It happened at Walgreens as soon as I picked up the balloon sized packages of sale priced maxi pads; that feeling. The feeling that as soon as you picked up the product, everyone in the store would immediately look at you and “know“. It’s not like millions of women haven’t experienced it before, for all tense and purposes Picasso even experienced one, and his was blue.
Every time I have to go shopping for pads, I can’t help but feel mortified. Its as if sometimes I feel by picking up the product on the shelf it will set off a weight sensitive alarm where everyone will be alerted by flashing red lights to come stare and point at the tired frazzled woman in aisle three. Even though this never happens, usually I try to shove the pads in my cart and disguise them with pity purchases, like a magazine or food and candy for someone else. This time I didn’t have a cart and tried to cover it up with a thank you card but the bundle was just too big.
Just as I was rounding the home stretch, searching in desperation for the magazine rack, a familiar face walked through the door. It was the UPS man who usually does the deliveries at the store I work at. He is an extremely jovial man who makes sure to include everyone in on his conversation. He enters a room and makes sure no one is a stranger to him. This does not bode well for my period panic.
There I stood at the magazine rack, pretending not to have heard him trying to get me in on the conversation with the people at the register. I made sure only to expose my left side which was not holding the extremely large, noticeable blue plastic packages. It was at that moment I heard him say something like, “like her over there”. He had recognized me.
I was hoping maybe he had thought I was my own mute twin. There was no fooling him. Instead I kept my distance, looked in his direction, nodded and did a nervous laugh while I waited for him to walk back out the door. Surely he thought my behavior was odd, usually every time I see him at work I greet him with a hello and friendly rap-ore, sometimes even opening the door for him. I was not going anywhere near him this time. As he walked back out the door, somehow I got the feeling he was confused.
I walked to the register, realized there was only one cashier and it was a man. This was not getting any easier. There is nothing worse than having your pity purchases and super jumbo cotton absorbers being checked out by a member of the opposite sex. Every time this happens I flash to some sixties montage film reel playing in the man’s brain of the man himself dressed as the devil in red teasing, pointing with his pitch fork while maniacal laughter ensues.
I paid for my purchases and made a beeline for the door feeling slightly unscathed by human eyes and ready to start my weekend, nothing was going to slow me down.
Today I went back to work not thinking about the feminine purchase on the corner of “Always” and “Kotex”; then suddenly the familiar face had walked back in; the UPS man. I was adjusting product on the shelves when memories of Friday evening came flooding back into my head. He quickly looked at me and then looked to his left nervously as he made an exit with his two wheeler after a quick drop off. He never said hi or hello, just a nervous acknowledgement of my existence. Maybe he was carrying maxi pads too…for his wife of course.
What purchases have you always been embarrassed to make? What item or items are you always scared to get caught with?