Yes, yes I did just use the "P" word.
And dudes who read this blog may want to scroll on. That said, dudes who want to be educated, and perhaps show a little more understanding to a woman rider, may want to keep reading. Your choice, but you have been warned.
A couple of months ago, after listening to a Freakonomics podcast interviewing Thinx Period Panties co-founder Miki Agrawal, I busted open the iPad and ordered just over $80 of underwear. To be more specific, panties. Three pair. It took a pretty big leap of faith for me to invest that much money in three very small items, without ever having heard a review on the product from someone I actually know and trust.
I let my fellow Colorado GS Girls know I had done this, and that I would follow it up with a review at some point. One of our members mentioned that she had bought some, and really liked them, and a number of women showed an interest in knowing more.
It seems ridiculous that with approximately half of the population of people in the world experiencing periods--and having done so since The Beginning of (Wo)Man-Kind, that we are still loathe to confront these subjects. Well, I'm here to put it all out there for my friends, and call bullshit on the taboo of discussing periods.
First things first. I got the panties in the mail, and was finally able to actually put my hands on them. As they are only available via the interwebs right now, that was the most important thing to me about them--what do they feel like??? They are a three-layer panty, and I really wanted to know if they felt nice, or felt like wearing Depends or a diaper. I mean who wants to run (ride) around with massive amounts of fabric bunched up in her crotch. Not me. For point of reference, I ordered the "Cheeky," the "Sport," and the "Thong."
They feel fine. They are a little heartier than your normal pair of undies, whether you're wearing silk, cotton, nylon, wool, etc. But they aren't obnoxious. They have a nice finish around the legs and waist, so you won't see panty lines anymore than most other undies. The one exception might be if you're wearing very thin leggings over them--which I often do, but then cover with REV'IT moto pants, so who cares.
A week or so after I got them, I was leaving on a ten day moto trip. Thinking I wasn't going to be in need of them within those ten days, I almost didn't take them. But then I tossed them in the bags anyway. They don't take up much room, so why not? And as it turns out, I was glad I did.
Eight days into my trip, I was riding up to Moab, UT from Arizona, and felt the first tell-tale twinges of cramps. I thought, "What? You've got to be kidding!" It was coming a couple of days earlier than it should, and I was not interested in dealing with being on my period. I still had a couple of nights of camping and riding to do with my ADVWoman Rally staff. Ain't nobody got time for this bullshit!
After setting up camp in a campground with nothing resembling running water or even a pit toilet, my friend Kandi and I ran around the grocery store, grabbing food and drink supplies for the next couple of days. I begrudgingly also bought a box of tampons, hoping like hell I wouldn't need them, and just popped the box in the tank bag to have with me at all times.
The next morning, I decided to try the Cheekies out. I wanted to see how they felt while standing around, walking around, running around, and riding around. So glad I did! And thankfully, at a darling breakfast restaurant the next morning, I had my tank bag with me as that nasty bitch, Aunt Flo, decided to make a visit. (For the record, never has a guest been so unwanted...)
We spent the entire day, until about 4:00 in the afternoon, in a broad, dusty open area, with barely a bush for cover. And boy did those panties do their job of keeping everything in. They didn't leak. They didn't feel icky. They didn't stick to me. Though I wondered about how it was all going down there during the course of the day, I wasn't absorbed with worrying. Yaaaassssss!!!
That night camping, and the following day of riding with the ladies in the morning, and the six hour ride home to Denver went by without incident! Those Thinx panties were worth every penny!
So, you might be wondering why you would want them. You might have your period under control, you might be perfectly regular and ready for every situation. Well, congratulations to you! Just know things can change, and take a moment to read my little story of Mosquito Pass. A few people know this story, and I tell it every once in a while, should I think someone is in need of a laugh, or some sympathy.
A couple of friends--all men--were going to ride Mosquito Pass from Fairplay to Leadville. If you want to know more about this Jeep trail, you can look it up. Each year it is a little different, but it always has some rocky, technical sections. It gets above tree line and has massive, beautiful, wide open views.
So we start up the trail, and make it past the first two really rocky sections. During the second one, Josh bashed his bike on something, and once we got to a good open area, we all stopped so he could do a quick repair. Sparing you all the details--because this story is going to be long enough as it is--as I stood there chatting with my two friends--and one other guy we met as he was going the opposite direction from us--I started my period. Out of the blue. Just boom!
And I was caught completely unprepared.
I had recently finished my period, and was not expecting another visit for several weeks. Now, I was caught unawares and unprepared, and still had almost the whole trail to finish out, bumping and bouncing along on rocks, hoping that since Goretex doesn't let moisture in, it also wouldn't let any out. Of my WHITE AND SILVER moto pants.
Well, I made it through. We got to Leadville and had lunch, but as we headed back up and over the pass in the other direction, I couldn't concentrate. My mind wandered and I was unfocused. Pretty soon, out of the middle of nowhere, I found myself sitting across the side of the bike as it lay on its side.
I never really hit the ground, I just slid in one direction as the bike slid in the other. There was an odd, floaty feeling as I went down, and my muscles and joints just let go. I felt limp. I knew, at that moment, that would continue to happen. Knowing the area well, I begged off the return trip and said I'd do the go-around, meeting them back in Fairplay. They were all surprised, and a bit confused, but my almost immediate feeling of exhaustion that hit as I went down made me realize stopping was a necessity.
For a long time, I thought it was just me. I thought I was weird as with increasing age, I found myself becoming more clumsy and more forgetful when I was coasting along with the red tide.
As it turns out, there has been increasing research into why many women have reported feeling clumsy or foggy-brained just before and during their period. It appears to be a combination of dropping progesterone levels--causing problems with coordination, affecting vision, movement and hand steadiness--and dropping estrogen levels causing fuzzy brain and slower reaction time.
Having researched this now, I feel much better with the idea that science/chemistry is behind it, and I'm not just an idiot. It doesn't make me any happier though. I don't want to take a week away from every month because **in a whiny, sing-song voice** I'm On My Period....
So, I don't. How would I get through my upcoming ten month trip, if every four weeks we had to stop for a week because I was afraid my hormone deprived body was going to rebel against me and drop 550 lbs of loaded parallel twin, on myself or off a cliff? Boy, would it be slow going and annoying. I'll figure it out.
There are things in the future I won't do. I won't schedule myself to participate in a class where I need all the concentration I can muster on a good day to learn and complete tasks that might be new or difficult to me. There is always another class or another time.
If that is the only class and the only time, I won't be hard on myself if I struggle.
If that is the only road, I will slow myself down and forgive myself for being more cautious.
If those are my only pants, I'll pull up my Thinx and get on with it! Though, I do think they need to start making those panties with motos printed on them.
You can find Thinx at www.shethinx.com
I would put pictures of me wearing them up with this blog, but you can just go to the website and see the models wearing them. I look just like that...