The Fairie Files: Being a Village Member

18 06 2018

I read an article that went viral several months back, about a young man who had decided to basically stock his school locker with a few different types of feminine hygiene products for his female friends.  This kid was awesome, don’t get me wrong.  Every person should do this. Let’s normalize the heck out out of the fact that 50% of the planet has uncontrollable bleeding from an area we’d rather not discuss culturally for 15-20% (or more if they have menorrhagia or PCOS) of their lives until they’re 50.

The fact that that kid’s actions went viral made me think about our culture and ways to insert normalcy about periods into conversations. It made me think about what kind of village I wish to help create. And really, my day job as a glass artist involves a village, even if it’s a make-believe one…

Recently at Faire, there was an awesome mom shopping with her two kids, one of whom looked on the brink of needing the talk about periods, and the second who was a boy in his mid-teens.  They had interacted enough that I knew she was a pretty chill mom who was trying to raise good kids. The son wanted a glass rock (the type that I sell for 25 cents) and mom told him that he had basically spent his money already.  They were polite enough and mom was engaged enough with other products that I suspected she was going to buy something anyway. Courtesy doesn’t cost much, and it felt like a perfect teaching moment… worth the cost of giving away a small rock from my viewpoint.

So I said to the young man (who had verbally indicated he wanted it to give to his girlfriend) that he could have the rock, and with my blessing on two conditions and the second one might make him a bit mortified.  He agreed to my terms.  “First,” I said, “You’ve got to agree to good behavior all day.” He nodded. “And secondly,” I said, “You have to acquaint yourself with what sort of feminine hygiene products your girlfriend uses every month, buy a package, and always keep one in your backpack for her if she needs it.”

To his immense credit, he didn’t blush or squirm. Just avoided eye contact and mumbled, “okay.” Mom jumped in – did I mention I liked this woman? – and added, “And doing that will help you become the kind of man that people want to marry.”

I don’t know if that teenage kid will remember this conversation 20 years from now or not when he’s talking to his son about girls, but I hope he does. Can you imagine a world where every man is supportive enough that carrying such items out of courtesy became the norm? Yeah. Here’s hoping.