A friend forwarded a letter supposedly sent by a woman to Procter and Gamble, the makers of Always pads. The letter allegedly was “PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’ choice for best webmail-award-winning letter.”
Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my “time of the month” is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?
As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.
Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: “Have a Happy Period.”
Are you fucking kidding me?
What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness—actual smiling, laughing happiness—is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything “happy” about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlúa and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like “Put Down the Hammer” or “Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong”? Or are you just picking on us?
Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that’s a promise I will keep. Always.
Austin , TX
As always, I like to know the actual origins of interesting e-mail memes that get sent to me, and this was no different. From Wendi Aarons‘ own blog (tip: do yourself a favour and add her to your weekly rounds), it appears that the rant originally hit the Internet on February 6, 2007, as an open letter on Mcsweeneys.net. As fun a read as it is, there’s no way it ever actually got a PC Magazine Editors’ Choice designation since those are given to products the magazine reviews. After a blog post about the letter got a mention in the Austin Chronicle, Wendi posted the following comment:
Love the Column; Thanks for the Mention
Hey Stephen, I was just reading your column [“After a Fashion,” Arts, Dec. 7] and was shocked to see a link to my Always Maxi Pad letter. Also shocked to see that it supposedly won PC Magazine’s editors’ choice award … I think they forgot to tell me. Anyway, I wrote this last February as a humor piece for McSweeneys.net, and it’s taken on a life of its own. The good news is that Proctor & Gamble no longer puts “Have a Happy Period” on their adhesive strips. I’m taking full credit for that one. Love the column and thanks for the mention!
A couple of people wrote replies to that comment indicating that they were a little disappointed to find out that it wasn’t really an angry letter sent to Proctor and Gamble. *That* surprises me. It reads like a good humour piece. How could you think it was anything but? I’m not sure that anyone actually writing in anger about the words “Have a happy period” on their pads would waste the biting sense of humour evident in Wendi’s missive on a letter that only one person would read. To me, it read like a letter to the editor, which (in effect) it was. And it was brilliant. If you like the tone, check out McSweeney’s continuing series of open letters.
There’s a September 2006 photo of the offending piece of paper on Flickr. I have to admit, I don’t remember seeing that little charmer on Canadian Always products. Then again, I’m usually not in the mood to read it at the time, if you get me. I know that they are definitely not using it now — we just have a visual aid to making full use of the Flexiwings. Nowhere on the packaging is there a reference to “Having a happy period” but rest assured, you can get your daily affirmation on the Always Web site, along with “fun stuff for making the most of it“, including a lovely way to “tell a friend to have a happy period” with a HAHP card. Go ahead! Try it out on your BFF the next time she has her period and then tell us how that worked for you. If you can talk with the breathing tubes in.