The Traveling Tampon

Have you ever stood in a supermarket line with a years supply of tampons? Ever had to declare your tampons at customs? Or perhaps you’ve stood in a crowded foreign airport (using a mixture of broken English and sign language) explaining what you do with your tampons and why you’re currently carrying hundreds of them? If the answer is yes, chances are you’ve been away from home for an extended, ahem….period.

I think most traveling women have learnt how to strategically pack 10 boxes of tampons in their suitcase, (they make great shoe-fillers), it brings a whole new meaning to “fill your boots”.

It wasn’t until I started traveling that I realized women differed so dramatically in their choices. All of us, at different ends of the globe, have been given different information, usually handed down by the women in our life. As young women we listened and followed the customs of our surroundings.

If you’re Asian it’s possible you may have been told using a tampon was the same as losing your virginity. If you’re an American, after being deemed old enough for a tampon, you may have only seen a tampon with an applicator. In my country town by the river, as a girl who swam every day, I think we skipped past the pad and on to the tampon stage very quickly. My mother was a practical woman, it was a brief conversation “if you want to swim in the carnival this weekend you’ll need to use these”. Done. No need for a long discussion, actually, we really didn’t discuss “it” at all.

As a new expat, within my first few months in Jakarta I soon learnt tampons weren’t for everyone. My Indonesian teacher warned me it was unnatural for anything other than my husband to go “in there”. ย I’m sure she didn’t speak for the entire Indonesian population but it was definitely the belief of a lot of women I met. Even though tampons were taboo, the subject of Aunty Flow coming to visit was one to be shared with everyone. Lets discuss it at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner, lets discuss it at the office, lets just talk about it all day long. “I’m sorry, I wont be at work today, I’ve got my menstruation”. Okay, thanks for that, I’ll see you and your menstruation tomorrow.

A girlfriend of mine who was working as a journalist in Jakarta, got more than she bargained for on a trip to interview the President. On passing through security an entire discussion was had about her tampons. With no idea of what they were holding up to the light, an intense conversation developed. What sort of weapon was she carrying? Was this to be an assassination by tampon?

While living in the US, I made a mercy dash to a pharmacist late on a Sunday evening, I found myself standing alone at a stark white counter. As I handed over my box of little white friends, the assistant made a sideways glance to check the coast was clear, and asked in a hushed tone “what are they like”? It took me awhile to register what she was talking about. Surely she didn’t mean the tampons? She was in her early twenties. “Ummm, good?” I nervously responded through fear of being on hidden camera. “I’ve seen people buy them before, but I’m not sure if I could”.

I realize now, she meant the applicators, or lack thereof. Primarily, the applicator has been the preferred option in the US, although having read a recent article in the Huffington Post regarding OB brand (no applicators) being hard to find and now on the black market, it appears there may be a shift in trend?

For Australian women, there is only one brand of applicator tampon and I think it may just be our American friends that are buying them. I’m afraid I have to agree with this clever woman who described the use of an applicator as “feeling a bit like someone else putting your glasses on”.

There is one common theme though, no matter where you live, those patronizing television commercials stay the same. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. I was so pleased to find this one. Have you seen it?

So, are you brave enough to share how it works in your part of the world? Tampons, pads, moon cups. What are you packing?

  • http://www.smaggle.com/ Smaggle

    Why thank you! Glad to see the great debate continued!

  • http://www.alwayslauren.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    Having been armed and dangerous with Tampax since age 16, I am a devotee. Having crossed the divides from Africa to the Middle East and now Australia it’s been the one constant. Bless. My gobsmacking moment came last year when a colleague looking for nail polish in my drawer saw them and wondered how on earth they worked?:) I handed over the info pamphlet. Hell of an ah-ha moment. Great post x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07573689335191518483 whatsinemmasbrain

    That ad is hilarious!
    I am very curious, but mildly disturbed by the moon cup.. I would love to be brave enough to try it, I have heard great things. I am a tampon girl, although I do have to be specific when my hubby is doing the shopping though as he calls anything period related Meds.
    Great post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16561240096806868742 Toni

    I use a Diva Cup and I LOVE it. Seriously, I wouldn’t go back to tampons if you paid me. Hell of a learning curve, though!
    I’d never thought what it would be like trying to smuggle tampons through customs! It’s embarrassing enough to drop one out of your bag at Playgroup!

  • Twitchy

    Loved the ad! Tampon ads usually are ridiculous, however you will *never* catch me wearing white pants any day of the year. Not in THIS lifetime!
    I have an array, I say a plethora of items to suit the given moment. But I can’t say anything with a cup or a little white telescope is included.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15026987107815016616 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

    @ Emma, in regards to the “meds”. What happened to meds? Do they still exist? I remember a friend doing a school exchange and they told her not to pack them in her suitcase as the plastic pockets exploded due to the air pressure in the plane!

    @Toni – you are now our Diva/Moon Cup expert. I have a traveling question? I’m also keen to give one a try but wondered how they were if the water you were washing them in wasn’t that clean eg. what if you were traveling through India? What are they like for swimming?

  • http://carlaeknight.blogspot.com/ Carla

    Thank God I got rid of the whole mess at 35. However, it was tampons (US with applicator, ugh) and pads because my reproductive system was apparently made up of spare parts put together with duct tape, staples and Elmer’s Glue. Just tampons didn’t do it (even two at a time). I think ads for almost all personal products are absurd. What is wrong with these people? Do they really think we are quite that stupid?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07695203425270299420 Very Bored in Catalunya

    I really do like to dance and twirl and wear sheer white clothing when I get my period, oh and roller skate…mustn’t forget roller skating…. and sometimes my stupid thick husband thinks my tampons are actually sweets…

    Ah body form… body form for you*

    Maybe no-one outside of the UK will get that last line…

    *whistles*

  • http://thetaoofme.com/ thetaoofme.com

    I was a life long American Tampax user, applicator and all, but when I moved to Brazil I had a hard time finding them. The only brand or local grocery or pharmacies carry are OB, so it was either switch or live with pads. Gross.

    It was a somewhat forced and abrupt shove out of my comfort zone. I’m supposed to put my finger where?! During my period?! Ew.

    I do love how tiny they are if I need to carry them in my purse, and now I like them better. Still not ready for the moon/diva cup. I think that’s my ignorance speaking though. Must Google.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17836369141802772172 greenspace

    I’m old enough to have used pads before there were stick-on ones, pads that needed special knickers with a plastic gusset, and loops to put the ties at the ends of the pad through.

    when my mum thought I was old enough to start using tampons it was a huge relief. I had no problem with tampons (other than sometimes needing a pad as well – the belt-&-braces approach – on heavy days).

    applicators seemed bizarre, when I first encountered them – I’d much rather be able to feel with my finger that the tampon was properly in place.

    have never been questioned about tampons while going through customs, but had a deeply embarrassed man in the aeroplane seat next to me say “is that yours?” pointing with horror at the tampon that had fallen out of my pocket onto the seat as I got up to queue for the loo.

    I guess that’s a small shemozzle ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03924035710478459520 EmmaK

    I just shop at Sam’s Club and the only applicator tampons they have are Tampax Pearl – I must say they are fabulous because they have a plastic tube for easy insertion. I just feel bad if they can’t be recycled – I have put the plastic tube in the recyling and hope it will eventually be refashioned as George Bush’s plastic sandals.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17165208811776097332 Heather

    assassination by tampon – my mind is now awhirl with possibilities.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03459711075714147975 Wonder Woman

    I was mortified and more than a little peeved when a SE Asian cashier at Giant asked me point blank, “How do you use these?” with a giant smile on her face. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. I lived in South Korea and figured most all Asians simply did not discuss these things – especially in public with strangers! To my horror, the male bagger (also SE Asian) gleefully, said, “Look here on the box!” to the cashier. I just stared at her in disbelief and asked, “Are you serious?” It didn’t help that it was the middle of July and all my colleagues had already left Doha’s hellish temps to go home for the holidays. I don’t pass judgment on how women handle their periods, but I sure as heck don’t want to discuss it with a random stranger in a public place.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08680909356053872951 Lynn MacDonald

    I no longer need tampons but still find them everywhere and keep a stash in my car…I used to make my husband carry them in his jacket at parties.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04680944355410506460 Emma

    Interesting post, I couldn’t imagine using anything other than tampax with an applicator, in fact I’ve never known anyone who doesn’t! I asked a friend for one the other day and nearly fell over when she said she didn’t use them – she had stopped after having baby as she didn’t like them and used pads…..2 months later I see one in her bag and ask, she replied that she gave it another try as my shock reminded her how she couldn’t once live without them!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08387440075887806465 Roxanne

    Applicator Girl here. Hate the waste but prefer the avoided mess. Nice blog Kirsty –

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01728766138337598902 Tinkertines

    I am a Canadian who has only ever used a tampon with applicator. When I lived in Australia for a few years I was horrified at the thought of sticking my finger up “you know where” during my “you know what” & I was also baffled at the surprised look on my Aussie colleagues face when in an emergency she asked to borrow (have) a tampon & I handed her the monstrosity of one with an applicator. I would have my mom in Canada ship me Tampax care packages so I wouldn’t have to use the others. Now I am planning to move back to Australia permanently and this tampon issue is weighing heavily on me. I do believe i may just have to bite the bullet and join in. When in Rome right!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06259997248324933199 Yummy-Mummy

    I love this blog!!

    My sister-in-law once handed me a Moon Cup in a little velvet drawstring bag, without telling me what it was, and asked for my opinion on it. I thought she was handing me a piece of jewelry. Imagine my shock when I emptied the bag into my hand in front of both of our husbands – just NOT what I was expecting!!

    I hate shopping for sanitary products due to enormous array on sale in the UK. You can guarantee that even if you’ve read all of the packaging, and you’re sure you’re picking up the type/brand you always go for, you’re sure to come away with the wrong one. And don’t ever try to send hubby for them!

    However, I do love that in a lot of places sanitary products are tax-free in the UK.

  • http://www.ourbigexpatadventure.wordpress.com/ KJ

    On a recent trip to Singapore I wound up in hospital at 1am when gastro and period pain formed a powerful alliance, and in my delirium I could not comprehend when they kept saying ‘menses’. “You are having your menses?” I don’t think I had heard that word said out loud. Ever. I had only read it in the ‘facts of life’ book that my mother was given when she was a teen.

    I’m putting my hand up here and going against the flow (ahem) and saying that I’m a pad user. Or a surfboard user, as my husband would say. There’s two reasons for this preference:

    1. I find tampons (only ever without an applicator!) uncomfortable. But do obviously use them if I absolutely, unavoidably have to go swimming during my menses;

    2. My 15 year old step-sister died from tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome. Please don’t sleep in tampons and wash your hands BEFORE you insert them. Please.

    I don’t feel like dancing and twirling during my period, but I always have an urge to grass-ski. Just like the girl in the 1980’s Stayfree print ads………

  • http://themummydichotomy.blogspot.com/ Don’t step on the cracks

    Ah i love this blog post! I am a confirmed tampon user – applicator or not I don’t really mind. I did have a cringeworthy experience having to purchase sanitary supplies in a small Morroccan hill town. There was a lot of pointing and gesturing to get the chap behind the counter to get the box down from the highest furthest point on the shelves which drew a lot of attention to me which i could have done without!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16561240096806868742 Toni

    In response to Kirstys’ questions, about the Diva/moon cup – I’ve never travelled outside of Oz but when I’m not at home, I carry a small bottle of water in my bag and use that to rinse the cup; most public toilets don’t have a hand-basin in the loo cubicle and you do NOT want to be rinsing it in public. And you should wash it with a MILD soap when you can.
    But depending on how heavy your periods are, you may not need to empty it for 12 hours at a time. Most girls find that morning and night is enough.
    The cup holds about 15 ml and I use a pantyliner as well, but only because my Aunt Flow is the gushy kind!
    I’m not a swimmer but I checked the website and they say it’s ‘perfect’ for swimming. So there you go.
    As to actually using it, it’s no messier than a tampon. I know it sounds kinda gross, but think of the impact all those toxins and bleaches have on your body. That can’t be good for you.
    Also the cup is a sturdy silicone product and will last for years, so you’re saving a LOT of money.
    I ordered mine from Canada, about 4 years ago, and I don’t think they’re available in Australia still. It didn’t cost that much considering I went through a large box of tampons and at least a packet of pads every month.
    I’m actually thinking of doing a blog post about this, because I get stacks of questions whenever the subject comes up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08404421856986720832 Kerri Sackville

    Coles brand regular tampons. No applicator. I can’t do the splits on the beach in mid air whilst using them… but then I couldn’t anyway.

  • Twitchy Twitching Very Much Today

    Posting again as I must share a disturbing exchange I had with my bro’s US gf, now living in Aus. She was horrified at our tampon offerings and our ability to touch our own mess. She could not get her appli-pons (my term) here so she gets them from home by the crate. Now I always thought the applicators were made from cardboard. But today there’s plastic ones too. I asked her if they were biodegradable or recyclable. She said she didn’t know, and if not she didn’t care due to their unrivalled convenience. I’m not sure, but she may even *flush* them. I asked: you would rather pollute the oceans/environment than wash your finger? ‘Hell Yeah’.

    Now I’m the one that’s horrified. Imagine the vast numbers of US women with that exact attitude. This oversanitising culture of feminine protection, together with the fact that on the Tampax website there is zero environmental info on the plastic applicators AND they recommend flushing of the tampon- er who’s the crazy ones here?
    http://www.tampax.com/en-US/products/productDetail.aspx?ID=tampax-pearl

  • http://meandmythinkingcap.blogspot.com/ meandmythinkingcap

    funny:)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16561240096806868742 Toni

    Twitchy, according to the Diva Cup website, more than 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999.
    And an estimated 12 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons are dumped into the North American environment each year (1998)

  • Audrey

    Love your blog post and it is the one issue ex-pats living in Australia talk about most! The one item on the top of US and Canadian expat import list is feminine hygiene. Even though Procter & Gamble may make pads all around the world, you can’t buy the same stuff in Australia that you can buy in North America. It’s like it’s ‘old technology’ – stuff we used to buy in the ’80’s in terms of absorbency, adhesive qualities, wings, etc.
    And yes, in North America we are instructed to flush our tampons (not the applicators) – that’s what waste treatment plants are for (even though many of us don’t agree with that practice). Heck, my mother used to tell me to rip up used pads and flush them. Of course that was before the super-absorbent cores and plastic backings.
    So yes, give me my plastic applicators and Always pads. We are creatures of habit and loyal to our brands. Our only salvation will be menopause!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10806893263466924095 Rachel

    This reminds me of a conversation I had during my first expat experience – over 20 years ago in the Middle East. A friend from the US was there, and had decided to make it her permanent home. She was explaining to me how she knew she’d crossed over from “expat” to “local” and told me: “I know I’ve totally gone native now that I no longer waste precious baggage space with tampons every time I travel back from the US.” Well for me, 20 something years later and married to a “local” I still give top baggage space priority to tampons!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10344109843290194780 DrMom

    You’ve done it again Kirsty! Posted yet another hilarious piece! Tampons: any kind used to prefer the applicator but almost can’t buy them thinking about the environment. And with my “Seasonale” pills form the USA, flow only comes 4 times a year ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06972149809628579689 Alexis Jacobs

    This entry is the funniest I have read in a while. And SO true!

    Tampax Pearl is all I will use. (Yes I am an American who MUST have an applicator!)Being an expat in Japan requires me to be the one who brings in a year’s worth of tampons after my homeleave. I think the Japanese customs is scared of them. I purposely open the boxes and lay them on top of the suitcases I am sneaking items in that aren’t allowed and when the customs officer open the suitcase they quickly let me go through. I managed to get 6 things of bacon smuggled in last year.

    GREAT entry!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12423596380552699521 MmeLindt

    Great post.

    I spent the first 15 years of my expat life smuggling Tampax back from UK into Germany. Then I read about the Mooncup. On my next trip to UK, I wandered casually into a small shop in Edinburgh, browsed for a while then plucked up the courage to go over to the spotty youth at the counter.

    When I asked if they stocked Mooncups, he blushed and plucked two boxes off a shelf, muttering, “Which size do you need”.

    There is not much more embarrassing than being asked by a 19 year male shop assistant what size your fanjo is.

    Since I have already had a VB, and was over 30 years old, I went for “bucket sized”, paid and left rapidly.

    I do always worry about travelling with my mooncup in case I get stopped by security. That really is an item that you do not want to unwrap and show to a customs officer.

  • Miko

    Great post, Kirsty! And Alexis, your smuggling strategy is hilarious!

    Canadian here and can’t believe I started out in North America and didn’t realise that the women in the US were so attached to their applicators.

    Kind started on the no-applicator route because that’s what my mom used, but the environment and that they fit in that little pocket in my jeans has kept me using them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00271105596032720148 Mrs. E

    The tampon debate. Sometimes, I wish I could use them but, I can’t get those things to stay in place. They just dont work right with my body. Great blog. I’m following back. Thank you for the follow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09646026064261601469 Laura, Happy Homemaker UK

    Enjoyed not only the post, but the comments too? Who knew? That advert – really funny XOL

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13272090974052486539 Mrs Woog

    I cannot stand applicator tampons. Have had a bad experience…..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04729571991002856725 gilly

    I can do it either way but I prefer a helping…erm…hand? Applicator for me which is like finding a needle in a haystack here in Australia.
    How about these re-usable liners though?? noice!
    http://planetgilly.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12026333638078253532 Sarah

    I have to say that this was possibly the last thing I thought I’d be reading today. I haven’t laughed so much in ages. And just your regular tampon here.

  • http://www.allconsuming.com.au/ kim at allconsuming

    I thought applicator tampons were just for when you were on your monthly Ls – you know, when you’d just bleed over everything even if you wrapped yourself in plastic? Was sure that was what had killed Laura Palmer.

    And I adore that ad. As someone bleeding on this very day, I love a good twirl. In slow motion. In my white spandex.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17796531078469355319 LJ

    how hilarious.

    I am a tampon user. I hate pads. But since having my girls and a few…err…complications, tampons just don’t really work. Sigh.

    PS. Have made mention of you in todays post:
    http://myown-twohands.blogspot.com/2011/02/stylin.html

  • http://carlaeknight.blogspot.com/ Carla

    I choked on my rice cakes this morning. Thank you MmeLindt for the funniest comment I have read in a very long time. “There is not much more embarrassing than being asked by a 19 year male shop assistant what size your fanjo is.” I have to agree. Not much embarrasses me, but even that might have given me pause.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02286360496206724896 Tammi

    Great post!!
    Due to being an extremely heavy bleeder I have no choice but to use both tampons and pads ๐Ÿ™ during the first 2-3 days I am having to change both at least once an hour, the last few days when it slowly starts to ease off I daren’t not wear a pad as I tend to flood unexpectedly.
    I am intrigued by the diva/moon cup, have never heard of them before.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07422068499429667636 Posie Patchwork

    First of, having to pack tampons, pads, whatever when you’re travelling (not living overseas) means bummer, you’re going to get your periods on holiday, argh!!
    I think the one time i had to ‘borrow’ a tampon from a friend at school & it had an applicator, i had to pull it out of the ‘pushy’ part & insert as per normal tampon sans plunger.
    I’m just glad mine come the exact same hour, 28 days apart, likc clockwork, even after 4 children, years of breastfeeding & 20 odd years of periods, i’m a robot. So for me it’s Tuesday afternoon to Friday, just 3.5 days of a very light periods & never on a weekend, yippee!! My eldest is in high school but i still think a long way off periods, she has a just-in-case purse in her bag with a pad, but she’s sporty like me, i think she’ll move quickly into tampons-for-swimming/ sport reasons quickly. I thought it was pretty normal to use tampons during the day, pads at night?? My sister & i did that. Love Posie

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06002205909002689159 Amy

    Hooray for tampons!
    I too was faced with having to use them due to my constant love of being in the river! Saved me many weekends ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16159617095990116192 denise

    Funny and entertaining post! I enjoyed the read and comparisons between different countries. Your life story is so diverse! Lucky you! X

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07623883134415870624 Sarah Derrig

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I live in Doha as well – glad to know there is another blogger out there in Qatar!
    Sarah
    http://www.ladysadiesemporium.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11454671322108137234 kooki

    This post made me realize once again how kooky I am. Yes, you may be surprised that I forget sometimes.
    Tampon or pad brand loyalty? I’d rather pack my bags with books.
    Not wanting to get blood on fingers? Have you ever cleaned up a baby’s projectile diarrhea?
    Feeling like the ocean’s long-term cleanliness is more important than the short-term cleanliness of my moon cup or glad rags? Well, you got me. Great for home use but not recommended unless you have access to clean water, or else you might get a little kooky too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03596142995497292286 MaidInAustralia

    Cheap and cheerful home-brand ones for me. Of course without the applicator. And a liner for back-up. They need to sop up blood. That’s it. Gross I know. I remember travelling through the US and having to use the ones with the applicator, and being totally confused. And yeah, having to import loads of them while travelling in foreign countries where they may not have what I want. I must say that when I was a girl my mother thought anyone who used tampons was a tart (go figure) and I had to buy them secretly. What was up with that?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15099323034241031373 Leanne

    I have always lived in Australia, yet I grew up using Tampax with applicator. After having 4 children, tampons dont have the same effect as they used to. I also lost someone to Toxic Shock Syndrome after using a tampon overnight, she was 17.

    I now use a mixture of ‘normal’ pads and cloth pads to try and help out in this disaster stricken country, by reducing my contribution to excessive waste.

    It’s so interesting reading about differing cultures regarding something we all have to deal with.

    Leanne xo

  • http://www.adventuresinexpatland.com/ linda@adventuresinexpatland.com

    I don’t know what’s funnier – that you wrote this post in the first place or the energetic comments!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05580176032040910218 Louise

    Hi Kirsty,
    Love your post and blog! Soon will be following :).
    Thanks for your comments on my blog,
    L.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14993934232617420348 Deidre

    Since moving to Australia I’ve been using tampons sans applicator which kind of grossed me out at first. but I am a pro now.

    The mooncup gives me the heebie jeebies. Just sayin.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14794655013673748992 River

    I’m so glad all that is behind me now. Like greenspace, I remember the “plastic” knickers with the little hooks. I also remember never being able to use the regular tampons, I always needed the super absorbent ones. I never had trouble with them after having my babies either, 4 vaginal births, no post natal stretching. Just lucky I guess.

  • Anonymous

    aussie girl here, tampons sans applicators all the way! my mum married an american, and when i was visiting her all i could get my hands on were the ones with the fiddly stupid applicators…. ever pulled one of these apart? (or had the tampon fall out of the applicator?) they look weird! nothing like what i class as a normal tampon

    and if you put them in via the applicator, and it pinches your skin in between the two pieces of plastic/cardboard when you push them together… AGONY

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13960276167677132860 blueviolet

    I’ve only ever used tampons with applicators. It just seems the easiest and quickest to me, but my daughter she likes the diva cup. I can’t do that.

  • Lisa

    Hysterical!

    I’m American, so started out with the applicator type (WHY is this?), but quickly switched after an Australian expat friend showed me the light in Japan. Why one earth would you use something you can’t slip into your pocket? Or pack a years supply into a couple of pairs of shoes? Indeed! Now the applicators kind of creep me out and seem incredibly wasteful.

    Haven’t tried the Diva Cup yet but hear rave reviews from friends, including one living in India, who probably uses filtered water to clean at home….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13960276167677132860 blueviolet

    I’ve only ever used tampons with applicators. It just seems the easiest and quickest to me, but my daughter she likes the diva cup. I can’t do that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11454671322108137234 kooki

    This post made me realize once again how kooky I am. Yes, you may be surprised that I forget sometimes.
    Tampon or pad brand loyalty? I’d rather pack my bags with books.
    Not wanting to get blood on fingers? Have you ever cleaned up a baby’s projectile diarrhea?
    Feeling like the ocean’s long-term cleanliness is more important than the short-term cleanliness of my moon cup or glad rags? Well, you got me. Great for home use but not recommended unless you have access to clean water, or else you might get a little kooky too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07623883134415870624 Sarah Derrig

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I live in Doha as well – glad to know there is another blogger out there in Qatar!
    Sarah
    http://www.ladysadiesemporium.blogspot.com

  • Twitchy Twitching Very Much To

    Posting again as I must share a disturbing exchange I had with my bro’s US gf, now living in Aus. She was horrified at our tampon offerings and our ability to touch our own mess. She could not get her appli-pons (my term) here so she gets them from home by the crate. Now I always thought the applicators were made from cardboard. But today there’s plastic ones too. I asked her if they were biodegradable or recyclable. She said she didn’t know, and if not she didn’t care due to their unrivalled convenience. I’m not sure, but she may even *flush* them. I asked: you would rather pollute the oceans/environment than wash your finger? ‘Hell Yeah’.

    Now I’m the one that’s horrified. Imagine the vast numbers of US women with that exact attitude. This oversanitising culture of feminine protection, together with the fact that on the Tampax website there is zero environmental info on the plastic applicators AND they recommend flushing of the tampon- er who’s the crazy ones here?
    http://www.tampax.com/en-US/products/productDetail.aspx?ID=tampax-pearl

    • User

      Tell your bro’s US gf NOT to ever flush the applicators, or the tampons! They clogged the plumbing in my mom’s guest house when I was in high school, and it cost a lot to fix.

  • http://thetaoofme.com/ thetaoofme.com

    I was a life long American Tampax user, applicator and all, but when I moved to Brazil I had a hard time finding them. The only brand or local grocery or pharmacies carry are OB, so it was either switch or live with pads. Gross.

    It was a somewhat forced and abrupt shove out of my comfort zone. I’m supposed to put my finger where?! During my period?! Ew.

    I do love how tiny they are if I need to carry them in my purse, and now I like them better. Still not ready for the moon/diva cup. I think that’s my ignorance speaking though. Must Google.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17836369141802772172 greenspace

    I’m old enough to have used pads before there were stick-on ones, pads that needed special knickers with a plastic gusset, and loops to put the ties at the ends of the pad through.

    when my mum thought I was old enough to start using tampons it was a huge relief. I had no problem with tampons (other than sometimes needing a pad as well – the belt-&-braces approach – on heavy days).

    applicators seemed bizarre, when I first encountered them – I’d much rather be able to feel with my finger that the tampon was properly in place.

    have never been questioned about tampons while going through customs, but had a deeply embarrassed man in the aeroplane seat next to me say “is that yours?” pointing with horror at the tampon that had fallen out of my pocket onto the seat as I got up to queue for the loo.

    I guess that’s a small shemozzle ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://www.smaggle.com/ Smaggle

    Why thank you! Glad to see the great debate continued!

  • Joburg Expat

    What a great post, from the idea to even write about it to the writing itself! I’m a German-turned-American and have to agree with most everyone here about the supremacy of the regular tampon, sans applicator. I was an O.B. fan most of my life and it’s true, they are harder and harder to find, especially the “ultra” size you need after four children. Now living here in South Africa I’ve given up on finding them so briefly was importing them from the US like you, and I resisted the local brand at first, but you know what? Sometimes it’s worth a try! These Lil-Lets are like OB but they twist open (I mean the plastic wrap around them) instead of having to pull that little thingy which is so much easier to handle!

  • ValerieHamer

    Hilarious ad. Thanks for posting it.

    I’m British but have lived in Asia for 11 years. Tampons are the one thing I tell all women coming over to bring as they are hard to find – or at least something similar to those at home are.

    The thing that blows my mind if the pad section of the shops here. Considering that the majority of Korean and Japanese women are on the slighter side I can’t imagine why they need elephant sized sanitary towels! These are not special post maternity pads – rather the norm in most places.

  • silly.gilly

    I was a pad girl which my mum started me on. Then became a tampon user in my early adulthood. But really, tampons are seriously not for me. How can you use something which has a cotton string which literally ‘wicks’ urine up your clacker!!?? I found that I would need to change my tampon every time I went to the ladies for a wee. Very wasteful and a pain in the ass. Well, not literally.
    So I took the plunge and bought a Diva Cup from the US via Ebay. LOVE IT. SERIOUSLY. a) I don’t have any wicking problems any more. b) I’m not spending $$$ every month on pads/tampons. c) The earth is a happier planet now with less waste from me. d) I can’t feel it in me at all. e) No smell. Seriously, how bad do pads smell sometimes!?
    So please others tell me I”m not the only one who has wicking issues???? It’s something I would love to find out.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15810396232119965176 No Te Enredes

    Its been five years since i am wearing tampons. I would say its been such a wonderful experience after using tampons.Tampons are great and works well during critical days of month and more of that very effective while you are travelling.
    _______________
    uso tampones

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  • turtledove

    Have to say the Moon Cup / Diva Cup is the way to go – especially if away from home travelling. No waste. No cost. Complete ease. I started on pads as a girl, then quickly went to Tampons. Post child-birth my periods got so heavy that every extra super strength could leak in an hour. Been using the Mooncup since February. Not had one leak. Can’t feel it at all. Travelled around Egypt with it (take a bottle of water with you to the loo to help clean it out) and off you go. I use the cold water sterilising tablets when travelling for cleaning before / after period. Really you must all try it.

  • Judy Curran

    Oh I remember searching for Tampax when I first came to the Philippines. Of course there were none, but one girl in the pharmacy misunderstood my question and repeated “Thumbtacks?” OUCH!

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  • LenPan

    Mooncup…:-)