Note to Reader: A month before my 30th birthday, I went through a rather dramatic break up (more on this later, I’m sure). This is what I decided to write about, apparently.
I’ve always been absolutely convinced that all of my orifices are below average in size. When I order a sushi roll, I ask that the chef split the standard six pieces into eight lest I choke to death. Whenever I purchase an Apple product, I offer the ear buds to my more capaciously-eared friends; and, it somehow took me five years to learn how to properly insert a tampon.
In 1999, I spent six months convincing my best friend, Ella that I suffered from “Vagina Minimius” in order to lure her to her own surprise birthday party. While I could have persuaded Ella to come to the party in a variety of creative or mundane ways, I reveled in the opportunity to act out my fear that, indeed, my first trip to the gynecologist would result in a prolapsed uterus.
A dutiful friend, Ella agreed to accompany to the OBGYN, where, I would supposedly discover the extent of my Minimus condition. In the meantime, Ella had her mother give me a pep talk involving a detailed description of the miraculous stretching power of the vaginal walls. I struggled to keep a straight face while she used her fist to demonstrate.
After months of build up, Ella’s surprise went off with only one hitch. We got our favorite all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant that we had planned to dine at prior to the appointment. Except, when we all shouted surprise, Ella responded with confusion: “everyone,” she announced, “it’s really very nice of you to come out to support Stephanie but we only have 30 minutes before we have to leave for the appointment!” Ella assaulted me with her bag upon learning that I had made the whole “Minimus” thing up. But had I really?
In the year we both turned 30, Ella, now an OBGYN, gifted me a Diva Cup. The Diva Cup, designed for the eco-conscious, looks a bit like a diaphragm meant to collect menstrual blood. Because of its rather commodious size, the Diva Cup need only be changed once per day and a user can easily wash it out in the shower before re-inserting in the evening. The Diva Cup extraordinarily obliterates the need for tampons and pads.
As a self-identified environmentalist, I had always meant to buy a Diva Cup but somehow I never found the strength to make the $30 investment. Roaming the aisles of CVS where I began briefly contemplating the insertion process, I found myself clamping down; the thought had evoked my inner teenager.
So when Ella forked over my gift, and I saw she’d selected the euphemistically named “Model II, Diva Cup” I felt my insides contract. Diva Cups come in two “Models”—Model 1 (i.e. small) and Model 2 (i.e. LARGE). I’m sure the most basic market research revealed that no one, not even the most confident of eco-feminist, wanted to be caught purchasing the “large” Cup. And so, the company cleverly created a sizing chart with the dual “Model” scheme.
Upon examining the chart, I learned that by virtue of my age, I fell squarely in category 2—along with those women who’d given birth.
Assuming that the chart came from general statistical averages—averages to which I had to prove an exception—I asked Ella if she had considered gifting me Model 1. After all, we both knew of my small proportions and my youthful concomitant aversion to inserting even a “Lite Day’s” Tampon. Moreover, I had turned 30 a mere six months ago. Surely, nothing had transformed so dramatically as to put me over into Model 2 territory within only a period of six months. Or had it?
Ella, anticipating my questions, quickly defended her decision. She had carefully interviewed a Diva Cup Rep and purported expert at one of her gyno conventions. Despite learning all the details of my “minimus” situation, the “expert” explained that my 30-year-old vagina fell into Model 2 territory. No exceptions. End of story.
As I sulked home with my Model 2 in tow, I began to contemplate my options. Before I made my final decision, I decided to pay a visit to the Diva Cup website: And there it was…
“In the rare case that you are still unable to remove The DivaCup after more than twelve (12) hours, seek medical advice.”
I could easily imagine falling into the “rare case” category—forced to make a midnight run to ER with the Cup lodged sideways inside my loins. From an environmental perspective, trying the Cup and risking failure would mean needlessly expending greenhouse gases on the trip to the hospital (assuming the discomfort proved too great for a subway ride). Even more wasteful, after the medics pried the Cup from the jaws of my loins, I would end up tossing it (or perhaps morbidly saving it for sentimental reasons but certainly never washing and reusing as intended).
Thinking ecologically, I decided to leave it in the package and gift it to one of my more cavernous friends. But, would the recipient take offense upon receiving Model 2? Would she also obsessively wonder what 30 years of use had done to her and her insides?
And so, as a more loosely-loined 30 year old, I entered the dating world, ready to face the challenges knowing full-well that something profound had shifted inside me. Literally.
I know the reader is dying to know what happened to my Mode II Diva Cup so I’ll fill you in. A year later, I would meet a 26-year-old who I would date for the better part of two years. At some point in the first year, her Model 1 Diva Cup required replacement. Unfazed by the age guidelines, she gladly accepted my Model 2, still in the package. Somehow, it felt good to know it had found a home under 30.