My husband is genuinely smart. He’s an actual rocket scientist, with the PhDs and post-doctoral degrees from fancy universities to back up his title. The man can land a rocket on the moon, but heaven help him if someone asks about female anatomy.
Maybe it is because he spent his formative years at Catholic school… maybe his family is simply old-fashioned. But despite having a mother and a sister, he has no idea how periods work.
In our fifteen years together, I’ve done my level best to correct his misconceptions. I birthed two GIRL children with him in the delivery room. He’s had ample opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the land down under.
And yet… I still had to sit him down and give him the period talk. And y’all, it was 10x worse, and 10x funnier than when I did the same for my daughters.
Our entree to periods happened during covid. I don’t mean that generically – my older daughter was home with actual covid when she woke me at 4am to tell me she had cramps. With face masks and lysol filling the air, I had to pick my battles. I shoved a pad in her hands and called it a week.
The second round hit during xmas – another quiet family time. This time, I gave her period underwear. In her stocking, obviously. Special delivery from Mrs. Claus.
And that brings me to her third period. With her systems finally settling into a steady state, it was time for the tampax talk. She swims once a week.. we have a beach house… tampons need to be part of her vocabulary. But she’s an absolute ninny and my vague discussions only made her fear worse. I was forced to break out an actual tampon and use my best flight attendant voice to demonstrate how it is used. She alternated between swooning into a near faint and gagging. Meanwhile her younger sister disassembled and reassembled the tampon in record time. One of these kids will be fine. Unfortunately, not the one who currently has her period.
And that brings me back to my husband. I believe in equality. Yes, I have to give the talk, but he has to let me laugh hysterically about it later. Everyone pitches in and the job gets done. So at 10pm, with a glass of wine in my hand, I launched into a recount of my impromptu sexual health lesson.
I was not prepared for the questions. From him, that is.
He nervously cleared his throat, summoning the courage to interrupt my tale.
“Can she run while she’s on her period?”
“If she has a tampon in, won’t it fall out if she pees? Wait… can she pee if she’s wearing a tampon?”
“Why would you ask her if she’s learned about intercourse? What does that have to do with anything?”
Omg, honey, it is the SAME HOLE. The tampon goes THERE. The pee comes out from another spot.
My daughter was dry-heaving at the thought of sticking something inside herself…. It took all my energy to hold myself together. Wait a few years, honey…. I wished I’d gotten her reaction on film.
But it turns out the person I should have been documenting was my incredibly intellectual husband. While her confusion and heavy doubts are understandable, his are not. All jokes about ‘book smart’ versus ‘street smart’ aside, it is a travesty that a grown man – a grown MARRIED father of GIRLS – still doesn’t understand how the female body works.
I laughed for a good, long time that evening. I laughed harder than I had in ages upon ages. But a couple of days later, with my abs still sore from the unexpected workout, I’m finding the situation to be more boohoo than haha.
Boy moms – please do the world a favor. Teach your kids about anatomy and periods. Just because it doesn’t apply to them today, doesn’t mean it won’t come in handy in the future. Although it was patently and absurdly hilarious, no woman should have to teach her husband about periods. Period.
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