One of our daughters and her one-year-old son stopped by the house recently for dinner. She had just returned from a visit to the pediatrician where she learned that her son only had a cold and not the flu. While there, the doctor also determined he had a worse-than-average diaper rash.
Hearing my wife and her daughter discuss the need to get some ointment for young Master Luke, I volunteered to make a run to the grocery store. What exactly do I need to get for the non-stop, see-how-fast-I-can-run young rascal?
“You want me to buy what?”
“For a boy?”
“Yes, the doc thinks his rash is a type of yeast infection, and the least expensive and best over-the-counter treatment is to use a Monistat ointment.”
I thought those years of time spent in the feminine hygiene aisle were over. Gulp! Here I go again. I always did the grocery shopping in our family. My late wife put it this way, “Do you want to go to the grocery store or stay home with our five children?”
I chose shopping.
With a wife and three daughters, I became all too familiar with the various products in the land of menses. Initially, it was like trying to read road signs written in Greek. Talk about clueless.
And now, here I am as a sixty-seven-year-old man, once again in the land of femininity having to buy a somewhat unorthodox product for a grandson. I don’t believe in karma, but I have to wonder…
Have no fear, I got this. I can even spell gynecology and menstruation. Not out loud, but I can spell it. I am a man’s man who doesn’t shy away from anything. So for you younger men who have yet to develop the maturity and confidence to do right by the women in your life, here’s your chance to learn from a pro. A few suggestions:
- Don’t be intimidated by such terms as ultra-absorbency, ultra-thin, maxi, wings, and unscented. Ask your wife to explain precisely what it is she needs. A basic biology lesson may also be in order.
- Get directions. If you are not familiar with your local grocery store or pharmacy, ask your wife exactly where and what aisle these products are located. Otherwise, you’ll end up asking directions from a grocery clerk, inevitably a teenage girl, who is more embarrassed at answering the question than you are by asking it.
- Have your wife spell out in precise detail, what you are to buy. There are just too many variables. It’s like asking your wife to buy golf balls. She stands before the golf ball sales rack and sees words like soft feel, maximum forgiveness, and low compression. She throws up her hands and buys you a box of 25 x-branded balls recently recovered from a lake, when what you really wanted was a box of twelve Titleist Pro-V1 golf balls. Being specific matters in golf balls and feminine products.
- Better yet, to minimize the time spent deciphering the language of femininity, take along an empty package, or box cover, discreetly hidden away in your pocket, so you are sure to buy the right thing. The longer you stand there looking like you are trying to buy the right flavor of yogurt, the more likely it is that a sympathetic woman shopper will walk up and say, “Can I help you find something?” Should that happen, resist the urge to run away screaming, or to become a deaf-mute. Simply say, “Sure, I am looking for….” Believe me, she will be impressed.
- Of course, you can always play the spy game or as I call it, the glancing shopper role. Simply start by looking at whatever is for sale on the other side of the aisle. Act like you really are shopping for women’s shampoo while taking a periodic (no pun intended) glance across the aisle for the true object of your search. Once the aisle clears, you can sneak in for a quick grab and move on. This technique is reserved for rookies who want to be helpful but have yet to get their permanent man-card.
- Finally, if you are on a single item mission, you can always buy a few more products to serve as cover for your hygienic product. My favorites distraction was always a 8 roll pack of toilet paper; it’s big and bulky and easily hides the contraband.
Being the veteran that I am in such matters, when my step-daughter said she needed Monistat cream for her son’s diaper rash, I simply responded with, “Is that Monistat 1,3, or 7?” She was momentarily speechless.
But don’t get too overconfident. I was halfway to the checkout line before I realized I had picked up a Monistat-3 box of suppositories. Oops, this won’t help young Luke. Better grab the version that is an ointment.
Guys, this experience does not have to be one of terror. You are not committing a crime nor compromising your manhood. This is not punishment for past sins. If nothing else, be grateful that you are not the one having menstrual cramps or a yeast infection. Be a man, be the hero, do the right thing, help out the love of your life and buy what she needs.
I think I made a few brownie points with my wife and step-daughter this evening, although my wife did wonder why I also bought a jumbo size package of 24 rolls of toilet paper.
At least she didn’t ask me to buy pantyhose.