pads.
2) Made of soft, comfortable organic cotton.
3) Fastens securely to underwear.
4) Comes with extra inserts to accommodate a heavy period.
5) You get to channel your inner hippie. You’re one with the earth, or whatever.

Neutral (aka stuff that seems negative but then you realize it isn’t):

1) Price: around $15, as of November 2013. Theoretically will save money because of reusability.
2) You are supposed to wash it first. Duh, right? But usually I buy maxi pads with the intention of wearing one as soon as I get home. So unless you have a second set which is pre-washed, you’ll need to wait.
3) Slight staining may still exist, even after washing. Again, duh. Blood is a stain, right?

Note: I decided to go ahead and wear my second set without washing it. This was not a problem. Importantly, the reason I chose not to wait was because I needed to wash the first set. And I liked the GladRags so much, I was unwilling to go back to disposables while I waited!

Negatives:

1) Slightly bulky
2) A bit inconvenient when you’re “on the go,” and would need to have been carrying a whole other pad with you. However, many of us have big ass purses that would accomodate such a thing.

Overall Grade: A

Below: This is the insert. One standard package comes with two of these.
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Below: Put the insert inside the cover, which snaps around your underwear. I’m bad at this sort of thing, but even I figured it out how to do this pretty quickly.
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Below: This is what it will look like when it’s good to go, right before you snap it into your underwear.
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Although at first I thought, based on the name “GladRags,” that this was some sort of ill-advised retro product, along with lines of the “Kotex Classic” Saturday Night Live skit, I was wrong.

I like it so much, I would buy it as a Christmas present for all of my girlfriends, if that wouldn’t be a sort of creepy thing to do.