When I was a youngster, I was a bit of a late bloomer. And by "bit" I certainly mean I was the last one in the door to puberty. In 7th grade, I finally became a woman, or in reality, an already hormonal girl suddenly with a reason to buy feminine products.
My older brother had a friend for whom I had a mad, mad crush. I would always ask my brother about him. And this friend was at our house frequently so I made myself very present during these visits as only annoying younger sisters can do. He wore the levi jacket with the big puffy faux sheep's wool lining that I thought was super cool. He also had the pencil thin mustache circa 1983. WOW, I set my bar VERY high, didn't I?
One afternoon that summer found me, my brother, and a mixed bag of our friends all lounging about the pool. The cacophony of 12 and 13 year old girls talking about C.Thomas Howell and Adam Ant songs only worsened by the rude commentary and fart jokes of teenage boys.
But my big crush was there. And at one point, he said to me, "I like your swimsuit."
This old thing? I can't believe he noticed me, after all, parading in front of him on the upside of
I sat down in a chair near him and started chatting with him about my brother's Van Halen album of which I had committed all lyrics to memory and thought this trivia would be impressive in an cool, older boy kind of way. He was very kind to me and his bemused look I mistook for a fraction of interest.
Until he leaned over and in a low voice said, "You have something hanging out of your suit."
Me, ever quick on her feet, rather than excusing myself like a lady, I
He, being so much older and mature, merely answered: I think it might be your tampon string.
Wait, did he just say tampon string? Did he actually use the word tampon in front of me? Does he not know we do NOT discuss feminine products? That is why they are called "feminine products" so it makes it sound like you are talking about perfume, or rainbows, or sparkles.
Oh nevermind my scrawny body, a size zero at the time, so the tampon string likely looked like one of my pale skinny legs. I know he was trying to be helpful hence my brother find this out and I be mocked into ruination. I rose immediately giving off a crimson hue of hideous embarrassment. And then I sprinted away like a scalded dog.
My tampon string. The mere discussion of it serving as a verbal version of him spraying teenage girl repellent all over himself. Had he known that one simple sentence would be the catalyst to me avoiding him like the plague for a minimum of one year, he might have used it sooner.