Okay, here we go. This is a blog post that I never thought that I would be writing. To be honest, it concerns an issue which I never imagined that I would have. Moving overseas for six months, I was prepared to run into trouble in admin offices, at university, perhaps at train stations/bus stops.
Never, ever, did I think I would be absolutely rooted-to-the-spot stuck in the female sanitary aisle of the supermarket.
Yes, ladies. You read that correctly. One of my greatest struggles was buying pads.
As I said, it was not a hardship I had anticipated encountering. But man, it hit me hard. Okay, maybe it was a little unrealistic hoping that Libra Invisibles or U Ultrathins might also be big on the Italian market. I was prepared to encounter some new names, new faces.
But not only were the brands absolutely completely foreign – the ‘rating’ (for want of a better word) was too! That’s right, no Liners, Regulars, Supers and Goodnights here. Oh no. Italy opted for a scale much like a five star rating – little outlines of drops which were coloured in to express suitability based on heaviness of the ‘situation’. Fair enough. Except the products seemed to jump from 1-drop to 4-drops, with nothing in between. Where are the Regulars? Not here, that’s for sure!
Then, as if that wasn’t confusing enough – the pads themselves were almost enveloped by the tampon boxes, which crowded the shelves and rendered the pads almost invisible, stuck at the end of the aisle. What about the ladies who prefer the non-intrusive option, huh? A little equality, please!
So once I had actually managed to find the pad section and stood anxiously tossing up which amount of drops was best for my flow, I had to choose a brand. I picked a small pink box up – nope, back down, too old-looking. The funky blue? Nope, the pack is too large, they’ll be massive.
A confused sales assistant wandered past for the third time (I had been there for nearly fifteen minutes by this stage, rooted to the spot) and I prayed to God that she wouldn’t ask me if I needed help. Another customer passed, made her selection, then left. And then another. I stood in angst, overwhelmed, confused, and wondering what the hell all these words on the packets actually meant. Funnily enough, sanitary terminology wasn’t my forte in Italian.
In the end, I grabbed something, anything, and ran traumatised back to my college room, mystified that the supposedly simple task of buying pads had in fact become a distressing ordeal.
So there you go ladies – be not fooled. Arm yourselves and be prepared before you step into the bamboozling arena that is the Italian female sanitary aisle.