Tackle and Tampons

In sixth grade my class spent a lot of time playing football on the playground. Our teacher supervised and almost insisted we take part. So at the age of twelve I learned to play a mean game of football.

One day at school I wasn’t feeling my best, a little puny because I had gotten “my monthly friend” as some of the mothers of the 1960’s and 70’s liked to call “it”.  In no way did I associate it with friendship. At  twelve  I had to learn to deal with a whole new lifestyle for one week out of every month. Dresses, skirts or pants with long tops were my wardrobe because I wasn’t allowed to wear tampons.  My only alternative was the bulky pads.  The pads were so big I was certain they could be spotted from a mile away if anybody walked behind me in the hall.  I never really knew if my attempt to camouflage was successful but after that day it didn’t really matter anyway.

Although I didn’t feel well, I gave into peer pressure and joined the game. Little did I know there would be an unexpected twist put on the game that day. The teacher whom I loved, up until that day, decided we’d play tackle because the boys had begged for so long. The game was on but with the stipulation that we would not be rough and if anyone got hurt the game would be over.

Our class was split and the two teams went head to head.  When my team was on the offense someone threw a pass and I caught it. I was wearing pants that day so I ran pretty fast and free. However out of nowhere a guy from the other team tackled me! Down we went, I fumbled the ball, the other team got it and scored a touchdown. As bad as that was, nothing compared to the feeling of humiliation I felt when the guy who tackled me said out loud, “Hey Julie, what was that big, fat thing between your legs?” Apparently his hand ended up between my legs when he tackled me.

I don’t recall my answer.  But the incident is engraved on my mind to this day and that’s a good sign it traumatized me in some way.

I went home that afternoon and begged my mom for tampons. She finally obliged.

This written for a prompt from The Red Dress Club. Take us back to an embarrassing moment in your life. Did someone embarrass you, your parents perhaps? Or did you bring it upon  yourself?Are you still embarrassed or can you laugh at it now?



  1. OMG, how horrible! I got my monthly friend later in life (I think because I was figure skating so much my body delayed) anyway, I remember the first time I wore a tampon and put it in wrong and then went swimming. The feeling…oh, so not good :p

    Stupid boys. Such jerks at that age!
    Visiting from RDC

  2. Holy bulk, batman, is that a penis in your pants? It kinda makes you wonder what he was thinking, doesn’t it? Wow! I knew by the title of this post that it was gonna be a good one. This was better than good.

    I never liked the pads – they made me feel like I was wearing a diaper. Luckily, my mom was liberal enough (damn hippy) to allow me to wear tampons from the get go. Pads today are so slim & much more acceptable to our psyches because we know that they are not visible as a hulking mass between our legs.

  3. Oh how embarrassing! I probably would have died on the spot. That, or ran to the bathroom and cried. Glad your mom submitted to letting you use tampons. I used pads well into college. Once I used a tampon, I couldn’t imagine why anybody would use those bulky things. I always swore the kids at school always knew when I was wearing them.

  4. Boys are so crude, aren’t they? I absolutely hate wearing pads, to be honest, because I still remember the huge bulky ones my mom made me use in the beginning. And at that time they did have slimmer, less noticable brands – but she could not be swayed. Oh, the humiliation.

  5. ‘the stipulation that we would not be rough’ — gotta love that rule when playing football!

    (TRDC writing at http://haverecklessabandon.blogspot.com/)

  6. Galit Breen says:

    Oh no! Boys? Always do things like that, don’t they?! 🙂

    Loved this line -The teacher whom I loved, up until that day- so much! 🙂

  7. One…what was that teacher thinking?
    Two…what was that boy thinking?
    And lastly, I am so sorry you have that memory etched into your mind. I knew we would have a few period stories today…but was not expecting one like this.

  8. How humiliating! Why did our moms insist on making us wear those pillows between our legs when something better was available. I didn’t learn how to use tampons until I went to college and the dorm mates showed me how.

  9. Stupid boys!! Poor Julie…and don’t they always have a way of saying things that make them even MORE embarrassing. 😦 I think you are to be praised for having the guts to play tackle football to begin with…especially on a day your “friend” was visiting. A stupid boy can say a stupid thing, but you still kick butt for playing even when you felt bad!

    • Thanks Katie. I agree with you, but I caved because my friends begged. Even today I can still catch a football pretty well although I can barely pass it 5 feet in front of me.

  10. You didn’t say…was your teacher male? I’m guessing “yes” because I just can’t imagine a woman letting boys and girls play such a rough-and-tumble game as football together when they were all in/near puberty. But I’ll admit to being old-fashioned on this matter…

  11. Oh JULIE! How awful. Boys are really the meanest! My mom (sorry mom) hadn’t let me shave my armpits until I came home crying one day letting her know some boy asked me, “Are you growing a jungle under there?”

  12. OMG!!!! How does one live that one down? The indignities we are subjected to as tweens are so not fair!!

    • Tell me about it. It makes me sad to think of some of the things I went through but the young girls today have so much more to deal with than we did I think.. Thanks for stopping by cheryl.

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