Every woman remembers her first time. Where she was, what she was wearing, who she was with and what it felt like. It’s often painful, awkward and just plain gross, and I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about the first time you got your period.
Even though we live in a world that has seen many iterations of The Vagina Monologues, women still find it irksome to speak candidly about their periods. Sure, it came at a time when most of us were not yet comfortable in our bodies, but we lived through it and should be able to reflect on it in hindsight. After all, it’s a very important step in becoming a woman, so even if it wasn’t the classiest of experiences, we shouldn’t be afraid to share it.
This was precisely the goal of underwear brand Ask Kate’s new video, entitled “First Time.” They asked 20 women to talk about what it was like getting their period for the first time, in order to show people it should be given as much attention as the first time you have sex. Here’s what transpired.
I was so blown away by the candor in this video, I thought I’d keep the ball rolling.
1. “I felt like a freak.”
Reddit user CatalystEXE is one of many women who felt like getting your period made you different in a bad way. We have to keep sharing our period stories, if only to prevent reactions like this.
“I was extremely worried. I felt like such a freak when I woke up to blood in my underwear. I kept it a secret for weeks because I thought I was sick and I didn’t want to go to the doctors. I thought it was gross and unnatural because my mother taught me at a very young age that boys don’t get periods.”
2. “I hid it for years.”
UptightSodomite seemed totally fine handling this life-changing experience on her own, but sadly it was because she felt like it was something she had to hide.
“I was in sixth grade band class, feeling myself grow increasingly wetter. It made me feel uneasy, so I asked if I could go to the bathroom. There, I discovered a bloody mess in my panties. I did my best to wipe most of it away with tissues, then had to use the tissues as a makeshift pad, because there weren’t any pads or tampons anywhere, not even when I asked the adults.
Luckily, it was the last class of the day, so I just went home afterwards and took care of it by myself. I hid it from my family for years.”
3. Adventures in babysitting
This is what I call getting stuck in a sticky situation.
VampireChild: “I was out babysitting and remember wondering why my panties were getting soaked, went to the bathroom and found out. Didn’t have any supplies with me so I was stuck like that for a few more hours. When I got home I texted my mother, grabbed stuff from her bathroom and tossed my underwear.”
4. Tennis anyone?
Carly, a lawyer from Chicago, was wearing perhaps the worst thing possible to welcome Aunt Flo.
“When I get home, I check my underwear and have to admit that this gelatinous visitor isn’t going away. I shyly tell my mom that I think I got my period. All she has in the house are Kotex supers. At this point, I’ve never even been kissed, so the idea of anything entering my inner sanctum, nevertheless a cotton wad wider than a Mr. Sketch, is daunting. But I don’t have a choice. I insert it, discovering that there is space inside me that I never knew existed.”
5. “Derek Jeter is my period mate.”
Cecilia, a New York actress, is sure hers ties her intrinsically to Mr. Jeter.
“I got my first period on Derek Jeter’s 23rd birthday. I still think it’s some sort of cosmic sign that we’re meant to have children together, and I have gauged the passage of time by his age ever since… ”
6. Sleepover surprise
Here’s my personal period story. I was super excited about a sleepover that was happening that night at my friend Celia’s, and couldn’t wait for the day to be over. Then I started getting bad cramps in my lower stomach that wouldn’t go away. I thought I had food poisoning, but my dad had a suspicion it was my period, and gave me Advil, which helped almost immediately. However, he neglected to tell me what he thought it might be, and sent me to the sleepover without pad protection.
Sure enough, I woke up in the middle of the night to a sleeping bag full of blood (or at least it seemed like that at the time). But rather than making fun of me, my friends hugged me, cleaned me up and told me they were actually jealous, because I was the first to “become a woman”! It was perhaps the best response I could’ve hoped for.