Female Comedians Tell Their Best (and Worst) Period Stories
"When I got my first period, my mom got me a basset hound Bobblehead doll."
Illustrations by Penelope Gazin
Nothing is certain in this world except that every menstruating woman has a horrifying period story. If we're lucky, we can look back at them and laugh. If we're unlucky, we can't do that because we drowned in our own menstrual blood and are dead.
I asked a bunch of non-dead lady comedians to tell me their funniest period stories. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, unless otherwise specified.
Vanessa: In seventh grade, I had just gotten my period and still wasn't used to how heavy the flow was. My mom had given me pantyliners, but they weren't enough. The school had this embarrassing rule where you couldn't go to the bathroom during class unless you were a girl on her period, but that obviously meant admitting to the teacher that you had your period. One day in class, I could feel that my pad wasn't enough, but we were in the middle of reading Johnny Tremain and I didn't want to interrupt to admit that I had to go to the bathroom. I ended up leaking through my pants and onto the chair—which is embarrassing enough—but then I couldn't get the blood off the chair, so at the end of class I just left. From then on it was known as "the gross chair" that kids would always try to pass off to other kids.
Ashley: When I got my first "cycle," my mom told me we were going to the grocery store. Instead, she drove me two hours outside of town to a foggy bluff in the North Georgia mountains, read me poetry about Womanhood and gave me talismans all wrapped in silk. I was honestly convinced that she was going to kill me afterwards, but was more terrified that somehow someone from my school would find out what she had done. But I still wear my "Puberty Pin" whenever I feel like I need some luck.
Belinda: I was taking a tampon out at a Dave Matthews Band concert (it was a very long time ago) and as I was getting ready to wrap it up, I dropped it on my white T-shirt. So I told everyone I saw that night, including people who didn't even ask me, that I dropped a hot dog with ketchup on my shirt. I hate Dave Matthews.
Christine: I started my period at age 14, the day before a big family beach trip. I called my mom, and she brought me home some giant pads, then threw me a box of tampons and said, "You'll probably want to use these instead." With no explanation. The next day, we were about to leave for the beach, and my mom and my stepdad hovered outside the bathroom waiting for me to figure out how to use a tampon. I couldn't get it in. My mom and stepdad were saying "Just relax! It's fine!" Finally I got it in—or so I thought. It wasn't in all the way and fell out while I was running on the beach.
Stephanie: My period started for the first time when I was 13 and happened to be at home. My mom was also home, but I was too embarrassed to go tell her, so I emailed her. While we were both home.
Erica: When I got my first period, my mom was out of town for work, so I had to tell my dad, who in turn told my neighbor, Rita. Rita was a Boy Scout leader and I was supposed to buy mosquito netting from her for summer camp that day, but Rita gave it to me for free as a congratulations. Or maybe she was worried the blood would attract more mosquitoes?
Matilda: I was 15, in Hawaii with my family. We woke up early to take a boat out three hours to a diving spot off the coast. My parents and I all forgot how seasick I get, but that was something we were quickly reminded of. After a dreadful hour of blowing chunks in front of hunky Hawaiian sailors and terrified tourists, I fell asleep on a bench on the deck. I awoke to in a pool of my own period blood. It stained the white deck of the boat, and somehow a good amount of it got on my dad. While I was crying in the bathroom, the hunky Hawaiian boys took a hose to my devastating visit from mother nature.
Angela: When I got my first period, my mom got me a basset hound Bobblehead doll.
Laura: Back in the day, I had a habit of not wearing underwear when I was wearing dresses. One time when I was on my period, I decided it would be a good idea to use a tampon, not wear underwear, and wear a dress. I was shopping in Whole Foods with a friend when I realized my tampon had fallen out... at some point. We tried to retrace some of our steps, but it was never heard from again. I bet someone found it in Whole Foods and paid like 30 bucks for it.
Danielle: When I was 17, I was playing indoor dodgeball with a group of 30 or so people. I was heavily on my period, and toward the end of the game I could feel I needed to change my tampon like, super badly. BUT THIS WAS DODGEBALL. Everyone on my team except me got out, and it was the final match. I was the only person on my side of the court. I got hit really hard in the stomach, and boop, my tampon fell out. In front of everyone. I stood there mortified as the room fell silent. I slowly picked it up off the ground, and just walked away. I never played dodgeball again.
Kelly: I got my period the summer going into my freshmen year of high school. I was a pretty solid cross-country runner, but when I got my period, I gained weight and my time took a severe hit. So at one of my practices, my male coach told everyone to go run, but kept me back and took me on a walk. He spent the entire time trying to find the right words to say, "Did you get your period over the summer? Because you run a lot slower than a year ago." And when I finally admitted I had, we spent the rest of the two-mile walk in silence.
Sophie Carter-Kahn: Like the third time I got my period, in seventh grade, I was in a new school and didn't know anybody very well. All the girls were about to go to gym class, and I realized I didn't have enough feminine plugs to get me through the day. I asked the girl next to me for a tampon, and then thought about it, and asked for another one, explaining I was "going to run out." She gave me a weird look and handed over the goods. Everyone in gym was whispering when I walked in, and I didn't know why. Later, I found out that she told everyone that I needed two tampons TO PUT IN AT ONCE because I was "going to bleed out." Go ahead and use my real name, because fuck you Alex Favier, NOBODY should betray someone who needs a tampon. That's the ONLY rule of womanhood that I truly believe in.
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