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period drama

Irish women are sharing their messiest, most honest period stories

Cork author Louise O’Neill has opened the floodgates, so to speak.

NOW MORE THAN ever, women are more comfortable with sharing their period woes – but it goes beyond being cranky and needing chocolate, though. Way beyond.

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Cork woman Louise O’Neill, writer of the hugely successful novels Only Ever Yours and Asking For It, is encouraging women to share their messiest period stories so they can put their shame even further behind them.

She told that she was inspired after hearing a female pharmacy employee whisper the location of the sanitary products to her, rather than say it out loud:

Women have been conditioned since their first period to believe that it’s something shameful, something that needs to be kept a secret from men… I’m so tired of feeling silenced. 50% of the world’s population either have or have had periods on a monthly basis. They can be messy and painful and annoying – but they are utterly normal.

O’Neill wrote a blog post on the subject in June but says she’s still getting comments to this day from readers sharing their stories – they range from highly relatable teenage fumbles:

I was about 13/14 and visiting a distant relatives house. My period was quite heavy and I needed to change my sanitary towel so I stuffed one in my pocket and went to the loo to change it. Only then did I notice there was no bin in the bathroom. In fact, the only one I had seen was downstairs in the kitchen where everyone was gathered and I couldn’t face that. So I had a look around, opened the window. And yes, I lobbed the damn thing as far as I could.

To the undeniable awkwardness of period sex:

Screams of horror come from the room. Real screams. “Dear God, no!” (said in the manner of William Shatner in an early Star Trek episodes) is the phrase that sticks in my mind… It turned out that his understanding of periods was extremely limited and I had to cradle this traumatised manboy to sleep, which is something I would rather not repeat ever again.

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And this one, which is probably the most Irish period story of them all:

I was an altar girl (that’s just the beginning). I was serving 10 o’clock Sunday mass in those white robes we had to wear. I was carrying wine up to the priest when I got a bout of paranoia brought on by a stir of whispers behind me. It was only like my third period ever, and I was hoping the nappy-like Bodyform would cover me.
I walked back to the pew with a red face (but hoping I was just imagining things) when my mum snuck into the pew behind and told me I had better go into the sacristy as I had a bit of a stain on my robe… Instead I sat glued to the pew for the rest of mass (abandoning my duties), prayed to the Virgin Mary to make the homily short, and waited for the church to empty.

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Read the rest of the messy, funny, and incredibly honest stories here, and empathise.

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