Welcome to My Dollhouse: Adventures in Puberty

I was what one might call a "late bloomer." The boys at school called me "flat-as-a-board-Becca" all through middle school. They held up their school books and whispered, "Look, it's your chest." (see above photo. I am the tall one on the left.) When my friends were starting their periods and shopping for bras with their moms, I was stuffing my shirt and posing sideways in front of the mirror, you know, just to see what I would look like.

At summer camp all of us girls devised a plan to shave our body hair as sort of a fraternal bonding experience between bunk-mates. I had barely even sprouted pubes but I shaved what I had with the rest of my friends and we started a secret pube-free club that ended up getting us practically thrown out of camp for being deviants. It was the beginning of sex and sexuality and hooking up with boys and "girl talk." It was the summer of skinny dipping and borrowing clothes and rounding second base.

Because I was the last of my friends to have a period, I decided to lie and say I had already started mine. During lunch when a friend had to go change her tampon I was so totally there.

"Omigod. I have such bad cramps right now. It sucks. Do you have a tampon I can borrow?"


Years passed and nothing. I figured that making out with boys on the beach would at least warrant me some "growth," perhaps maybe a B cup or, shit, some kind of cup! I was the training-bra chick in the locker room who knew how to change the "secret way." No bra or lack of boobage exposed.

By the time I started my period I was relieved. I was also what I thought to be a "pro" at this point. I had faked my womanhood for years now and had total confidence that I knew what I was doing and needed no help from anyone. Hell, I didn't even need to read the directions on the Tampax box. Psh. I so totally had it under control.

I had heard from my friends that pads were disgusting and tampons felt like "nothing" and were so much better. I trusted my friends. They were cool. They knew shit like I did and that was why we were friends. We knew everything. We were like adults but smarter.

I went straight for the tampons and never looked back. Unfortunatley for me, the whole tampon thing was a little more uncomfortable than my associates had promised. I thought maybe it was a first-time thing and hobbled to soccer practice, excited to bitch and moan about having a period and "does anyone have any Midol? My cramps are so totally sucking right now, like, serious."

I Arrived at soccer practice white as a ghost and in terrible pain. I was trembling from what felt like squatting on a blender. It was totally contrary to my plan.

"Are you okay, Becca?"

"Yeah. You know. My period. It just sucks. I'm in a lot of pain. I have a migraine. Does anyone need a tampon?"

Luckily for me, our soccer practice was pretty mild ever since our coach walked, er stomped out on us during a game and never came back. Our team had somehow accidentally been placed in a competitive league and we were quite literally unable to perform. Our German former soccer-pro dude with the pony-tail bailed after I accidentally scored a goal against our own team (my only goal scored my entire soccer career).

We were later left to coach ourselves which meant braiding each others hair during warm-up and writing our names in lipstick on the soccer balls we then kicked at the fence for 45 minutes, gushing over Luke Perry and Jonathon Brandis all the while.

I barely made practice that day, crying in secret from the pain. I was sorry I had waited all these years to be tortured so. What a waste of life.

I had all but given up two days later when I was scrounging the house for maxi pads. Cool or not cool, tampons were the devil. It was a simple choice of wearing a diaper or shooting myself. I flipped a coin.

I don't remember how it happened, the impetus behind my sitting down for five minutes with the tampax pamphlet to actually read the directions. I had known-it-all most of my life and at that moment, bored of praying to a God I didn't really believe in anyway, I thought, "what the hell? Maybe the whole throbbing pain thing was because I did something wrong. It was almost possible.

And there it was, folded up in tampax origami fashion- diagram and all, proof I had indeed inserted the thing totally wrong. And there I sat, feeling like such a royal idiot I started to cry. To my utter shock, one was not supposed to insert the whole thing in their vagoo, cardboard applicator and all. That's right, the applicator that was scraping me to death was trash. Hell, I could even flush it down the toilet!I had been throwing away the wrapper and the rest, well... up we go! No wonder I was in agony for a week!

When the next month rolled around, shit was easy peasy. Periods were cool. Painless. No problem at all. And it's even possible I might have learned something out of the whole debacle: Following directions once in a while might be something to try more often.

I never told any of my friends what happened. I never told anyone that I started my period at fourteen, well after I had rounded third base. I never told anyone that all those borrowed tampons went straight in the garbage bin and the Midol too. And as the years passed and I went from flat-as-a-board Becca to DDDcup-then-two-breast -reductions Becca and I mastered the art of being "on the rag" and then not being on the rag (ah, sweet pregnancy) I have finally come to a point where the most hellishly embarrassing moments of my adolescence are kind of worth sharing.

Because one of the greatest parts about getting older is inching away from the embarrassing stories of youth and finally being able to laugh at ones own expense.

Without further ado: Hahahahahahahahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooey! Aha Aha Ahahhaha. Ha. Hee. Hoo. Heh. Sniff.



Ashley Lasbury | 5:42 PM

What a wonderful, horrible story. And getting it at 14, that's nothing. I was seventeen years old, 6 feet tall and under a hundred pounds...and not on purpose either. I could fake cramps with the best of 'em. My YOUNGER sister was the one who explained how to operate a tampon. She had her period 2 full years before me. Talk about humiliating. Thanks for the belly laugh! (And I had to goggle "Vagoo"! Should have just asked my teenage daughters!)

kittenpie | 5:50 PM

Oh, man. I am compulsive about getting instructions for EVERYTHING by reading, so I was good on that, but I did hold off on the tampons for a year or so because it just seemed, well, uncomfy. It wasn't util I had to go swimming at camp during my period that I decided I really had to give them a shot. But shit, third base came way later - I was a late bloomer in THAT area instead. (And look how tall and lovely you were!)

toyfoto | 6:21 PM

That was SOOO good I read it to my husband. He totally understands. Wow.

Anonymous | 6:44 PM

Kids are brutal. I didn't get anything (period, body hair, boobs) until I was 16 (lots of ballet) and so.... I feel your pain.

Plus, my mother was of the "don't speak of anything related to sex" so my friend had to teach me (in the air - not on a body) how to use tampons.

Anonymous | 6:45 PM


would luv to read a post about how the term "vagoo" came into existence. i may have to steal it when my baby starts asking about "down there"....

Christina | 7:50 PM

That's hilarious! I got my period in 6th grade, but boobies didn't come around until 7th grade. Since there was nothing there, I didn't bother wearing a bra - I was too tomboy for that.

But then I was tortured endlessly by the other girls because I didn't wear a bra. Nothing like having other girls run their hand down your back half the day to check if you're wearing a bra or not.

Andrea | 7:55 PM

Fellow reductress here, so I can sympathize with that part. And the locker room embarrassment, though mine was for the opposite reason. I wanted the pretty lacy bras and had the grandmother bras by 8th grade. So hated Gym class.

As far as the period, I started when I was down with the flu. Talk about miserable. If it had just waited one more week...

Angel Baby | 9:03 PM

You cried for being an idiot? Gosh, I wanted to hug you right then. So sweet.

In my house anything related to sex or sexuality was off limits for discussion... and I was the last girl to go braless in middle school... so I had to hide my desire for a bra from my mom, but score a bra at the same time.

I was flat chested until a junior in high school (wouldn't mind trading in these DDs for some of that now!) so I ended up sneaking a bra (from where I cannot remember) to school in my backpack and putting it on in the girl's restroom every single morning before school started. And I took it off before I got home every afternoon (latch key kid). I did this every single school day for more than two years. Same bra. And here's something - I never ever washed it. How totally gross is that?

Karen | 9:08 PM

I agree: the best part of getting older is the ability to laugh and cry at your own expense.

Amy | 9:20 PM

No freaking way. I did the EXACT same thing -- I kid you not. Except I was 13 and was going to a water park with friends so I HAD to get that tampon in. I was on the bathroom floor for half an hour trying to make it not hurt.

The WORST part, though, is that apparently cardboard doesn't have any traction, so when I went down a steep water slide, I felt something exit my body when I hit the water. Never saw that tampon again, not that I looked. I was running away in humiliation.

The next day I figured out to take the cardboard out. But MAN I cannot even beleive that that happened to someone else. Makes me feel so much better!

Mom101 | 9:32 PM

Oh, both painful and hilarious at the same time! I have a similarly heinous memory - let's just say it involved sticking the pad to, um...me instead of to my undies.


Dude, callie. Fist to the chest sister. Let's hug it out. THANK YOU!

Cristina | 10:43 PM

Great story! But I gotta say "Ouch." That really must have hurt. I don't even like putting the tampon in the normal way.

Oh and I had always wished my boobs would grow bigger, but they never did. Why can't we all just have really round perky C-cups that look great in a Victoria Secret bra. Is that really too much to ask??

Sandra | 2:31 AM

Oh now I so feel you here. That was funny and it takes a brave woman to laugh at herself. "Are you there god its me margaret" was about the most info I had access to.

I too was a "late bloomer" and totally faked it. The bra. The tampon borrowing. Everything. Then the first time I got my period, wearing white pants, I lost it - completely outing myself with shock and inexperience. I thought I was bleeding to death.

Anonymous | 6:44 AM

OMG! I totally faked it too! The boys used to punch in numbers on the calculator so that when you held it upside down it spelled "boobless"

It sucked. I didn't get my period until I was 15. I always laugh that I didn't waste any time. I got my period and three years later got pregnant.

Anonymous | 6:44 AM

4 years later, im so bad at math. PS- Aidan loves you.

Bea | 7:50 AM

I'm still scared to use a tampon, and I've been menstruating for 23 years as of July 5. (Yes, I remember the day. Every year.) I've only used a tampon once. Of course, I've only had one period since January 2003, so I've kind of forgotten what it's like.

The saddest day of my life was in grade 8 health class when I learned that most girls have finished their breast development by age 14. I held out hope for a few more years, but never did progress beyond that barely-filling-out-my-A-cup stage - at least, not until I was breastfeeding. As I was weaning a few weeks ago I was in soooo much pain, but at the same time so enjoying the way those aggressive, busting-out-of-a-D-cup boobies looked in a shirt. Sigh.

Her Bad Mother | 9:44 AM

Dude, I swear, we all have stories like that.

OK, maybe not exactly like that, but close.

I once spent an, um, awkward afternoon at horse camp with toilet paper stuffed in my panties. Long story.

Anonymous | 10:27 AM

Yes, it is great to laugh about it now...
I once wore tight white levi's jean shorts while I was on my period (why???) and bled through them, get this, in the FULL outline of the maxi pad I was wearing!!!
I was to embarrassed to change my pad at school...
I was only in grade 5, see? its always embarrassing, you thought you were too old, I thought I was too young.
ahhh hahaha. boy was that ever funny...
... I'm a friend of thesilentk by the way. reading your blog for a while, damn that Archer is a lovely little man.


Awesome. Just awesome. Thank you for sharing your stories. High fives all around.

Meg | 8:02 PM

Oh my gosh, I came to your site through a link from...well, I don't even remember now! But holy crap! I can't believe you made it that long with the whole thing up there. I'm glad you figured it out before you cause some major damage!

Anonymous | 8:05 PM


(I will now admit that I didn't get my first period until I was 17 years old. And this is the first time I've ever admitted that. Yes, and you can take all the credit)

Anonymous | 8:12 PM

I did just about everything on time, but some things I just DID. NOT. GET. And I'm still a bit too embarrassed to go there. Give me time, okay?

I can only imagine how painful that tampon experience must have been. Especially while trying to play soccer.

carrie | 9:26 PM

Oh jeez, THAT was a trip down memory lane. Oh fabulous mensturation.

Love your blog, so glad to have found it!! :)

JChevais | 8:26 AM


I wish that I had read the instructions too .

My parents had visitors over that day so, thankfully, I was at home. After an hour or so of pretending to smile through the tears, I finally excused myself to rid myself of foreign bodies...

I swear to god, I thought I was the biggest eejit in existence.

Anonymous | 11:09 PM

I was a late bloomer too, didn't start until I was 13. My boobs started a little earlier, then stalled, then grew again at 18 (weird, huh?). I actually knew about the tampons because someone (I think it was my mom) had showed me how they worked by squirting one out of the cardboard into the toilet and we watched it blow up. However, I couldn't wear them for years because every time I did I would go into horrible cramps until my vagoo expelled them from my body like a rocket launcher! Kind of embarrassing when you feel it happening in the middle of 4th period math.

S.T. | 8:14 AM

LOL, my mom told me she did the same thing when she first tried using tampons. She said it was excruciating!

Who knew that the things that used to mortify us as preteens and teens would be such great blog fodder years later!

ms blue | 10:19 AM

I'm so glad that you linked to this post because I did the exact same thing. My mom didn't allow tampons because she was sure they'd immediately cause TSS so when I got one from a friend I had no idea what I was doing. That's the kind of pain that you don't forget.

Anonymous | 11:51 AM

You know and this is funny, but as a single father, my 10 year old (Who looks 15) and I just had the whole period through the bathroom door talk. I thought she knew about this stuff but, as she sat on a toilet I drove to walmart, bought about 15 different kinds of pads and plugs (hey I didn't know what she wanted) and then spent the next 3 hours trying to explain through the door how to work one because "I am SO NOT wearing a diaper thing DAD"

Have a website coming soon you guys will probably laugh at, life with a single dad and his daughter as I just explore the joys (haha yea right) of having a 10 (Remember 15 year old) daughter.
Check it out, I work on it when I have time singledave.com

Anonymous | 1:00 AM

To the person wanting to know where vagoo came from just use urban dictionary. It came from Rayne Summers from the webcomic Least I Could Do.

I'm surprised so many people have caught on to using the word. I thought only geeky-web-comic-obsessed kids used the word.

pdx madmadre | 4:24 PM

i must admit... stumbled onto your blog via BMC, also accidental. have not worked in day and a half. have had many "comments" been to shy to share... until... now. the EXACT same thing happened to me! no tits, no period, and a stubborness to reading directions. what's worse, had to finally ask my outspoken/liberal/know-it-all/sex ed teaching in MY high school mother.... sucked.... ass

The Growing Hennans | 10:06 AM

At our end of the year swim party in 7th grade, I was faced with swimming for the first time since starting my period. I had been using pads because my mom hated tampons. But I stole a few from her and tried. I did the same thing you did! I was so uncomfortable all day! It is quite painful. A few days later my mom noticed them missing and talked to me about it. I told her they hurt and the conversation came around to the same thing. I had trash in me! Yuck! I thought I was the only one who was silly enough to do this!

Unknown | 7:19 PM

reading this old post. made me laugh because this was exactly my first experience with tampons. i was with friends and my period came unexpected. asking around for "supplies" i came up with a tampon. totally inserted the whole thing. youch. glad i wasn't the only one.