“Turn on your video for a minute…,” I hear from the guy who, not quite 30 seconds beforehand, had entered the shopping aisle.
I turn and see him holding the phone up, clearly FaceTiming with someone, displaying the products in front of him, “Which one do you want? These are TAMPAX… I don’t know which one you want.”
I smile heartily, enlivened by his comfort in asking for help, and his lack of embarrassment at the situation as a whole… he is not opposed to admitting he does not know, nor is he opposed to learning how to help.
“Unscented… super plus,” I hear come from the phone in a woman’s voice.
Wow… I never would have even thought to say ‘unscented’… I don’t even want to think about what scented tampons means… eww…
I look over again, and see the guy pointing the phone in very much the wrong direction – I happen to have just been looking at the exact product he is now seeking, so I know at a glance where it is – and so I smile again, and walk over and point out the right box for him, “It’s this one.”
With delight and gratitude, he takes notice, and grabs the box I’ve pointed out to him, saying a genuine thank-you to me, and saying, somewhat disappointedly, that he really doesn’t know all this.
“Unless she wants the Pearl…, in which case it’s this one,” I add as I point to a different box, placed elsewhere on the wall of products, recalling that most people seem to prefer the plastic applicators.
“Oh(!)…”. He holds the phone in front of the second box and asks, “Do you want Pearl?”
She confirms that she does, and he confirms what he is going to purchase, then he thanks me again, mentions again about really not knowing this, and thanks me one final time before departing the aisle.
I am smiling so hard, that was such a fun and comfortable and fulfilling exchange for me.
As I turn back to the organic section I had been perusing-slash-evaluating, an older lady is pushing a cart toward me from that end of the aisle.
She says to me, “What a good guy,” chuckling loudly, and we both share a few moments of laughter and smiles.
I wonder at her comment, not because I disagree with with, but because I imagine that she and I have different views on the situation as a whole.
The biggest part for me was that this guy wasn’t embarrassed to be on the aisle – he just happened to be on an aisle with which he wasn’t acquainted, like if I asked someone who doesn’t know about yarns to pick up some Artiste size ten mercerized cotton crochet thread for me, and sent him or her into a yarn shop or art supply store… it’s just a lot of new information that could take a long while to sort out.
But there’s no need to embarrassment at not knowing how to find the exact product I’ve requested.
Such was the case with this guy, and I really appreciated it.
Yes, I think it would be lovely for men to take the time – and women to take the time with them – to learn about feminine hygiene products, especially the ones that their significant others use, and why they use them, as well as what versions of them the women use and why.
Nonetheless, I think this situation today is an example of a good start for such a conversation, and it shows promise for society in moving to a place of comfort with feminine hygiene products and menstruation… we have a long way to go, I dare say, but I feel so much transformation already from these past ten-ish years – especially the past few years. – and how the younger generations are already approaching and addressing menstruation rather openly, both among women and in sharing more with men, talking about things that are so, and not letting the presence of men in a group stop them from sharing (e.g. ‘Hang on… I need to go put a tampon in before we start,’ or, ‘Today was crazy at work: right at we started our morning meeting, I started my period…’).
Keep it up, folks… keep sharing and keep learning… all of us, yeah?