Disclaimer: The following contains women-sensitive topics including the use of various feminine hygiene products with strong references to a woman's monthly menstrual cycle. Should you be uneasy with the word "menstrual," "feminine hygiene," "women-sensitive," "monthly," "to," "strong," or "disclaimer" you should stop reading and think about the grossest thing you've ever done in your life which may have been five minutes ago when you peed in the toilet and didn't wash your hands and then you ate potato chips and licked the salt off of them and then you scratched yourself a lot and then ate some more potato chips and repeated this whole cycle over again and then you thought of the word "cycle" and remembered that whole "menstrual cycle" thing that you usually say "EWWW" to whenever you hear it but only because that's what other guys do and you actually have no idea what a menstrual cycle is, all you know is that it makes girls cranky and they eat crazy amounts of chocolate, at least that's what they did on 90210, and after giving yourself one more satisfying scratch you thought, well maybe reading a story mildly referencing a menstrual cycle experience isn't so bad after all, it could be educational.
I went to Target (Tar-jjjet) tonight to pick up face wash, some feminine hygiene items, and, an unplanned added bonus: The National's new CD ($7.99). (Quite good by the way so far.)
As I'm checking out, the woman employee notices my items, in particular, my feminine products, and says, "Have you tried the new Infinities?" (Infinity = latest marketing product by Always)
"Um, no, I haven't." I respond, first thinking that the woman is nice for engaging with me, the customer; then second, realizing we aren't talking about the latest shipment of Liberty stationery or Loreal's new microscrub face wash. We're talking about, well, our periods, and what we use to handle the situation.
"They're awesome," she says while taking my cash and shoving it in her drawer.
I'm not sure if I should continue to respond as the conversation has migrated into unknown, unchartered territory, but I give her an encouraging smile and offer a, "Oh, really?"
"Oh yeah," she says. "Once you try them you'll be like, how did I use anything else?"
"Wow," I say, humored, surprised, weirded out. "I'm intrigued." Which was the truth. But how do you continue the conversation at this point? As a courtesy, the next logical question would be, well, why are they so great? It's a fair question across the board, but of course this warrants information that isn't fit for stranger to stranger, employee to customer conversation. I'm not even sure it would suit friend to friend conversation. Perhaps a very good friend, ideally a bff to bff conversation aided by four or five margaritas, but anything less familiar and less sober than that would just be odd. I was waist deep in odd.
"Definitely try them next time," she says and hands me my receipt.
"Yeah, I guess I'll have to." I say with a concluding smile.
I guess I can't blame this woman for her passion and zest for a feminine hygiene product that works for her. I should be more receptive and sensitive to those who actually celebrate these kinds of products, as they are usually used as the butt of many a joke.
Target employee woman, thank you for giving me the weirdest conversation I've ever had in a checkout line. I commend you for displaying unparalleled loyalty for a socially unpopular but widely practical product. That kind of loyalty knows no bounds and reaches out to people you've known for no more than 30 seconds and connects you for a lifetime. That's powerful. That's admirable. Again a little odd but admirable nonetheless. I think we're both different people now because of that experience. And we don't even know each other's names.