(Warning: graphic, bloody post ahead. Just for you. Enjoy!)
There's something I would like to know, and it is this: Who would say, I know!, instead of the currently available feminine hygiene technology, I'm going to take a balloon, attach it to a fist-width wire hoop to form a little cup, then shove that up my hoo-ha to catch the drippings!
A hundred years ago, I can see how some poor, frustrated woman, hands chafed from scrubbing rusty stains from her monthly rag pile, might have been desperate enough to give it a shot. Once. But now? In the age of minipads, maxipads, pantiliners and those liberating tampons--with or without applicators!--of gymnasts and swimmers and office workers? None of which require rag-scrubbing? Technology that has revitalized the white skirt and pant market?
Is it the handsome little box with its modern-woman design? The assumption that newer is better? Why INSTEAD?
Perhaps, instead of being so INSTEAD negative, I should look deeper inside the problem and consider whether it might, in fact, lie--at least in part--in me, instead of, well, INSTEAD.
I am a fairly small person. Not very tall--my license says 5'5" but that's a sixteen-year-old's exaggeration that I could not correct without shaming myself to some clerk at the DMV--not very broad, not very big anywhere (except my abundantly round posterior, the bane of my jeans-buying life). Apparently, I am rather small on the inside, too, though I can't say it's ever been an issue before. More importantly, I also have one absolutely fatal flaw when using INSTEAD: short fingers.
You see, to insert the Instead Softcup, one must fold the sides of the "cup" together using thumb and forefinger, and insert it all the way back till it completely covers the cervix. For me, the problems started immediately--and not just because I was attempting to insert the cup pre-filled with precious man-juice, but because the thing is just...just...huge. Not as big as a baby's head, sure, but I can tell you that I would never willingly have put anything else of that circumference up there. Plus, how could I possibly get two of my child-sized fingers in all the way to my cervix? Not. Likely.
But we were desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures and a certain amount of foolishness, so I soldiered on, poking and prodding and spilling some. And, miraculously, by dint of extreme effort and a variation on the Dead Bug yoga position, I was able to get the thing in place. Whew!
Though feeling a little bruised and battered, I was pleased to notice that I couldn't really feel the cup any longer, much like a properly inserted tampon. Ahh, I thought, now I don't have to worry about it for twelve full hours! Bliss!
For a moment. The next moment, I was struck with the sudden horror of realization: How will I ever get it out?
Let me be clear. At this point, I could no longer touch it, even just the tiniest bit, with my longest finger. Nothing. So I scrambled for the instructions on the stylish-looking little box, sure that they would have some simple answer for me.
Instead? "To remove INSTEAD, simply hook your finger under the rim and slowly pull." They're joking. Surely I'm missing something--that can't be the whole of the instructions. Can't. Be.
Visions of having to explain myself to some twenty-something E.R. resident--"You see, my brother-in-law was there so we couldn't have sex, and we're trying to have a baby, so I figured..."--who then spreads the story around the world till I'm up there with Richard Gere and the gerbil. No. I just couldn't face that. Must pull myself together. Let's see what else the box says. Hmmm. "Pour retirer INSTEAD, il suffit de glisser votre doigt sous le contour et de tirer delicatement." I don't think that would help, even if I did speak French.
So, I decide to go to sleep and face the problem when those twelve hours are up. No sense worrying about it now. After a glass of wine and a good book, I manage to nod off, and the night passes peacefully.
Next morning, however, I'm awakened by tiny cramping sensations in my pelvic walls. Oh, joy. Had almost forgotten. I head for the bathroom, fervently hoping that the device has dislodged itself somehow and I will be able to retrieve it without further ado.
Ha. Hahahaha. Still can't reach it, even with a fingertip.
Suddenly, I am struck with the grim reality of what I must do: Yes. Surely this will work. It must.
I take my favorite pair--for eyebrows--and soak them in boiling water for thirty seconds. Then I wash them with antibacterial dish soap and rinse in the boiling water.
The problem with the tweezers, however, is probably not sterility. It is that they are surprisingly sharp. And, when you can't see what it is that you're plucking, it's hard to tell whether you're grasping cup or vaginal wall. Perhaps if I'd had an adjustable light source and a mirror, I might have made a better job of it. As it was, suffice it to say that I didn't. Had to rely on "feel".
When I eventually, through blind luck, tweezered the rim of the cup and pulled--slowly, delicatement!--it felt like the cup was a cheese grater and my coochie a part-skim mozzarella. I shrieked. Clearly desperate and utterly unwilling to let go and try again, however, I just kept pulling, millimeter by millimeter, till it was out.
When all was over, I found myself, a) extremely relieved, and b) trickling a little stream of blood into my underpants.
And then I giggled, thinking, someone out there would be catching this flow in an INSTEAD cup.
For me, just pass the Lightdays, please.