The Gross Girl Life, Travel

Gross Girl Travel Diary: Periods on a Plane



What happens when a woman who has had her period for almost a decade embarks on a 26 hour journey across the world with no tampons and lots of sleeping pills? Periods on a plane.


The warning pangs start somewhere over Nevada. I am on the first leg of my 26 hour journey to Australia, blaring emotional music and praying to that fickle goddess of fertility to hold off, just a day or so.

She feels no pity for me, and by the time I get off the plane, cursing my decision to go commando, I have only a layer of cotton separating my coming crimson tide from my fellow passengers.

Fuck. Instead of getting to walk through the terminal and search frantically for tampons, I am led onto a bus for the international terminal because that’s apparently how huge and crap LAX is. With every step I feel a foreboding wetness that I perversely pray is some other mysterious discharge, but by the time the bus stops, the flow has just begun.

I waddle to the nearest uniformed person to ask what the fuck is going on—the bus has dumped us into a tiny limbo/purgatory room where people were already starting to line up.

“I don’t have time for this shit”, I’m thinking as a cloud of rage surrounds my head and the familiar storm brews between my hips.

Shoving my way past these carefree nonbleeders, I accost the nearest woman employee to ask where the nearest bathroom is.

“If you wait for the next bus, it will take you to the terminal where the restrooms are”, she says indifferently.

Thinking of the next 20-ish hours and the fact that I had idiotically not packed extra underwear or even pants or EVEN FUCKING TAMPONS, I sidle up next to her, and, not wanting to startle the men in the vicinity, whispered, “I’m actually kind of having a lady emergency. Is there one closer?”

Clarity crosses her face and she pointed to the exit, “there’s one at the top of the escalator”.

“Thank you”, I sigh with relief.

Sisters gotta look out for each other.

I slam into a stall to assess the damage. Brown rusty stains are already forming on the inside of my pants, with a few splotches seeping to the outside.

Fuck it, I mutter, trying to wipe off the worst of it with the airport’s cheap ass toilet paper. It’s not accomplishing shit, and I remember the facial cleansing cloths I packed in my carry on. Yes, I had thought about having a clean face, but my vagina? not so much. The face wipes help clear up my crotch a bit, and they are even gentle enough to freshen up my delicate lady bits.

The stains still cling to my crotch like little fertility demons, but FUCK IT. We’re mostly adults here, and hopefully no one will be checking out my ass.

I dig frantically through my massive bag, hoping for a fossilized super plus tampon, or even maybe a cork, I don’t really care at this point.

YAS. Just a few ratty old lites, but they will have to do.

I emerge, sweaty and covering my ass with my purse, just in time to get on the next bus (WHY LAX?)

The bumpy bus ride dislodges some any gas bubbles that have been saving themselves to torture me in a moment like this.

I clench.

I don’t want to be responsible for the suffocation of a busload of poor unsuspecting travellers.

More bumps. I clench harder, trying to keep a neutral face. I glare at everyone around me. They don’t know the sacrifice I am making for them.

My plane is already boarding by the time I get to the gate- no time for tampz. 16 hours on this plane with one measly bullshit lite tampon left. I buy myself some froyo and resign myself to my fate.


I decide it would be best if I was unconscious for most of this, so after two baby bottles of wine and some insomnia pills swiped from my mom, there is no hiding my hormones.

“The Longest Ride” is exactly what I need in this moment, a beautiful cowboy, two drama filled love stories, and a guy who gets his dick shot off. It is all too much for me to handle. I lean forward in the seat, eyes crossed and watering, face ruddy, allowing myself to feel every feeling that emerges from the depth of my torso.

Sydney airport, one last flight in these damned bloody pants, about four more hours till I can take them off and burn them. Still bleeding, guys, don’t worry. The only tampons they seem to have in the terminal are the ones without applicators. Literally just a chunk of cotton that you’re expected to shove up your bloody vag. With your finger. In a public restroom.

Thanks Australia.