Advertisements are a lot more explicit now. Maybe whatever held us back in the past has long since been rendered quaint by the required recitation of side-effects from the drug peddlers. By the time you’ve said “uncontrollable erection” and “anal seepage” out loud, a line of delicacy has been crossed.

Even so, Always Maxi Pads startled me with their “What The Gush Moments.” You know what? Those ugly technicolor bears with their clean heinies can go straight to hell, but this I love. It’s a sly nod to a vulgarity, paired with a 100% accurate, relatable description. Not only that, but when they do the little demonstration of their product sopping up liquid, they use red liquid.
They used to use blue liquid. Mediterranean Blue. Like this is a freaking holiday on the French Riviera. That’s how delicate our sensibilities used to be. Pretty sure some men thought even that was gross, and to those guys, I say, button up, Buttercup. At least they’re not showing chunks.
Shoot, way back when, “feminine hygiene” ads didn’t even really say what they were advertising. You could imagine it was deodorant. Or little white shorts. Or swimsuits. Or maybe they were just celebrating Freedom. Oh, say can you see? Sure hope not!

But the What The Gush Moment gets my attention. Because that is absolutely, totally a thing. You’re going about your day and then very suddenly, with no warning, you have a Situation, and you freeze in your tracks to give your mattress-sized pad the best opportunity to Control The Situation and not breach the dike. As it were. Then you’re mincing toward the bathroom only moving your legs from the knees down. It’s been fifteen years for me, but when I see the faces of the women in the ad suddenly registering a Moment, I know exactly how they feel.

Here’s a thing. If you want to see a roomful of women pee their pants laughing–there’s Poise for that–just say “The average amount of blood lost during a menstrual period is six to eight teaspoons.”
Who were they studying? Disney princesses?
Teaspoons. This is a plug for the metric system if I’ve ever heard one.
Hey. If they’re making something that will handle the Situation without requiring you to tie a sweater around your waist just to make an exit, more power to them. When I was first introduced to the joys of womanhood, my mother set me up with my very own napkin and belt. Which was no doubt an improvement on whatever sorry improvisation she grew up with on the farm in North Dakota. But let’s put it this way: when they came out with adhesive strips for your underpants, it had the weight of a technological breakthrough. Because the thing about that belt is you could get the whole contraption centered just so, and five walking steps later it was crawling up your ass and you were backing into the corner of a table to shove it back toward the front. There you are, talking to a nice boy, just, you know, casually backing into furniture with a little humpy-movement hoping you look normal. And you are not. You are embarking on a special Ladies’ Cruise with 480 ports-of-call and if you sail out of any one of them with clean underwear, Disney would like a word.