Monday, April 19, 2010

Period Stories + Huge Giveaway of My Little Red Book

A few days ago I reposted my (slightly updated) review of My Little Red Book edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff to mark the release of the second edition of this book. In my review, I mentioned that reading My Little Red Book had inspired me to write about and reflect on my own experiences of menstruation. So here’s some of my story:

I remember the exact date of my first period—and I usually have a terrible memory for dates—because it was three days before my thirteenth birthday and it was a much-anticipated event: It happened at school in the seventh grade on January 29, 1983—and I was the first of our threesome of friends to get it. I remember going to the washroom, seeing the blood and telling my friends, who were happy for me (and maybe a bit envious?)—it was exciting, a rite of passage, something we were looking forward to (albeit with some ambivalence). I don’t remember what happened next though: Did I have pads with me? Did one of my friends buy me one from a dispenser? I do know I was too embarrassed to tell my mother, but she figured it out and took me into the bathroom to show me where the “supplies” were (as we always called them), in the cupboard behind the bathroom door.

Flash forward to summer 1983. I was in Switzerland for a month, visiting a friend by myself and we went to Austria for a week to stay with her grandparents, who had a cottage on a lake. I guess I was still not used to the whole bleeding-every-month concept because I hadn’t brought any pads with me. One day, as Isabelle and I were lying in the sun on the dock, I could suddenly feel that I was bleeding through my bathing suit onto my towel. I was too embarrassed to say anything, but Isabelle noticed and asked if it was my first time. I recall nodding in agreement, and to my dismay she offered me tampons and pantyliners. Again, I was too embarrassed to admit I’d never used tampons and didn’t really want to. Instead I took one and went off to the bathroom and did my best to insert it. Clearly I didn’t do it right because by the time I got back to the living room, I felt strange and dizzy (and a bit freaked out). I hastily retreated back to the bathroom to remove it. I must have somehow managed with pantyliners for the rest of my period—I don’t remember. I didn’t use tampons again for years (and in fact have never used them regularly—I’m a reusable pad girl now).

What surprises me now, thinking back on this experience, is that I have no recollection of any other conversation taking place between me and Isabelle. I only remember being mute with embarrassment, while she was very matter-of-fact about the whole thing. (She was barely a year older than me.)
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Would you like to win a copy of My Little Red Book? To mark the release of the second edition of this book, Hachette has generously offered to send 10 copies of the book to my readers. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only (no P.O. boxes). I will accept entries until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Monday, May 17.

For one entry, post a comment here. Please be sure to provide me with a way of getting in touch with you. Entries without a blog link or email address will be disqualified.

Other ways to earn entries:
+1 if you share a period story or answer this question: Do you use euphemisms when talking about your period? (I still call my period “my aunt,” but I don’t use the term “supplies” anymore!)
+1 if you make a relevant comment on my review of My Little Red Book (if you’ve already done so, that counts too)
+1 if you are a follower or subscriber (please let me know)

You can also visit these blogs and read their reviews:

Daisy’s Book Journal Viva la Feminista

Good luck!

66 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book and thanks to Hachette for offering so many copies to give out.

    formycontests@gmail.com

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  2. That is hilarious that you say "my aunt" That is the term we use too, only we say "my Aunt Ruby came to visit"

    formycontests@gmail.com

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  3. I follow you on GFC as couponmom
    formycontests@gmail.com

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  4. I also made a comment on your review of this book.

    formycontests@gmail.com

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  5. I am a follower,

    Bill ;-)

    billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:
    http://drbillsbookbazaar.blogspot.com/2010/04/book-giveaway-moonlight-falls.html
    http://thehomeplaceseries.blogspot.com/

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  6. The more I hear about this book, the more interested I become. I could never get into tampons either, but these days I use a Diva cup and I *LOVE* it. *LOVE LOVE LOVE* it. That's how much. There was a bit of a learning curve when I first started using it, but by the third month, I had it figured out and now I don't know how I ever got along without it- my period was a much bigger pain in the rear before it, I know!

    I follow you on my Google reader! (Finally got that thing set up- SO much easier to follow everyone now, and it only took me two years! :D)

    stephaniedekeyser AT gmail.com

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  7. Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing your story. I have lots of names for mine. Aunt Flo and my visitor being the most often used. I do still refer to them as supplies.

    I am a follower

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

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  8. I think my daughter and I would both enjoy reading this.

    jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. I usually just say "time of the month." Although, I have been know to utter Aunt Flo!

    jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I follow on Google Friend Connect.

    jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. I am a subscriber. Thank you for hosting and wow so many books being given away. Thanks.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

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  12. Wanted to let you know I have your giveaway posted at literarylitter.blogspot.com

    Good luck :)

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  13. I would love this.

    hewella1@gmail.com

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  14. please enter me! vvperesk@gmail.com

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  15. I subscribe by email. vvperesk@gmail.com

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  16. Thanks for this interesting and unique giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. This book is just that much more interesing to me me now that my daughter is creeping closer to the age were she'll be getting her period for the first time. Please enter me!

    whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

    +1 I actually don't use euphemisms anymore a all. And now that you mention it, I don't know when I stopped. I also don't whisper the information to friends anymore either, mentioning it in a normal volume of voice if the topic comes up. Must be I'm getting old!

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  18. I remember getting my period for the first time at school and how it was such a scary experience for me. Sounds like a very interesting book!

    aksimmo at brainerd dot net

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  19. No need to enter me (sorry if that messed you up) as I got a review copy too. Wow how'd you snag 10 giveaway copies?

    I feel young, I wasn't even born when you got your first period (although I was born that year.)

    I think it's an amazing book that I'm keeping for when my girls are older.

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  20. No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

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  21. Hi. I was unaware that there was a book out on this subject. Your comments were interesting. I believe all of us ladies have tales to tell in this area.
    polo-puppy-fluffy[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  22. I'm a follower.
    polo-puppy-fluffy[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  23. My daughter and I use the term period for menstruation. For supplies, I will use the term pads or tampax and find that sufficient. I find many families have their own terms for this.
    polo-puppy-fluffy[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  24. I'm a follower via google friend connect and a subscriber.

    I used to call being on my period, being on my "rag."

    Funny story about your first period.
    I started when I was 12 and it was the day of my friends birthday sleepover. I ended up missing the fun party because of not feeling well. I was so upset I missed the party.

    caliblue7@gmail.com

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  25. Ha.. I remember when I first got mine, it was a Saturday and I asked my mother to keep it between us. I didn't realize that "between us" extended to the ENTIRE family, and her friends. Thanks ma, thanks, lol. Nowadays, I just tell my husband flat out, and hide my supplies from my two year old son. Ever seen the picture of the toddler covered in pads? That'd be my son if he had enough time. I have to keep moving my hiding spot, he always seems to know.. *shakes head*
    Aaanyway.. I'm also a subscriber!
    Have a great weekend! lpmccann (at)gmail.com

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  26. Would love to win a copy for my niece! Thanks for the chance.

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

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  27. I think I probably use every euphemism ever thought up, but I still say "period" as well. The euphemisms are just for fun. I also think that every package of "supplies" should include a bag of M&M's. Hey! You're gonna buy them anyway!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

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  28. And, I'm a Follower.

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

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  29. +1 Left a comment on your review!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

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  30. Would love to read this. Harfro (at) aol (dot) com

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  31. I subscribe to the blog.

    Harfro (at) aol (dot) com

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  32. Ugh. I have cramps right now and need sympathy so this sounds good to me.

    I follow w/ Google Reader.

    j.t.oldfield[at]gmail.com

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  33. I would love to read this and share it with my daughter who just started hers a few months ago! (oh wait....I wasn't supposed to tell anyone...lol)

    lovemykidsandbooks AT gmail DOT com

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  34. Posted a comment on your review.

    lovemykidsandbooks AT gmail DOT com

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  35. I generally refer to my period as my period. I do have friends that still refer to it as either aunt flow, or the curse!
    I don't really have a story to share, except one involving pads!
    When my daughter was about a year and a half old(she was potty training), she came out into the living room, (in which my husband, my father and my brother in law were sitting) wearing nothing but a pair of panties and announces to them that she is a big girl now. She proceeds to pull her panties down, and says "I wear big girl diapers!" revealing a maxi pad that she had taken from the cupboard!! Priceless.

    thanks for the entries!

    lovemykidsandbooks AT gmail DOT com

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  36. oh I hope my daughter doesn't see this giveaway! LOL....she would be mortified to see that I shared that story!

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  37. I refer to it as a visit from my Aunt Flow.

    I'm a follower.

    (I have a great tampon / waterslide story that I won't go into detail on).

    ravndahl (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  38. Very interesting... :)

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

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  39. This sounds like a really interesting book!

    I'll enter through my blog:
    ayearinbooksm.blogspot.com

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  40. I would love the chance to read this. I think it'd be really interesting. Plus, I'd like to have it for my niece when she's gets older.

    The only euphemism I use is "that time of the month", otherwise, it's period and pads.

    Thanks!
    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

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  41. Thanks for the great giveaway! I've been wanting to read this one.

    I sometimes call it that time of the month, but usually just call it a period.

    I also follow!

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  42. Count me in!

    +1 I still call mine "my friend". some friend uh?

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

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  43. Oh - I'm a new follower! thanks

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

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  44. May 8, 1993--Moving up day. I'd spent all year pretending to be an 8th grader, meeting all my next-year teachers. That night, I went to the bathroom before bed and freaked out. There was way more red than I'd been expecting, and my mom, I think, laughed a little at how panicked I was. It took me a decade to be even kinda comfortable with my period.

    And I'm a subscriber (via Google Reader).

    muse2323@gmail.com

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  45. please enter me
    spynaert@gmail.com

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  46. I would love to win!

    ykatrina at hotmail dot com

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  47. Sounds like an interesting book. Would love to win.

    rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

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  48. This sounds like a very interesting book. I don't even remember my first other than I know I was the last of my friends to get mine.

    kerrie@mayansfamily.com

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  49. I follow your blog as degood with Google friend connect.

    kerrie@mayansfamily.com

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  50. If I am talking about it, I just say my period or if I am being goofy around my best friend, I will say "There is a communist in the fun house". This comes from an email forward she sent me about 7 years ago that supposedly had what people in other countries refered to it as and it said this is what they say in Cuba and I thought it was funny so now if either she or I are talking to the other one about it, that is what we say :)

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  51. I would love to enter!
    nataliew2@gmail.com

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  52. Do you use euphemisms when talking about your period? I still say my aunt mary is visiting!! Have said that since I started. When I first started, my mom wouldn't let me use tampons. It was miserable in school!
    nataliew2(at)gmail(dot)com

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  53. I am a follower
    johnnystruckwash at gmail dot com

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  54. I would love to win this for my wife. She loves to read.
    johnnystruckwash at gmail dot com

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  55. Do you use euphemisms when talking about your period? We (my friends and i), used to call in "my best friend".

    estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  56. Please enter me
    estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  57. + 1 I am a e-mail subscriber

    estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  58. + 1 My comment on your review

    estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  59. Sounds like a fabulous book -- especially for my school's library.
    bmcbroom(at)gmail(dot)com

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  60. My period story -- started at age 11 while visiting relatives. Stopped 47 years later while still in peri-menopause, had an hysterectomy. Breezed through it. Later while in the grocery store, I happened to walk down the aisle where the pads and tampons were sold, and mentally said to them, "Ha ha I don't need you any more!!"

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  61. I just say period, or that time of the month!

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  62. Please count me in. Thanks for the giveaway.

    +1 I call my period, just that, my period. I don't use cute little names. If you ask me, there is nothing cute about it.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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  63. Would love to be entered!

    lisa.2713 at gmail dot com

    littletesoro.blogspot.com

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  64. I would have always called them my ''dot'' or my ''red flag'' Sometimes, my friends wouldn't get it without a few facial expressions. I'd like to enter.

    azngal_123 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  65. Thank you, everybody, for entering! I'll announce the winner soon.

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