When I was a kid, at a time when the bodies of women were a curious mystery to me, my best friend’s brother told me that tampons were ladies cigars and they smoked them in the bathroom.
As a young single mom, I was forced on occasion to send my sons to the nearby grocery store to get them. I’d give Sam and Benny a coupon and tell them to get exactly what was on the picture. They took this job very seriously and were proud that they could do something important for me.
One time I caught Sam and Benny playing with discarded tampon cardboards outside in the dirt next to the house. They were using them for GI Joe missiles.
While we were cleaning up the house preparing for his First Communion party, Benny came out of the bathroom clutching a fistful of tampons and declared, “There’s going to be a lot of women here and we’re going to need more of these.”
Another time, I was busy volunteering for the church festival staffing a betting game, when I knew by the way I was feeling that the dreadful event was about to surprise me. I sent Benny home to get me a tampon. He came back with two. “I know how you women get,” he said.
I know it’s unusual but my boys were very comfortable with tampons although I don’t think they knew exactly what they were for. Maybe they thought I smoked them in the bathroom.