When I studied abroad in Paris for Fall ’07, I was warned that in France the tampons do not have applicators. Being afraid of sticking an uncomfortably dry tampon up my vagina with no aid of a nice plastic casing, I brought along my own 4-month supply of American tampons.
Then the inevitable happened. I don’t know if Shark Week came early, or I just forgot to put tampons in my bag, but suddenly I was caught in a situation I was not prepared for. I was out with some friends when I realized I needed a tampon, and STAT.
We took a detour to the nearest MonoPrix (a grocery store) and found the appropriate rayon (aisle). This was my first time in this rayon in France, and to my surprise I found tampons with applicators! I bought the tiniest box of generic MonoPrix brand tampons available, and while they were far from ideal, I made an important discovery: Tampons with applicators existed in France!
When I moved out here in Fall ’09, I decided to leave my trusty American tampons at home and use that valuable suitcase space for shoes instead. If applicator tampons existed in generic brands, clearly the France-doesn’t-have-applicators rumor was a lie, and I’d be able to find usable tampons in Lille.
I now regret this decision. Back in the states, I use Playtex Gentle Glide tampons. They fit me perfectly! The applicator is plastic and it goes in smooth. The size is the perfect size for my vagina. Everything is wonderful in tamponland.
Unfortunately, this brand does not exist in France, and so far none of the French brands have been up to snuff. They are either too big, or I have trouble with the applicator. I still use these French brands, but am I totally comfortable down there? No sir. That “time of the month” is uncomfortable enough as it is even with the perfect tampon! Oh Playtex Gentle Glide, how I miss thee!
Although a lot of me has adapted and become more French as time passes, my vagina remains stubbornly American.