I got my first period when I was 12. Now I'm turning 47. That's 35 years, in case you don't feel like doing the math. Or 420 visits from Cousin Red.
In all that time you'd think I'd have gotten the whole menstruation thing down. But sadly, I am not that girl. I am the girl who has to wrap a huge wad of toilet paper around her underwear after being caught off guard in a public bathroom by the sudden appearance of the crimson wave, even though it pretty much shows up on the regular during the last few days of every month.
Which is why when I first heard about the new Thinx period underwear that lets you go commando during your period—meaning no tampon, no pad—I was pretty much all in before I even clicked over to the website and saw the company's promise to keep me "clean, dry, and, as always, lookin' fly."
A quick scroll through shethinx.com revealed seven different styles to choose from, based on my own personal period needs. There's a sexy little thong for your lighter days that holds about half a tampon's worth of Miss Scarlett, a pair of lacy high-waisters for medium days, and a more substantial hip hugger that promises to hang tough on those gross heavy days when you basically feel like killing someone and don't want to leave the house.
I clicked around on the various versions, trying to work out what kind of black magic could grant these tiny pieces of fabric the power to devour a full day's worth of flow. Then I stumbled across this handy little explanation:
Every pair has a top layer that wicks all liquid into the í¼ber thin absorption layer right beneath it, so that you feel super dry. This way, you can wear 'em all day long (i.e., no, you don't have to change them during the day, no, they don't feel like diapers, and no, it's not like sitting in your own blood). Boom.
Okay, so not only is the concept behind these undies all science-y and cool, but whoever wrote that copy seems pretty dope, too. Sold! I added one pair of HipHuggers and one flirty-looking pair of low-flow Cheekys to my shopping bag and clicked "place order." Boom.
Then I sat back and waited for Shark Week to arrive.
Remember when you were 20 and single and your period was a few days late? So you'd run to the bathroom every hour to pull down your pants and do a meticulous head-between-the-legs inspection for the tiniest spot of blood? Well, that's exactly what Day 1 of wearing Thinx is like.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. My Massacre at the Y decided to show up bright and early on a Wednesday morning as I was rushing around trying to get the kids off to school. So I unleashed a string of f-bombs and started rifling through my medicine cabinet hoping to find just one stray, leftover tampon—when I suddenly remembered my secret weapon.
My Thinx had shown up on my doorstep a few days before. And when I hastily pulled them out of the package, I was surprised to find both models were actually satiny and kind of sleek. I'm not saying that they were nicer than my civilian underwear... but, actually, yes I am because they totally were.
Since the first two days of my period are usually the heaviest, I zeroed in on the Hip Huggers. First impression? Smooth and light but also somehow sturdy. A quick check in the mirror confirmed that they basically looked like a pair of black bikini bottoms. So I threw some jeans on top and headed out the door.
Truth? I felt kinda bada*s rocking my Thinx without backup. Like Claire Underwood. Or Olivia freaking Pope. But I still didn't get how such a thin undergarment was going to soak up the type of peri-menopausal production that could decimate an entire box of Super Plus in just two days.
Which is why I kept heading off to the ladies' to check for damage. Eight trips in eight hours. But each time the result was the same—no splotches, no drips, no leaks. Mind = blown. And I didn't feel like I was sitting around in a wet diaper all day, either—though at the risk of heading into TMI territory, I did have to blot away a few rando clots that were just sort of sitting there on top with a bunch of TP—kind of gross. But not nearly as bad as having to fish around for a bloody wayward tampon string—or worse, for an actual tampon that I was pretty sure I had already taken out, but then again maybe I hadn't.
By Day 3 I was feeling pretty daring so I busted out the cute little Cheekys and test drove them overnight. The verdict? I sailed through a full eight hours without a single red drop making its way onto my pure white sheets. Total game changer.
So, sorry, tampons, but this is where we part ways. Me, you, and that secret fear of dying from Toxic Shock Syndrome that I've been harboring since seventh grade. Because Thinx undies are the bomb.com. These bad boys are comfortable, convenient, and they get the job done without the standard mess of boxes and wrappers and pinch-inducing applicators that usually accompany a visit from Aunt Flo.
In fact, the only downside to wearing them was having to rinse them out in cold water afterwards before tossing them into the wash. But that's just because I hate extra steps. And also, ew.
Then again, what's a little pink water in the bathroom sink compared with the freedom of never having to buy, or use, or conceal a tampon in the sleeve of your shirt as you walk to the bathroom again?
Can't put a price on that kind of liberation. Well, actually you can, and it's $34 a pair. Hella worth it in my book, though. Boom.
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer and blogger, and mom of two. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more.