Every four (or five or six!) weeks or so, I put a tampon in my shoe. I slip it down the arch side of my brown leather loafers, plastic wrapping, applicator, and all. I do this because I’m a silly girl apparently not quite comfortable with her womanhood, being the pert young thing I am.
The problem is this: Everyone knows what you’re up to when you take your purse to the bathroom with you. Everyone notices when you take your purse to the bathroom with you. And frankly, I am not at peace with the idea that half the office knows it’s that time of the month in my neck of the woods, even though my coworkers are overwhelmingly of the female variety. So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t want to take her purse to the ladies with her? Why, put it in her shoe, of course. And so I do.
(Don’t misunderstand; the shoe is chosen out of necessity, not preference. Sometimes putting it in my pocket–the obvious place–is a viable option, and on those rare occasions when all my coworkers are magically out of sight and out of hearing range of the crinkle crinkle of me trying to shove one of these individually-wrapped-for-my-convenience-and-privacy unmentionables into my chic small-pocketed jeans while I try to stay seated and fully upright, I’m absolutely in favor of taking advantage of it. But 98 percent of the time I’m not alone and can’t afford to draw the kind of attention such a stunt would engender. Hence we arrive at the footwear solution.)
Putting a tampon into one’s shoe isn’t as hard as you might imagine, at least not for me. First, because I have feet the size of a Tyrannosaur’s and insteps that arc as high and graceful as that St. Louis landmark, although they smell much better. Second, because my purse sits on the floor right next to my feet and I’m constantly reaching into it and rooting and rummaging about for a granola bar or a fruit juice or a double bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries and a vanilla milkshake. So when I go down for the tampon and fuss and curse a little because I can never find what I’m looking for, I always make sure I emerge with the perfect cover for all the commotion: a half-stick of gum, and sometimes, if I’m feeling beneficent, the whole pack to share. Little does anyone know that the bearer and sharer of that wintergreen chew has a tampon in her shoe. It’s my little secret, and probably best kept just that way.
So here I am, sitting at my desk in the middle of a busy office with a feminine hygeine product underfoot. Imagine me wearing the smug smile of a girl who has just fooled a roomfull of smarter-than-average people. It looks good on me, I know.
Now image me getting up and walking between the desks and bookshelves. What’s that? Have I thrown out my hip? Is my siatic nerve being pinched? Are my panties tight and bunching? No? Then why the limp? Why the up and down like a little kid mimicking a carousel ride? Ah, yes, there’s a round tube of hard plastic in my shoe and I’m trying to walk without letting it slip under my ball or heel, where it will be crushed as flat as a long, rectangular, polymer-based pancake. I shuffle, I waddle, I drag one leg behind me like a half-dead heroine in a horror film. I look incredibly silly and stupid and a little like someone who could use a good chiropractor or a week at rehab. But still I grin, knowing what I know, knowing they know not what I know. I gallop out of the room, awkward but triumphant. Being mature is so overrated.
So after many an hour spent pondering the concept of secret names for our new secret website, we’ve both found monnikers worth trying on at least for a little while. Of course we know we’re not fooling anyone, but it will help stave off the rampant googlers whom we’d rather not have visiting us here. So with that, I’m proud to announce to you for the first time, Mr. and Ms. Ethan* and Leah**.
Hmm. That feels kind of funny. We’ll see how it works out.
*My Ethan is a dead ringer for Ethan Hawke in profile. They have the same brow, the same nose, the same chin; it’s scary really. My Ethan would not, however, cheat on the uber-hot mother of his children or publish several works of mediocre fiction.
**After flirting with several names, I got to Leah down a meandering path that took me from Mona Lisa to Leonardo DaVinci to Leonarda to Leah (which might have just as easily been Leia (as in Princess) or Lia, if I didn’t think it looked like Liar, which is not entirely inappropriate at this point). I may change my mind.