“We can all be leaders, not just bleeders.”
There is one specific type of womanly anxiety I can only imagine is comparable to when guys get an inconvenient boner and need to cover it up: perioding on something noticeable.
It’s not annoying enough that we have to shed some cells and remember if we already put a tampon in there, we also have to worry about spontaneously leaving a bullseye on some new sheets.
No, these aren’t from Target, but with that stain, they might as well be.
Regardless if you’re Taylor Swift, the hostess at your favorite sushi restaurant or Queen Elizabeth 30 years ago, these women, near and far, have ridden the tidal wave and probably have a funny story or two to share about it.
After one compelling artist’s upload was banned from Instagram for featuring an artsy photo of a bloodstain through her sweatpants, it got us thinking about why discussing menstruation has to be so taboo?
These fair-warning, first-time, hilariously mortifying tales are our unifiers, our way of relating to one another. It’s another level of passage into sisterhood.
In spirit of solidarity, we asked Millennial women to share their personal period moments that, in hindsight, served to build their character and left a mark on their lives today, so to speak.
You’ll find that periods don’t need to signal the ends of the things, especially in the cases of new relationships; there’s something about pool parties that makes them defining social situations. And no matter how old you get, you never forget that one time.
Periods aren’t disgusting or shameful or uncomfortable…
...Until they become the faint background of someone else’s sleep routine.
Here are 11 women on the time they left their mark. The names have been changed. Period.
The Ol’ Switcheroo
So I was hooking up with this guy, and at that point, I didn't have my period. We have sex, it's great (I think, but probably not) and go to sleep.
We wake up the next morning, and I go to get dressed while he's in the bathroom.
Upon taking the blankets off of me, I realize I destroyed his sheets — I couldn't even conveniently cover-a-spot-with-a-pillow type ordeal.
He comes out of the bathroom, and I somehow convince him to leave the room. I lock the door ass naked and rip the sheet off the bed (thank God there was another underneath it that wasn't stained).
I rolled it up in a ball and threw it in the bathroom trash, then covered it with two rolls of unwrapped toilet paper. I leave and freak out for the next week.
A week goes by, and I get a text: "Hey, next time you come over, don't mention where we slept. I lied and switched rooms with my roommate... that was actually his bed...."
I got away with it! We don't speak, but I'll probably send him this article when it's published. Shout out to you and your 5'7 frame, Jordan Kleinfeld.
- Leslie, 25
Dad, Nuns and Maxi Pads
High school. Catholic high school. It was the day you paid $10 to dress down. The jeans I was wearing had a small hole. They sent me to detention and called my father to bring me new pants that would fit with "Dress Down Day" code.
My father came from work, to home, to school to bring me these jeans, and when I received them, inside the jeans was underwear with some sort of pad -- maybe one of those panty liners.
I was 16, totally can't remember. Upon seeing, I "prayed" my father didn't notice. Totally mortified. He must have gotten them from the floor.
- Natalie, 34
When I first started hooking up with my now-boyfriend (like three years ago), I was finishing up my cycle but was too shy to tell him.
We started fooling around and he was doing his thing... down there... I noticed afterward that he had dried blood on his hands, and I was MORTIFIED.
He was this really cool, not-a-care-in-the-world frat guy, and I was a little, I-always-get-all-A's type.
Afterward, I tried to hold his hand and casually rub it off which I’m SURE didn't work. I never mentioned it to him, and to this day we haven't talked about it. I still have no idea if he ever noticed. Cheers.
- Emily, 26
My boyfriend got a new Tempur-Pedic mattress. To celebrate, we went out and got drunk. I forgot I had my period.
No. I forgot I cared about my period.
No. I forgot I cared about his sheets.
We wake up with stained sheets. Thank God it didn’t get on the new mattress. Psych. We’re not dating anymore. He says it’s not because of the mattress.
- Aimee, 23
I was in some relatively suburban-ish town in Northern Europe with my then-boyfriend for a weekend, when frustratingly, I got my ladyfriend (vacation periods SUCK by the way).
We stayed at this freakin’ adorable B&B that was run by this super flamboyant gay guy, and being the only guests I think he had all week, we really got a lot of attention, which was lovely.
Long story short, the boy still wanted to have sex ("Really? OK, OK, I don't care c'mon.") even though I was ehhh about it.
We ended up STEALING THE SHEETS the next morning because we were too embarrassed to tell the owner, and I feel really bad because the guy was so super nice to us.
We left him a big tip and threw them out at the train station.
- Erica, 27
On the first day of my internship, I was running late trying to pick out the perfect outfit and decided on a nice professional looking pencil skirt.
I left the apartment so quick that I hadn't realized I didn't put in a tampon, and well, it was more ferocious than the Niagara Falls.
I could feel Mother Nature calling, and that’s when I felt something plop onto my shoe.
I looked down and was horrified to see that a blob of blood dropped right onto my foot.
I slowly turned my leg and even worse, it had made its way all down the back of my leg.
Walking like I was smuggling drugs in my vagina, I kept my back to the wall and ran to the nearest bathroom. I tied my jacket around my waist the rest of the day.
Instead of looking like a professional intern I looked like a professional camp counselor.
- Katie, 23
Flight Or Fight Response
The first time I got my period was the night before leaving for Turkey with just my dad.
The first day, I sat with my father through a nine-and-a-half hour flight wearing a pad for the first time.
Naturally, I did something wrong and got blood all over my sweatpants.
I couldn't change during the layover from Istanbul to Izmir because all of my clothes were in my checked baggage.
When we finally arrived to my grandma's house, good ol' dad decided it would be great to tell my entire family -- uncles and male cousins included -- that I had "become a woman."
If that didn't kill me from embarrassment, nothing can.
- Amanda, 29
Losing Your Cool In The Pool
At the end of eighth grade, this girl, who was one of the "cool girls," had a huge pool party at her house.
Somehow, I got myself an invite and was super pumped that I would finally have a chance to hang out with the "in crowd" and prove I was worthy of acceptance.
ANYWAY, I was new to the world of womanhood, only having gotten my period once before, so I had no idea when to expect this seemingly mysterious plague to invade my uterus again.
I show up to the party, ready to show the world what I'm made of. I’m having the best time of my young life -- I'm talking cracking jokes, winning games of ping-pong, generally crushing it in the cool category and desperately hoping this is when it would all change for me.
Cut to me and the cool kids hanging in the hot tub, jamming out to Mariah Carey songs when all of a sudden, I get what I think is a stomach ache from stuffing my face earlier in the day.
I play it cool, get out of the water and go to the bathroom. That's when I see the massacre that has happened in my bathing suit bottoms.
I grabbed my towel to wrap around my waist and stealthily found a friend with a cell phone to borrow, because OF COURSE I'm not allowed to have a cell phone of my own (my parents really killed my cool points in all aspects of childhood). I made the desperate call for a pick up as fast as humanly possible.
I made my way to the deck and sat perfectly still, towel wrapped around me for dear life, until my mom showed up almost an hour later.
I barely said goodbye as I darted to the door (butt first) and into the safety of my mom's car, where I refused to speak until we got home, mostly out of anger that I had crashed and burned during my shot in the spotlight.
Thankfully, we had already graduated from eighth grade at this time, so I never had to see most of those people again. Also, thank goodness I didn't peak in elementary school.
- Evelyn, 25
In high school, I went on a second date with this guy I really liked to a local mountain to ski. I thought I would be cute, and he would have to help me out. WRONG.
Halfway through the day, halfway down a mountain, I realized that not only has my period arrived, but it has gone straight through my jeans. And everyone could see.
Luckily, we had a couple friends along -- including my best friend -- and I fled to the bathroom as soon as she could help me get my skis off.”
Weirdly, he didn't notice and still wanted to date me. I broke up with him a month later because he wore a red polo on Valentine's Day and took me to a sandwich shop.
- Stacey, 27
Snap Out Of It
I'm pretty sure I was wearing snapaway pants when I first got my period (I was a tomboy. Shut up.), and I was in total denial.
I slept over at my best friend's house, and we performed Spice Girls songs in her parents’ bathroom (they had this little platform that looked like a stage).
I actually refused to pee or use the bathroom until I got home the next day.
I had so much toilet paper there that I'm pretty sure I'll never get pregnant.
- Monica, 26.
The Mom Bomb
This was my first time being invited to a boy's birthday party. Seventh-grade POOL PARTY. Big f*cking deal.
Whilst putting on my bathing suit, I noticed blood. I knew exactly WTF was going on.
Conflicted because I knew if I told my mother she wouldn't let me go, I decided I would wear a pad and just "dip my feet in the pool." I wasn't going down like this.
I tried to lie and say my friend’s mom was giving me a lift (it was really her older brother), but my mom insisted on driving me so that I could show up afraid and friendless.
Forty-five minutes later, we arrived at this mansion of a home. I got out of the car to ring the doorbell, and no one answered.
I had a suspicious feeling that we were at the wrong house, but I was so mortified of my circumstances that I couldn't bring myself to try and find out.
I got back in the car, and my mom was furious because she assumed it was a prank. There I sat in the backseat of my mom’s car as she drove us away, bloody and alone.
- Caroline, 24