Friday, September 26, 2008


Strings and beer and Push-ups.

I was in an Osco in Chicago the other night picking up - or at least trying to - a remedy for the sinus infection that has plagued me for the past 2 weeks, when I happened to notice that some genius of marketing placed the alcohol selection next to the feminine hygiene products.

I've been buying feminine hygiene products for over 30 years now. I'm largely incapable of embarrassment anyway, and picking out some hapless clerk - the younger the better - and trying to get her to explain the benefits and features of various flow absorbers used to be one of my favorite pastimes, so I never really mind the inevitable monthly trip to the drug store. You'd think that after the first couple of years of periodic visits from Aunt Flo women would get the hint that it might be a good idea to stock up on feminine hygiene products at least a couple of days in advance of the blessed event.

Alas, such is not the case.

Feminine hygiene products have changed a lot in the past 30-odd years. For one thing, there used to be one basic pad - roughly the size of a travel pillow - and tampons with either plastic or cardboard insertion devices, which reminded me a little of Push-Ups.

Push-Ups were usually some sort of sherbet in a cardboard tube with a plastic piston on a stick used to push the sherbet up the tube. My favorite flavor was orange - but I digress.

Tampons have strings for ease of removal (much less self examination required to get the damned thing back out) and this of course has inspired men to make crudes jokes involving flossing, pediculosis pubis and bungee jumping.

Push-Ups don't have strings.

Now, feminine hygiene products come in a bewildering array of sizes and shapes, making it even less likely that the poor guy who has to buy one of these products is actually going to get the correct product home to a stressed-out mass of raging hormones with a disposition somewhat analogous to a pissed-off badgerette and already fired-up because guys DON'T HAVE PERIODS (Thanks, God!) and who also believes against all reason that the guy should know that she ALWAYS buys Always Super Ultra-maxis with Wings and Ailerons.

As if. I've had to make the return trip more than a few times. Oddly, I've never encountered the same sales clerk twice.

Naturally the poor shlub who has to go through this process knowing he isn't likely to get laid for a week or so and who also has the privilege of putting up with a creature that, if, say, it was a house pet would be taken to an animal shelter - or shot - is understandably under a lot of stress.

Beer in moderation is a good stress reliever, though it doesn't do much for the badgerette's stress level. So while putting beer next to the feminine hygiene products was a GREAT IDEA - I'd bet it was a guy who thought it up - the marketing guru who puts boxed chocolates and fishing tackle next to the beer will get my vote for president.


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