I remember the first time I really learned what a “period” was. I was in 5th grade, and a “mean girl” I was “friends” with just randomly blurted out to me in the lunch line one day, “You know you’re gonna start bleeding in your underwear, right?”
Well, um, no, I didn’t really know that. I mean, I guess I had kinda seen my mom’s pads or whatever wrapped up in the tiny bathroom garbage can (eww), but she’d never talked to me about exactly why they were there or the kinds of changes my body was going to go through when I hit “puberty,” another word I’d only heard used a few scant times in awkward situations with teachers or other authority figures. So when I finally got my period, I did end up kind of just bleeding in my underwear, trying to figure out how to handle it on my own without telling my mother. We did not have a close relationship and frankly I didn’t trust her enough to want to tell her something so personal and gross.
She realized about three months in to my “womanhood” (hurl) that her feminine product supply was drying up faster than usual and put two and two together. She finally confronted me to ask me if my period had started, so I told her yes. She immediately told my uncle, who boldly congratulated me the next time he saw me. “Hey kid, I hear you’re a woman now.” I still remember how horrifying that moment was. Me, a woman? I guess, if a 13-year-old who looks like a boy with a bad short perm and braces qualifies as a “woman,” sure.
It seems unlikely that a middle-schooler in 2013 could have the type of experience I just described, because the veil of body secrecy has lifted, and grown women no longer talk about their Aunt Flo visiting from Red Creek. (That’s the actual name of a town near the one I grew up in. Ha.) No, mothers today – if they err with impropriety – it’s on the other side of the spectrum. They are way too into openness about bodily functions, going so far as to host “puberty parties,” also known as period parties, menarche parties (Menarche Madness!) or red tent parties.
And why not celebrate your daughter’s “passage into womanhood” with a giant party that’s as red as her now spotted My Little Pony underwear? That’s not awkward at all. In fact, it could be a ton of fun! Here are some tips for throwing a red hot red tent party. Your daughter will gush with excitement!
Click here for more red tent party ideas. Or, you know, don’t.