By Rebecca Reid
You’d think that by your twenties, when you’ve had a lot of years of experience of menstruation, periods wouldn’t come as a surprise. Wrong. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been menstruating, or how organised you are, it’s entirely possible for your period to sneak up on you and stab you in the back. Or uterus. This metaphor has gone to a weird place. Any way, here’s how to handle it if you wake up in a pool of your own menstrual blood and start freaking out.
Here’s a shameful story. As a teenager I was staying with a family I didn’t know. I got my period over night, freaked out and decided that the best way to deal would be to say absolutely nothing. It wasn’t a lot of blood, but it also wasn’t no blood, which is the ideal amount to leave on someone else’s bedding. If you’re not sharing a bed, strip the sheet off, sneak into the bathroom, wash out just that patch with hand soap and either sleep around the damp patch or use a hairdryer. Blood that really, really won’t come out can be shifted with normal bleach if a) it’s clear rather than coloured and b) the sheet is white. Or you could just tell your boyfriend/ friend what happened. If they’re a dick about it then just leave.
A sneak attack period is not fun, especially if you’ve leaked more than anticipated. First of all, assess damage. Discretely work out if your chair is damp, or if it’s just your clothing. Most office chairs are dark coloured, so don’t freak out too much. Get up, drop something (coat, bag, book, anything really) on your chair, push it in, and go to the bathroom. If your knickers are saturated, use loo paper to dry them off. Obviously if you’ve got a friend at work to give you a tampon, or a tampon machine in the loo, do that. Otherwise, it’s loo paper. Do not put loo paper inside yourself. It’s not a good plan. You can end up with little bits of tissue linger in your vag, and you can scratch yourself, and generally speaking it’s just not a good plan. Instead take a decent sized wedge of loo roll and place it neatly between your labia. Pull your knickers up so they’re high waisted (they’ll hold things together better this way). Get some spray-fabric cleaner, either fess up, stay late or come in early. Give your chair a clean.
On your clothes
If you’ve leaked on your chair it’s probably also on your clothing. Not idea. Hopefully you’re wearing black, but even if you are be aware that if it’s soaking with blood, you’re basically a blood sponge, and go dry yourself off. If you’ve worn a non-black outfit then move quickly and confidently to the bathroom. Anyone who notices your blood stain is checking out your arse, which isn’t okay, so they won’t say anything. Menstruation is normal. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Rinse off your stained garment in the sink with COLD water, not hot (hot makes things worse, it sort of cooks the blood into the garment) and hand soap. Try it under the hand dryer. Done. Haye, Wilder or Whyte: Who could Anthony Joshua fight next after 20th KO in a row? On your fancy underwear Few things are more embittering than buying sexy new underwear and then your womb ruining things. It’s a waste of money, and if you were wearing sexy undies there’s a strong chance that you were hoping to undertake an activity that is a lot messier if you’re bleeding. Basically, try not to let the stain dry. Soak it in cold water and, if you’ve got access to it, a hefty lug of table salt. Give it a couple of hours and chances are in a couple of hours they’ll be good as new.