Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I was thinking the other day, since I'm all menstrual again, about my first ever menses. And then I remembered Suzanne writing something of the sort and suggesting that we all do the same! So here it goes. Feel free to tune out if you are easily offended by such things (but know that I don't get gross or graphic at all), or if you have a penis. I find that, in general, possession of a penis usually leads to lack of interest in period stories. I digress.

It was December of 1991, and I was just shy of 12 years old. My best friend K was having a big birthday party at the ice skating rink and all of our friends, male and female, were there. We were in sixth grade, and to mark the occasion our mothers' allowed us to have coed birthday parties for the first time.

Because our middle school was comprised of students from two different elementary schools, we had a lot of new friends. I guess this was why I took so much comfort in my relationship with K, even though we didn't get along all that well. Our mothers were close, therefore it was naturally assumed that we would be thick as thieves. We didn't get the memo, and ultimately our friendship crashed and burned, but that wouldn't be for another two years. During these first few months at a new school we clung to each other. If people thought we liked each other, well, then there must be something likable about us, right? New friends were sure to follow.

And they did. There were more than enough girls in our circle by December. However K was the only one I had known since kindergarten. We sang in church choir together before we could read. My first sleep over was at her house. We played Little People, and then Barbies as we got older. During our later elementary school days, we would hide out in her attic and read and re-read Ubiquitous Pre-Teen Book About Your Period. We concocted elaborate schemes, utilizing role-playing, in order to get our mothers' to buy us bras or allow us to shave our legs.

We were just dying to get our periods.

(Insert passage about hindsight and 20:20 etc. here.)

I don't remember feeling anything unusual that day. No cramps or anything. But lo and behold, right in the middle of the session my first cycle began. I didn't make a big fuss, I just got my mom. I didn't even tell anyone. I couldn't say the same thing about my mom. Although I didn't hear any of it, she told pretty much every other parent in attendance that 'her little girl had become a woman.' Including K's mother, who proceeded to tell K and then accused me of trying to upstage her on her birthday.

Side note: Gee, I wonder why we stopped being friends?

After all the birthday party drama died down, we all enjoyed some cake and went home. Unbeknown to me, the entire female cast of relatives awaited me there. In between telling all of my friends' moms about my new womanhood, my mother found time to call both of my grandmothers. And all of my aunts. She invited them all over for a great big first period celebration! I went inside, at first completely oblivious to all the cars parked on my street, and headed up to my bedroom. I figured I would call K and kind of apologize and then we could Talk About Things. But surprise! There were seven women in my bedroom all waiting to talk to me about all things menstrual. Yay for me!

To be honest, I was flattered by all the attention, and even all these years later still appreciate my mother's gesture, even if it was a bit much. We all dished and they told me their first period stories. It was almost like an induction to a club or something. But soon everyone went home and it was back to life as usual.

Except that my dad wouldn't look me in the eye for almost a week!

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1 comment:

Arizaphale said...

You have hit on one of my really sore point stories from childhood here and I say childhood because I was only just 11 when I got my first period. :-( I was NOT ready. I felt cheated out of my childhood. I also did NOT want to be a GIRL. (This was the early seventies and Germaine Greer was only just writing about burning your bra. Women were still second class citizens) I did not tell ANYONE. ESPECIALLY not my MOTHER!!! (who was after all a full-on second class citizen)..... I did not get out of this nightmare world of denial for 3 years. Yup. Count 'em. 3 MISERABLE years. Talk about stubborn. And to think that now I welcome my period as it reassures me that I am not THAT old yet.....
I would have run screaming from my room if confronted with 7 female relatives all talking about sanitary napkins >:-(
You are obviously very well adjusted.