The first time I ever got my period my mom made me buy tampons because she said pads were for nerds. I was like where was the fairy godmother of social grace last year when you let me wear elf ears to school? So she made me buy tampons and I didn't know how to put them in the hole because when you're 12 years old there is no hole. Putting a tampon inside of a 12 year old is kind of like threading a needle... if that needle's hole had been sealed up by a hymen. So I begged her, Mom can you jut put it in for me the first time, just to show me where the hole is, and she said "No, I will NOT molest you!" So I just crammed it in there, next to my pee hole but not secure or seatbelted in. And I wore a skirt that day, so you're welcome, universe. I might as well have written "Murphy's Law Bait" on my ass and headed in to school.
I was in a special gifted English class, which is weird, because I was clearly retarded. I could quote Albert Camus but I had no idea what a vagina was nor where it lived. I was walking around class, picking things up from the bookshelf and my tampon fell the heck right out on the floor in front of everyone. But I realized I hadn't told anyone I was on my period, no one knew, so I just kind of kicked it and walked away. And then a little boy came up to me. Not like a little boy, he was my age. And he whispered, "Barbara what's that bloody used.... oooh." And I said, "I don't know, maybe it was from the first period."
Pun was not intended.
I had no idea what a vagina was. None of the pictures were three dimensional and I had no idea that anything could or would go inside of there. I switched to pads and didn't try to do tampons again until swim season started. At that point I knew I was doing it wrong and had a vague idea that maybe I was missing a key part.
"So, um, how do you put the tampon in there?" I asked my friend Meggy.
"What? You just shove it in."
"Shove it in what?"
"But like hamburger or hotdog style?" I asked.
"Like if this is the hole..." I held up my hands and tried to show her horizontal versus vertical.
"If you're putting it in hamburger style you're either doing it incorrectly or you have the widest vagina ever."
"Can you show me where my vagina is?" I asked.
"Get some boundaries, girl!"
I would not realize what or where a vagina was for several years, even though I had one. When I thought about sex I just imagined someone fumbling around near my pee hole. The concept of anything convex down there remained foreign to me for about three years until a guy put a finger in there, and that would be the first time I realized what a vagina was.