Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Words_Le Feminine Mystique

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.


Meagan said...

I like it when strangers are willing to cross awkward boundaries and connect with you. A stranger told me I had a booger hanging out of my nose the other day and I have never been so thankful, then embarrassed, then thankful again. And then we both laughed about it. Truly cool. And I always double check my booger situation before heading out into public now.

Meagan said...

I realize that post sounded like a joke but I'm totally serious.

Kimi said...

we need to make a stranger hall of fame. we've got two so far. :) and i totally got the seriousness of your comment and i completely support it.

Suzanne said...

Kimi, so funny!!! I LOVE your disclaimer!

A few years ago I purchased a pregnancy test. The lady who was ringing me up at the cash register started grilling me on my status... had we been trying long?(no, and I'm hoping for a 'negative' this time around)... are you hoping for a boy or girl?(see answer to first question)... do you want more after this one?(see answer to first question)

It was very weird that she felt comfortable enough to ask so many personal questions! If there's a "next time" to this situation, maybe I'll purchase a form of birth control along with the pregnancy test to see if that shuts her up. ;-)

Diane. said...

great disclaimer. i think that is a situation where the ol', "thanks...for your services" would have been well used.

Kimi said...

@suzanne: that's hilarious. it's so funny how people think they're your best friend and it's totally normal to talk like that. i like your feistyness!

@diane: where were you when this happened? you could have fed me my line.

misie said...

I think it's funny that while she was toting these new and improved (with a moniker having no relation to one's menstrual cycle) sanitary napkins (ew) - she was still taking your money and allowing you to purchase a type that was so far below her dream pad. jerk.

Kimi said...

@misie - hahhahaa! that's a great point about the moniker. who would buy pads named "infinity." are they going to make my period last for an infinity? no thanks. but then again i've been buying "always" well, since always, which makes me both a sucker and hypocrite. PADS!

Robbe Reddinger said...

Is it ironic that your whole preface didn't have a period?