I still remember the first time I had to do it. Sheila was sick, she was out of pads, and I had to go to the store to get them. Trust me, after growing up with four sisters, it wasn’t a completely foreign concept. I got married with a leg up on most young guys. I knew the difference between pads, liners, and tampons, which at least when I was younger was better than most guys. I knew this was going to eventually happen and I was determined that it wasn’t going to be a big deal. I would simply walk up to the isle, find the appropriate product, and be on my merry way.
I walked up and scoped the layout. It all looked very organized at first, and I continued to believe that it was going to be a cake-walk. What in reality happened was just short of a panic-attack. Playtex, Kotex, Always, Pink, Blue, Long, Light Days, Regular, Wings, Scented, Unscented, Overnight, Big Boxes, Small Boxes…
All I wanted was to grab the specific product that Sheila wanted, purchase it, and leave. But I couldn’t find it! I could feel every woman in the store looking at me. “Poor guy doesn’t know what he’s doing”, “He looks completely lost”, “Would you look at that kid fumbling around?”. I could hear them all in my head and it was just as distracting as all the choices. The room was spinning, my heart-rate was through the roof, I couldn’t concentrate, and I finally just grabbed something. To this day I still wonder if I got the right stuff that first time. I didn’t ask. I just went in the other room to suck my thumb and lick my mental wounds for a while.
Fast-forward 14 years… Now that I’m picking the stuff up for my daughter as well, you’d think it would be as second-nature as picking up some toothpaste, but the game never stops. I thought at first that it was just something to get use to, but that wouldn’t be fun. No, the various companies seem bent on the idea of making it an ongoing challenge. I swear it seems as though the stinking packages change every couple months. The names, terminology, package designs are ALWAYS changing, keeping every man on his toes to remember what it is they’re supposed to pick up.
So there I was last night at Wal-Mart, staring at the wall of products and I realized that it’s all an insidious plot and all men are doomed. But seriously, why does it have to be so difficult? Other types of product that could potentially be confusing are made simple for the consumer. Have you ever picked out printer ink? You don’t have to know the cartridge size, ink level, consumption rate, or any other details. You just need a number. So why can’t the makers of these feminine hygiene products catch on and make it easy for us guys?
“Oh sure honey, I can grab those. That’s a G72 package right? No problem!”
But I guess that wouldn’t be fun, now would it?