Blog Like Me: 2. Girl Stuff

Tue 7 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Howard Waldrop

Skeptical HowardEven in these enlightened, politically-correct times we live in, there’s still stuff (gender secrets) girls keep from guys. Not out of spite or meanness, or a secret closed cabal or coven, but because guys have always been too dumb to ask.

The classic case is Midol. During the 50s and 60s Midol was used as a pain-reliever for menstrual cramps. A guy usually only discovered it when he got a headache at his girlfriend’s place and she was out of Aspirin. “Here,” she’d say, “take one of these.” And the guy’s headache went away. “What the hell was that?” he’d ask. “That little pill? The pain was gone quicker than a mongoose can get on a cobra!”

“It was Midol,” she’d say.

Today we know it in its generic form as ibuprofen.

* * *

All those years, all those headaches and pains, and relief was just down the supermarket aisle with the Kotex and tampons . . .

Some other things are down there, too, guys . . .

I don’t know about you, but when I start screaming when I pee, and I’m urinating blood from a bladder or kidney infection (and those seem to be the discomforts of choice my decrepit old body is taking lately), the way I always deal with it is to drown my insides with cranberry juice. Three or four gallons in two days, and it clears right up and the urethral burn goes away and I start peeing clear again instead of, in Doug Potter’s words, “a fine root beer color.”

The cranberry juice raises the pH balance in the bladder and kidneys and kills whatever is making you scream. (The burn is because your urine has gone basal, rather than neutral, and if you remember your high-school chemistry, base + acid = some kind of salt, which, whatever else it does, doesn’t burn when it comes out.)

I remember 30 years ago a girlfriend got a raging urinary tract infection; c-juice wasn’t working, and she went to the doctor. He wrote her a prescription but forgot to tell her about the side-effects. She was in too big a hurry and too much pain to look at the label except for the dosage. About 45 minutes after she got home she went into the bathroom.

I heard a scream.

She was standing at the wall opposite the toilet, aghast, pointing.

“Look!” she said.

I looked. In the toilet bowl was a circular rainbow. She called the doc, thinking she was dying.

Sorry,” he said. “I should have warned you. That’s a normal side-effect. You’ll do that for a day or so . . .”

She still wasn’t convinced.

* * *

Guys, if you have a urinary tract infection, wander down the Kotex aisle (“feminine hygiene” it’s usually called) and find something called Azo Standard (there are other Azos for other things). It’s the stuff my old girlfriend got by prescription only now it’s OTC. It’s essentially essence of the stuff in the acid of cranberries. Take it like the directions tell you: your symptoms will begin to ease in a couple of hours (like at the 1-gal., cranberry juice point, wherever that is for you). But, like my old girlfriend, you will pee rainbows—I have yet to produce a perfect multi-hued spectrum like she did, but have peed orange (most common), a bluish shade, and once, fluorescent green, in the couple of years I’ve been using it.

* * *

Women get yeast infections; female plumbing is an inexact thing, and for many reasons, yeast takes to it like a duck to a June bug. There are many products to fight it—the most common being Clotrimazole.

Guys if you have an irritation in your privates, as we say—and especially if you’re uncircumcised (if, like me, you were born in the Christian South before 1950, your parents had to ask for the procedure to be done; after 1950, they had to say they didn’t want one done)—and experience some swelling, irritation, etc., don’t go putting some greasy ointment all over Mr. Happy-head. Once again, wander down the Kotex aidle and get a Clotrimazole 3-Day Yeast Infection Treatment (generic ones are about $7.00 a box). There are all these plastic applicator things in there—you can throw them away or give them to nieces and nephews for finger-puppets. What you want is that little white 21gm (0.74 oz.) tube that’s in there. It’s greaseless and water-soluble and works wonders.

(I’m house-sitting this week and couldn’t find anything in this place to put on a really nasty sawcut on the back of my left hand: I used the tube of Clotrimazole I always keep in my toiletry bag, and it worked wonders on that, too.)

Gender knowledge is power.

Howard Waldrop

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  1. Ellen Datlow on August 7th, 2007 11:26 am

    Howard,
    Thanks for your wise words (some useful for women who don’t know… 😉 )

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