I don’t pickle things at home. I don’t shower, shave and brush my teeth all with the same bottle of Dr. Brauners that I picked up from Cornucopia. I do love the farmer’s market and admire the Pedal People’s devotion as they carry our recyclables through town by bicycle in the middle of the winter. Though you won’t find me pushing those pedals any time soon, I have recently switched to using GladRags during my period.
Wah, wah, wah—this is a sex column! I don’t wanna talk about periods! Too bad.
At first, letting myself bleed onto a a piece of cloth seemed, well, unseemly. However, being easily swayed by cute packaging, GladRags’ adorable polka-dotted, zebra-striped and otherwise cheerfully colored cotton menstrual-pads beckoned to my experimental side.
GladRags are used just like regular menstrual pads, but they’re cotton and reusable. You wear them, change them every 2-4 hours and launder them like any pair of knickers—except, unlike commercial, disposable pads, these puppies are designed to last at least five years.
As GladRags so adequately calculates on its website, “If you menstruate 340 times in your lifetime, using 20 disposables per period, that amounts to 6,800 pads or tampons thrown away. Now consider all the women using disposables in the world. If 500 million women use disposables throughout their lifetime, that’s 3.4 trillion pads or tampons thrown away! Then, of course, there’s all that packaging, (wrappers, boxes, applicators) that are also thrown away, all the garbage bags used, all the diesel fuel used to truck those products to the stores week in and week out. Using GladRags for even a portion of your cycle makes a difference.”
According to my own calculations, if you bleed for five days every month for 12 months, using an entire box of tampons each cycle at roughly $8/box, you’re saving $100 spent on bleachy trash a year. If you buy GladRags Deluxe Kit, which includes 10 day pads, 4 pantyliners, 3 night pads, a carry bag (for your dirties) and a cute laundry bag for $195, they’ll pay for themselves in two years. That is, if you don’t lose them at strip clubs.
For my wife’s birthday, she got a Soda Stream home water carbonation system and a visit to a strip club. For my wife’s birthday, I got my period. I decided to rock a blue polka-dotted GladRag that evening. GladRags are smartly designed with a cotton holster which holds pad-like inserts into your undies with clever wrap-around “wings” which simply snap together under the crotch of your panties. Being a rebellious light menstruater myself, I decided to screw the snapping holster and just tuck one of the thin pad-inserts into my underwear. This system worked well at first, until, propping myself up in the who-knows-what’s-on-this-toilet-seat squat-and-hover position specially reserved for a strip club bathroom that’s entirely coated in faux-gold and mirrors, my unsecured festive polka-dotted pad took an unfortunate tumble into the freshly peed-in stripper pot.
There’s no rinsing and reusing that one.
Except for this one traumatic experience of retrieving my GladRag from a golden bowl of pee, I’ve been really glad about these rags. The comfort! The money saved! The absence of bleach so commonly used in commercial tampons and pads! The woo-woo satisfaction of recycling while being more in touch with my goddess, womanly moon cycles!
For those of us frequenting dollar bill establishments, the Moon Cup may be better suited and sustainable. The Moon Cup is a small, flexible, silicone cup with a retrieval stem on the end. You fold it up, insert it vaginally and let it collect your lunar offerings to Mother Nature. It holds one ounce of fluid. Because most of us produce 2-4 ounces per day, you’ll want to empty, rinse and reinsert it a few times per day. This bad boy lasts up to 10 years, saving you from wasting a whopping $800 on moisture-sucking tampons. Moon Cups can also be a fantastic alternative for trans-guys who might appreciate the discretion afforded by switching from a pocket full of feminine products to an undetectable menstrual cup.
Strip club or no strip club, GladRags and Moon Cups give us good reason to shake what our mama (nature) gave us!