It is amazing the things that people think they can get women to buy. By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Bic for Her pens, which cater to the magpie-like tendency of women to take out their purse and spend money on things as long as they are shiny. Bonus points if they’re also pastel or have flowers on them.
The thing about these pens is that there is nothing different about them besides the fact that their shells are pastel. The ink color, the shape of the pens themselves, it’s all the same as their classic clear barreled pens. Supposedly they’re supposed to be more ergonomic for women but we’re talking about a ball point pen here. An office implement that costs less than a dollar doesn’t need to be gendered and—what? Oh, that’s right. These things cost an average of two dollars more per pen than regular, penis-focused pens.
Just like every other gendered thing on the market, we are expected to pay for the privilege of femininity. If you want to be a pretty, attractive, likeable girl (which is of course what we all want, no exceptions), then you need to pay extra for the lady pens, the shower gel with the pretty writing, the vitamins with the pink ribbon. Never mind that these things are exactly the same as the stuff men are buying, just dressed up for the vagina owners.
What got me started, though, was a trip to good old Aisle 8A. Realistically, the only time a guy travels down that particular path is when the lady of the house is sending him on an errand because unless he’s doing research for something, he has no need for either pads or tampons. Or he could be out of putty for his dowel-holes, I don’t know. We always make sure to have enough putty for projects. Mister E isn’t ashamed to go down the period aisle, mainly because he is a man and not a 14 year old boy, but even if he was he understands that for the most part there is nothing scary in those pastel boxes.
Or so we thought.
Apparently, while no one was looking, they decided to try and sneak something back in that I haven’t seen since the eighties: Scented pads.
I don’t even know why these things exist. If you’re worried that an odor might be a problem during your lady times, perhaps more fastidious hygiene is called for rather than using fake floral scent to cover it up. Back in the day, enough of my female relatives fell for the ol’ scented maxi and tampon gimmick that as soon as I opened the cabinet looking for a roll of toilet paper I was smacked in the face by a sickeningly flowery aroma that sticks with me even today. If I smell a bar of soap that even remotely resembles that scent, I’m transported back to 1987 and my aunt’s bathroom and I know I cannot be the only one this happens to.
The end result is that I and many of my friends would never go anywhere near a scented pad, no matter how sparkly or pretty the box is. We all know that scent too well, so if we were ever to come across a lady who smelled like it we would know it was lady times, so the purpose of disguising your period would be defeated entirely. A lady who smells like cucumber-melon is a lady who has had a shower and may or may not be on her period. A lady who smells like cucumber-melon with an undercurrent of sickly-sweet flowers is definitely on her period and also very vulnerable to gender-based advertising.
My only guess is that they’re trying to sell these things to teenage girls and early twenty year olds who aren’t even old enough to remember the Reagan administration, much less the mind-warpingly bad scented maxi pad smell. If that’s the case, then I apologize to all the young ladies out there. Clearly my generation has not done its job if we’re revisiting scented pads and trying to sell you pastel ball point pens.
My advice? Buy some putty.