Monday, January 15, 2007

On this day, we remember...

Menarche. Yes, that's right. It was on a January 15, when I was 14 years old, that I got my first period. Mind you, that was at least a couple years after I read Judy Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, an abomination in that the protagonist, the aforementioned Margaret, is in a tizzy as all her friends get their period by age 12 or ma-a-aybe 13. And of course, Margaret won't be kept waiting until age 14 or later, no, ma'am. Because that would be an unconscionable cruelty to the character!

Among my best friends in high school (who, I am delighted to report, remain my closest friends to this day), one got her period at 16 and another at 15. My mom was 16 when she started the monthly joy. Another friend got her first period at age 9 or 10—and at that age, holy lord of gravy! What girl is ready to deal with tampons or pads in fourth or fifth grade? With classroom disruptions for "May I go to the bathroom now?" Yeesh. Of course, I hear earlier menarche is more and more common these days, what with more body fat and perhaps hormones in the food supply. It'd be great if that Judy Blume book had never existed so those of us in the 14-and-after group wouldn't have felt so...pre-womanly. (Ah, puberty.)

If you saw Talladega Nights at one of those popcorn-selling emporia, you should rent the DVD. When Ricky Bobby's in the hospital and his friends come to sit with him while he's unconscious, in a scene added for the DVD, Michael Clarke Duncan's character reads to him from Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. A friend (the one with the age 9 or 10 period) and I nearly wept from laughing so hard. Yes, I've spoiled the joke for you now, but you'll still laugh if you remember the book from back in the day. I had to rewind and see it again...and I laughed again.

15 comments:

DoctorMama said...

I was 13 years, 4 months. (Keeping track much?) I thought I was the very last one!

I do very much want to see that movie now. Those books -- I had a real love/hate relationship with them.

Narya said...

Hmmm . . . I was 13? Or so? I truly don't remember exactly. However, I am old, so Judy Blume wasn't around yet. My mom had to tell me what was going to happen, and, trust me, it was not a subject about which she was comfortable (and I hadn't managed to glean much information from other sources, either).

meno said...

Happy Meniversary!

I was 13, but mine was artificially induced early to prevent embarassing excess height.

Didn't work.

E. said...

I was totally 15, and for some reason all my friends got their periods (and their breasts) much earlier than me. And as I recall, I'd sort of been pretending-without-actually-saying that I'd already gotten it. And it was another two years before I got the courage up to try a tampon, and then another year before I actually successfully started using them. A classic late bloomer.

And to me Are You There, God?... was like a holy text of adolescent information, as was Then Again, Maybe I Won't.

E. said...
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E. said...

Okay, Orange. So very sorry - my comment was not posting, so I kept trying.... Feel free to delete all but one of the above. Or rather, please do!

Becky..Absent Minded Housewife said...

I got mine on Jan. 23rd. The only reason I remember is that it was on my older sister's birthday and she made fun of me trying to walk around with a pad on. I was 13.

I got my period earlier than many of my friends, but they had boobs way before I did. Sigh.

Narya said...

Wow, Meno, I saw an article in the Ladies Home Journal from 1968 (part of my dissertation research) that suggested two methods of height control for girls who were going to be "too tall." One was the artificial induction of menarche--the other was removing some thigh bone. My response when I read it was, "Whaaa??" and knowing that at least one of those methods was actually tried adds a few exclamation points to that comment.

christinemm said...

Thanks for this post, it made me crack up. I am 39 now, my mom approached me when I was 12, right after my birthday, she said it was time to go buy something special---Stayfree maxi pads was the thing (not what I had in mind). She would not tell me what they were for, though. She said, "When the time is right we will know and I will explain."

She had a hysterectomy at age 23 so I never saw her dealing with a period and we never had those 'feminine products' in our home.

Later gave me "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" and made me read it. (She had read it first.) When I was done, I remember this clear as day, we were in the kitchen and she said, "Do you have any questions about the book?" and I said, "No". Truly though the book was my first period talk.

From then on I used self-education with books (and the "Ask Beth" column in the newspaper), and sometimes the public library to inform me of important things in life, and the personal topics, too.

I should re-read "Margaret" and see what it is like now that it has been so long. I'll look for T. Nights to watch too, if only for that scene!

Daughters of my friends are getting their period at 9 and 10, and wearing bras at 6 and 7. Things are changing, that is for sure.

bubandpie said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who remembers the date - July 5, 1983. At the time I was struck by the amazing coincidence that this was one year to the day since I had written out all the puberty-related lines from AYTGIMM in my diary in pink pen.

(Hello, by the way. I just clicked over here from Bobita's blog, and I normally like to introduce myself to new people by indicating my date of menarche.)

Orange said...

I'm stealing that! From now on, I will always introduce myself by way of mentioning my date of menarche.