Smells Like Teen Spirit
It’s been a minute, but I’m back with something I really just couldn’t wait to share with the
world 2 people who read this blog (luh ya, kiddos). Warning – it’s going to get pretty graphic – probably no shocker there.
As any one who has ever been a teenage girl knows, there are exactly two vagina-related scenarios that will cripple you with fear:
- Forgetting to take your pill within a 30-minute window of when you were supposed to take it, then having unprotected sex and freaking out about how you are most definitely pregnant.
- Leaving a tampon in for one minute more than the prescribed 8-hour maximum time frame, and giving yourself Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
In all fairness, I know adult women who are still paralyzed by these fears – for one of them, we called the Plan B pill her “Plan A,” since she took it at least 15 times in the span of a year – leading us all to wonder why, you know, maybe she wouldn’t just try a condom for once?
Typically these extreme fears and corresponding paranoid behaviors fade over time, as a girl learns with time and experience that although these things can happen, they are very unlikely to happen. For example, TSS is actually incredibly rare, affecting only about 4 in 100,000 – in order to get TSS from having a tampon in for too long, a girl must already have a special kind of staph bacteria present in her body.
As evident from this blog, I should probably be a lot more cautious and fearful than I naturally am. It would probably do me some good to act with an abundance of caution if I accidentally miss a pill, or realize I’ve been wearing the same tampon for almost 24 hours. Logically, I understand that. However, incidents like what I’m about to relay occur, and reinforce my belief that I have nothing to stress about. Right on right on. Just keep livin’.
I take birth control pills. This is not really because I feel a need to do it, or out of necessity for all the sex I’m having (I haven’t written since October – clearly there is nothing going on down there). I was dating one person for a long time monogamously, with no birth control whatsoever, because I hardly ever got my period (like maybe 2-3x a year), and I basically assumed I was infertile. Until I got pregnant. Whoops! That is a whole different story for another time. Bottom line is that after that, I hopped on the pill – fast-forward 3 years later, and I’ve just been too lazy to quit it.
Since I take birth control pills, I have a very consistent period. I know almost to the hour when it is going to show up and when it is going to end. Recently, my period ended on its normal day and time, and all was right with the world. Until it wasn’t.
DUH DUH DUHHHHHHHHH!!!
Over a week after my period ended, I was sitting at work in an all-white dress, just tempting the gods of fate to come at me, bruh. And they did, in the worst way possible. I was in the elevator at work, on my way to grab lunch with some friends, and I felt something warm and liquid leak out of my pikachu, something very distinctly feeling like my period. Oh. Fahhhhhhhhhhhk. I ran through the emergency checklist that I think most every female does, which goes like this:
- What am I wearing? (Note: this is more applicable for girls like me, who never wear underwear)
- If it’s a skirt/dress, you have some time. If it’s pants/shorts, you’re fucked – do not pass go, do not collect $200.
- How much is there? Can you feel a little, or a lot?
- If it’s a little, you can probably get to a restroom later. If it’s a lot, you better fucking sprint to that bathroom, girl.
- Where can you feel it? Is it just inner thighs, or can you feel it creeping down further, or towards the back?
- If it’s way up in those inner thighs, you’re probably good. If it’s creeping down further or, WORSE, towards the back, you’re definitely going to be that girl who perioded on herself.
I performed my mental checklist, and determined that based on all the data points, I was safe for the next 20-30 minutes. Whatever was happening down below could be dealt with after my return to the office.
While waiting in the lobby of the building where my friends were coming to meet me, I noticed something…..awful. It smelled kind of like a dead animal, but also had a distinctly heady aroma of body odor. Some guy had just walked past me in the lobby – he had an expensive-looking haircut and was wearing a suit, but never judge a book by its cover, right? Oddly, after that guy breezed past, I could still smell the odor. I turned to my left and it was there. I turned to my right and it was there. I uncrossed my legs and WHOA FUCKING SHIT IT WAS ME!!!
My friends strolled up just then, and I immediately clamped my legs tight together and walked next to them looking like I had MS or Lou Gerig’s disease, with a strange hitch in my step and an inability to bend my knees, lest I subject anyone else to the horror show happening between my thighs.
Thankfully, my friends were polite enough to not say anything about either the odor, or why I seemed to be walking real weird. I made it back from lunch, and bee-lined for the restroom. Safely ensconced in a stall, I looked down and saw some spotting – spotting, for the record, is when a girl has just a little bit of extra period leaking out. Spotting itself is no big deal. Spotting accompanied by the smell of a rotting corpse though? Probably something to be concerned about.
My next move was to immediately text my best friend and tell her about the extremely embarrassing thing that had just happened to me. We went back and forth a bit about what it could possibly be – I was adamant it was not a low-grade STD, because I hadn’t had sex in a long time, and I thought that something this bad would have cropped up sooner, with additional symptoms like itching/burning, lower back pain, or some-such. Since I couldn’t figure out what it was, and I was not about to go running into my gynecologist’s office to give her $300 and have her just tell me to shower more frequently in the summer months, I decided to do nothing for the time being. Just sat there at my desk, miserable that maybe this was some sort of chemical body change that happens at my age, as a “single-and-not-looking” future spinster. Like my body was just preparing me for the inevitable smell of my future life living in a house where I fry hamburger on my stove top without ever cleaning the grease mess off, because I leave it as a treat for my 10 cat roommates who piss/shit everywhere, and 2 of them have gone missing the last few months because their little cat bodies are actually decomposing somewhere in the house, but cannot be located due to the overwhelming piles of trash and junk strewn floor-to-ceiling.
I resigned myself to my fate, and went about the rest of my day as normal. I crawled into my bed at the end of the night and closed my eyes to sleep. The smell was so horrendous in the small enclosed space of my bedroom, that I actually could not sleep. Instead I googled “terrible vagina smell,” and started reading.
Lo and behold, the internet coughs up a treasure trove of stories from women who are experiencing symptoms that exactly describe what was going on with me. And they all have one thing in common: LOST TAMPON. This is an honest-to-goodness medical term for when a tampon gets lost and left far up inside a lady, for way longer than is medically sound. Her body attacks the interloper, trying to disintegrate it- and because it is covered in blood, bacteria gravitates toward it, and that bacteria causes a stench like you have never experienced before. Convinced that this is exactly what is going on with me, I grabbed a mirror and a flashlight, washed my hands, and started digging….and came up with nada.
Utterly devastated, I climbed back into bed and prayed to die in my sleep.
10 minutes of gagging on my own scent later, I went back to the internet, and searched for ways to retrieve a lost tampon. I swear to god, there is an entire WikiHow page devoted to this. It has several helpful tips, and I jumped out of bed and went back to work.
Tip #1 – Position Yourself Correctly. I squatted down on my haunches on my bathroom floor.
Tip #2 – Bear Down (this has a whole new meaning for me now). I used those abs I worked so hard for to push and push and fucking PUSSSSSHHHHHHHHH.
Tip #3 – Use Your Longest Finger. Or, as I was singing to myself at the time, “Middle fingers up, tell ’em boy bye!”
I was squatting, bearing and digging around, feeling the absolute sexiest and most desirable I have ever felt in my life when…..
I FELT IT! I felt that mother fucker jammed up in the far corner of my box trying to play hard-to-get. “NOT TODAY, SATAN!” I screamed as I pinched a corner of the wretched thing and began pulling on it in earnest. About 10 minutes later, I gave birth to what can only be described as the anti-Christ. I flung it into the toilet, trying not to puke on myself in the process, and flushed it down.
You may be asking yourself the same question that anyone who has never left a tampon to rot inside themselves is asking, which is, “How the fuck did this happen?!?” Let me tell you, according to the internet, there are myriad ways that it can happen. You can get drunk one night at a bar, meet a hot guy (or girl!), take them home and get it fucked up into you. You can put one in on the last day of your period when it may not be necessary, and then forget it’s there and have it migrate further and further up. Or, like me, you can put one in on Sunday morning, forget about it, then wake up Monday morning and be like “Did I have a tampon in already? Guess not.” and put another one in on top, shoving that first one way the hell up there. And yes, you can do that without noticing, because the first one is all sponge-y and soft, so it just lets you push it way the fuck up there with no polite reminders about “one at a time,” and then your period ends and 9 days later you’re just thinking about what salad you want at Protein Bar when BAM! That little piece of shit finally reminds you that he’s still around.
Anyway, my ordeal was over. I cleaned up. I was exalted. I was triumphant. I had stared into the belly (vagina) of the beast and come out victorious.
I woke up the next day and things were back to normal. The awful stench was gone, and my insides felt totally normal. It was really no big deal at all. Hear ye, hear ye, ladies – you can stop worrying about losing tampons. You’ll know when you’ve actually lost one, and it only takes about 15 minutes to get it out on your own. Everything is going to be just fine!