Girl Talk

like, serious GIRL talk

There are a few things I think every woman should know, and I don’t know where the parenting chain breaks down, but some women don’t know about these things. And in college, it was somehow my job to teach these young girls things that their mothers and fathers assumed they knew, or I guess didn’t even know themselves.

I’m just going to get them out of the way here and now, and then we can move on. Perhaps you’ll have something to share when it’s all over, because you know a secret or two that should be common knowledge.

Some of these aren’t so much secrets, as tricks and tips to being a girl. You might not have picked them up. That’s okay. Some of these things are very important! Very important! And if you weren’t following those rules before, then you have no excuse anymore.

How to put on a bra

I know some women who fling these things off the second they get into the house. They hate bras and find them incredibly constricting. I think, maybe they never learned how to wear a bra correctly. I love wearing my bra and pretty much never go without one, unless I’m asleep or in a swimsuit. Okay, and right now, but that’s because I just got up. I haven’t even washed my face yet. That’s how much I care about you people.

Okay. First. Put your arms through the shoulder straps. Don’t do that thing where you fasten the bra around your stomach and then spin the bra around and pull the straps up. For one thing, you’re gonna end up with a scratch on your stomach from the clasp, and for another, you’re not fourteen anymore.

Now, lean forward and let your breasts fall into the cups of the bra as you reach around behind you and fasten the back.

The lean is very important. It’s letting your breasts be naturally lifted without you yanking on them, and placing them into the cups in a way they naturally fall.

You don’t have to fasten on the last clasp. This doesn’t make you thinner. Some days you’re gonna be puffier than other days. Make sure the back part isn’t cutting into your flesh, or riding up in the back. If it is, you’ve got it on too tight. It should feel snug, but not constricting. It’s okay to loosen the back clasp and have it on the second or third clasp. What? There’s no second or third clasp? Oh, you’re a 32A, you say. Huh. I’m sorry. I’m not exactly sure where the rules are different for you, then. I’m sure they are. I’m sorry I don’t know. Does it hurt when you put it on? Then you might be a 34A instead.

Now, the shoulder straps. They shouldn’t cut into your shoulders. If they do, your straps are too small. Your breasts might be too large for that flimsy-ass bra you’re wearing, too. Loosen the straps until you can feel that your breasts are lifted, but not straining your back. Nothing should hurt. In fact, the bra should feel comforting and comfortable.

Okay, check out the front. Are your breasts flowing over the tops of the cups, creating the lovely four-boob abnormality? Then it’s time to get a larger bra. You’re not a C anymore. Are they pinched together making painful cleavage? Loosen the back. Are they pulled up to your chin? Loosen the shoulder straps. Your breasts should be lifted and separated so that they hang like Barbie’s. They may not point up like Barbie’s, but they have that general placing on the body. Understand? Good.

It’s okay to reach your hand into the cups and lift your breasts and reset them inside the cups. Leaning over helps here, as again gravity will work with you. Don’t have some of your breast falling out underneath the bra. Don’t just let the breasts get squished or crammed into something they don’t like. You’ll be in pain later.

The following bras don’t count as “bras” and don’t apply to these rules: demi-cup bras. Push-up bras. Strapless. Crazy criss-cross backs. The kind with the front clasp.

Demi-cup bras are kinda silly, don’t you think? You’re always showing a bit of flesh out the top, and one quick bounce and you’re out of that thing anyway. There’s nothing sexier than your breasts flopping over the top of your bra, right? Get a real bra.

Push-up bras are for you to kick your titties into high gear, so I guess the higher you can get them, the better. And if you’re wearing a push-up bra, you’re already into pain anyway, so ignore all of my teachings.

That front-clasp thing has always come undone for me the second I try and cross my arms. Maybe you’ve gotten it to work. Good for you. Whenever I try one on, though, I still do the forward lean and run the straps over my shoulders the same way. But then you don’t really get to adjust the back size, so make sure that bra fits before you leave the dressing room.

Using a Tampon

It shouldn’t hurt. There. That’s rule number one. If it hurts, you’re not doing it right, or you’re too stressed, or you’re freaking yourself out.

It’s okay. It’s just a tampon. It’s there to help you, not hurt you. You don’t lose your virginity from using it, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

Some women have to change their tampons more frequently than others. You know your own flow, the days that you’re heavier than others. They sell those mulit-day packages for that, and they seem to work pretty well.

So, you say you tried your sister’s tampon one day when you wanted to go swimming and it hurt so bad you vowed never to do it again? Well, let me tell you the benefits first. There’s very little mess. You only feel a tampon when something isn’t placed correctly. There’s no smell. You’re cleaner. You don’t have to figure out how to get rid of a pad when you’re at a friend’s house. There isn’t something between your legs that you have to worry about. You don’t ruin as many sheets or shorts or pairs of underwear. It’s better for the environment. They take up less space. You can sleep without worrying. You don’t make that diaper noise when you walk.

Now. Again, if you only tried it that one time and you hated it, there could be several reasons. First, you might have been given a tampon that was the wrong size for you, or isn’t one you’d be comfortable using. I can’t go anywhere near those super absorbency ones. My sister used to joke that you can hear the sucking noise before you put it inside your body. They are too big and scary for me, and I don’t need that much cotton to do the job. If you’re learning how to use it still, I’d start with a box of slenders. For your first few times, you’ll probably want a plastic applicator, as they’re easier to work with when you’re learning. You can move on to the cardboard applicator (or for the adventurous– no applicator!) once you get the hang of it and are used to inserting one.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to get a mirror and put it between your legs to see what you’re working with. Put one leg up on the toilet (lid down, please) and hold the mirror there. You should be able to see all of your parts. And every woman should know what their vagina looks like. I can’t tell you how many grown women have never looked. That’s you down there. It’s pretty. It’s yours.

You say it’s hurting when you try and put it in? That’s because you’re trying to put something dry into your body. Move it around the outside for a second, and let some of your own moisture get on the tip of the tampon. For you virgins, this trick will come in handy later. DO NOT, DO NOT PUT VASELINE OR ANY OTHER OIL-BASED PRODUCT ON THE TIP OF THE TAMPON FOR LUBRICATION. You don’t want oil inside of your vagina. Man. That’s just asking for trouble.

Once the tampon is a little lubricated, it should slide right in. Angle it to the inside of your body, and aim the tampon towards your cervix. This means that you’re putting the tampon in at an angle towards your butt. Don’t drive the thing straight up, unless you’re standing in a weird position. There you’re probably in pain, anyway, because you’re not relaxed, and your stressing yourself out and you’re gonna end up scraping your insides and throwing it out declaring “Not for me.”

Relax. It helps. Just like when you’re at the gynecologist, you have to relax or the whole thing can become incredibly painful. For a body part that can pass a baby, we can make it so a straw can’t even get inside if we want to. Work with your body, not against it.

When inserting the tampon with an applicator, hold the applicator between your middle finger and your thumb, right where the two parts of the applicator meet. Once you’ve inserted the tampon to where your fingers are touching your vagina, then you do the “plunge.” Take your index finger and push the end of the applicator, which pushes the tampon into your body. Now: REMOVE THE APPLICATOR BY HOLDING ONTO THAT MIDDLE PART. Do you know how many women give up on tampons because they didn’t know this step and were walking around all in pain? Remove it. Both parts. You should be holding a tube that’s double layered, and the string should be hanging from between your legs.

Now. Stand up. Bend a little. Is it hurting? Do you feel it pushing against your inner labia? You don’t have the tampon in far enough. You wussed out. Take it out and try a new one. Make sure you’re putting it in far enough. Did you pinch some hair on the way in? Yeah, man. That sucks. That hurts. It’s very painful to push your own hair up in there. Gingerly pull the hairs out. Gingerly! Don’t go all whacking around down there. Love yourself, girlie.

Throw away the applicator. Don’t save it, for God’s sake. You don’t need it anymore.

I learned from the amazingly informative tampon thread at Beth’s site that if you’re planning on going somewhere where the string might be seen (like the beach or pool) you can tuck the string inside of you and pull it out later when it’s time to remove it. Will wonders ever cease? I never even thought of tucking the string in before.

Now, you should be able to walk around, dance, swim, ride a horse– all without feeling that you’re wearing a tampon. It expands when it gets wet, so right now it’s filling out to conform to the inside of your body. If you find that you’re still spotting, or bleeding right through the tampon– then you need one with a higher absorbency. You might need a bigger tampon. With practice, it’s not hard to move up to a bigger level.

Change the tampon every four to six hours. When you’re lying down, your flow is lighter, so before you go to bed you can put a new one in and not worry about it until the morning. I remember in high school they had me so freaked out about Toxic Shock Syndrome that I used to set my alarm for every four hours and go and change the tampon in the middle of the night. You don’t have to do that. You’ll be fine through the night.

At this point I’d like to advise against deodorant tampons. Anything with perfume. You don’t need anything in there that’s scented. No one will be smelling that far inside your body. It’s better to be natural. Just take more showers when you’re on your period and you’ll be fine.

Removal is the simple part. Grab the string(s) between your legs and pull down gently (don’t go ripping out your insides) and the tampon should fall out. Throw it in the toilet or into the tampon receptacle and flush away. Insert a new one if needed.

See? That wasn’t that bad. Everyone can use tampons. They make being a girl much easier.

Back when they didn’t have little pills to cure yeast infections I would have ended this lesson with, “At least you’re not treating yourself for a yeast infection. Tampons are a walk in the fucking park after that mess.” But now I guess you don’t have to use the giant applicator filled with cream. Or you just do it for one night instead of seven. Thank you, modern science.

Wiping

I’ll make this short and sweet. You know who you are if you’re not following the golden rule. Front to back. FRONT TO BACK. Never, never NEVER back to front. Ever. Ever! Angle your hand around the outside of your ass or stand up or get used to bending your wrist that way– I don’t care. Don’t wipe from back to front. You are setting yourself up for the nastiest yeast infection you’ve ever seen and all sorts of other problems. Your body wants to be wiped in that direction. Don’t argue with it. You just bring all of those germs up to the front from the back (which has the WORST germs). Seriously. Don’t do it. If you do it now, please don’t do it anymore. It’s my one thing that I’m willing to tell the world about. I’m like a Mormon about this. Don’t wipe the wrong way, please. Please.

And while I’m at it, don’t pick your butt and then wipe your eye or your nose or something. Do you want an ass infection in your eye? Do you? Man. Your butt has some nasty germs. And if you have to go picking around your butt (which the long-haireds sometimes have to, as we’ve mentioned)– try and wash your hands before you start fiddling with your makeup, okay?

Look. Girls can be nasty. We’ve all seen the public restrooms. I’m just trying to make you safer, healthier and happier. These aren’t big things, here, and hopefully most of you knew all about them anyway. But for those of you that didn’t, I hope that you learned something here. I hope that maybe I’ve shattered the fear of the tampon, or I’ve made sure you don’t have the double-shelf look going on under your t-shirt. Maybe you were wondering why you always suffered from chronic yeast infections. That’s why I’m doing this.

Now, go out and be girly. Spread the teachings.

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