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Lost in the land of feminine hygiene

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Languishing in bed last week with a bad cold, I spent four days in the company of Oprah and Maury Povitch and General Hospital. I was astonished to discover that most daytime TV commercials have one clear message: Women leak, dribble, and smell. They're overweight and they're constipated. Women have dandruff, split ends, bad breath, and bad breasts; both the under- and overendowed require special bras. Apparently women must buff, douche, diet, gargle, and primp constantly if they want to overcome their basic vileness.

Then I thought, maybe men get the same messages when they watch their programs. Maybe advertising during sporting events is geared toward products that men need to make them socially acceptable. So I turned on a golf tournament and spent an hour and 12 minutes watching the commercials.

Evidently men are fine just the way they are. They have a small problem with weight gain and graying hair, but mainly they are handsome, playful, and successful. They get to go fishing with their buddies, using leaves for toilet paper. They could probably come home from their trip and hop right into the sack for a romantic encounter and think they were just fine. No rushing off to shower or spray here.

Around this time I needed to get some cough syrup. The first thing I noticed when I got to the drugstore was a huge sign, 'Fem. Hygiene,' hanging above an aisle filled with thousands of products designed for women's special needs. There were a variety of pads in a multitude of shapes for heavy periods, light periods, and bladder control, as well as for women who want to feel fresh all day. There were yeast-infection medications, vaginal deodorants, vaginal lubricants, douches, personal towelettes, pregnancy tests, and germicides to do away with feminine odor. There were laxatives, hemorrhoid creams, and gas-relief tablets.

I looked all over, but there was no aisle for 'Masc. Hygiene.' Now, I've been around enough men to know that some of them could use piddle pads and penis towelettes and deodorants, products for crabs and crotch rot and athlete's foot and gas, so I couldn't understand why the drugstore didn't at least label the aisle 'Fem./Masc. Hygiene.' The closest I came to anything specifically targeted to men was a large display of condoms next to a shelf of K-Y jelly.

The packages for feminine products usually featured a woman in a gauzy dress running through a meadow full of spring flowers (daisies were very popular) as her sparkling clean hair billowed behind her. I found myself attracted to a vaginal moisturizer that had a picture of a peaceful little water lily floating on a pond.

'Do you know how to use this?' the male pharmacist asked in what I thought was a particularly loud tone.

6/23/2014 12:29:53 PM

Reality is not acceptable for me b/c what I see is usually what I do not like!

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