In the past few weeks I have had Mr Smaggle on a strict regime of watching strategic episodes of Sex and the City to prepare him for our SATC movie date next week. Strategic because we don’t have time to watch the full series so we are watching 2 episodes per disk so he gets a general idea of the history. He quite likes HBO programs and is enjoying the show. He even understands most of what they are talking about. So high is his tolerance for the girly chat that he has endured talk of vibrators, anal sex and funky tasting spunk without so much as a blush forming on his pretty little cheeks.

However, he was totally horrified by one particular scene that we watched the other day. It’s the episode where Samantha and Carrie try to get into an exclusive restaurant and the door bitch is being a total cow and won’t let them in. Finally towards the end of the episode the door bitch has to ask Carrie if she can borrow a tampon. Carrie is delighted to help, they bond in the ladies bathroom and Carrie and Samantha are escorted to the best table in the restaurant moments later as pay back for the miracle tampon.

The scene that had Mr Smaggle freaking out was when Carrie hands over the tampon. I believe the exact phrase was ‘What the f*ck is that?’. This is what he saw…

The poor sheltered boy had never seen an applicator tampon before and was clearly traumatised by teeny tiny Carrie dishing out tyrannosaurus-sized tampons. He obviously knows what a tampon is and knows what they are used for. ‘They’re like a plug right?’ he asked when we first started dating. He wasn’t raised around adolescent girls so the details were never fully explained to him. I replied that yes tampons were like a plug only more absorbent.  I also explained (quite unnecessarily) that once the ‘plug’ is removed it’s not like a sink – there’s no gurgling or gushing. Um… apparently that was assumed knowledge.

Anyway after I explained to him that the super thick, paper covered, straw-like object was actually a tampon he asked ‘A tampon for giants??? Why is it so big?’ I replied that it’s because American tampons are weird. I’m sorry ladies I know you love them over there in the old U.S of A but seriously, I fail to see why they are so popular.

Australian Dolly magazine went through this phase of pimping applicator tampons in the mid-90′s. All you had to do was write to them and they would send you a sample pack of applicator tampons in a purple flowered make up case. Hell, I love free shit so I thought I would give them a go. Big mistake. For a start I couldn’t get the bloody thing in the right spot. It’s like getting someone else to put your glasses on for you. It’s uncomfortable and bizarre and you always have to re-adjust them yourself. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

The fateful day I decided to road test my new tampons was a school day in year 8, while I was wearing my Catholic school uniform of a pale blue and white striped ‘nurses’ dress. I was too inexperienced to have learned the act of the ‘flick and sit’ where if a girl has her period she flicks up the back of her skirt so she isn’t sitting on it, thereby avoiding any accidents. Without prior knowledge of this little trick and using the most ineffective tampons in the worId, I proceeded to have a rather massacre like ‘leak’ during computer class. I then had to get a note from the principal saying that I was allowed to have my jumper tied around my waist for the rest of the day. Which everyone knew was a major breach of the school rules and the general assumption was that I had either leaked my period, wet my pants or had diarrhoea and none of these options helped the floundering popularity of a slightly geeky 14 year old me. I then had to catch the bus home. With boys.

So after that humiliating experience I have a serious vendetta against the applicator tampon. The unnecessary packaging annoys me. They take up too much room in tiny clutch bags. And they bend in the bottom of my handbag and get all out of shape. And they may have caused some serious psychological development problems that I am sure will surface in a future therapy session. 

I understand why they exist. For those religious ladies who believe that touching their privates with anything less than a 10 foot pole will send them blind. I totally get that. For those ladies who have serious hygiene issues. Fine. Use your applicator tampons and live in discomfort but for those of us non-OCD ridden heathens what’s the point?


Can my American readers shed some light on this mystery? What’s so great about the applicator tampon? And do most American women use them? Or are they just over represented in the media?

Does anyone have a hideous tampon story to share? Applicator tampon hate mail would certainly be favoured.