SHACS - Recent demand for free menstrual products has risen so high that SHACS is now offering them for free. “After the lock-picking incident and numerous student protests, we decided that offering free pads and tampons was the only option. Anyway, we give out free condoms, so why wouldn’t we give out free tampons and pads?” Shanna Newman, a nurse at SHACS, explained as she displayed a new case filled with sample products.
These products are in such high demand that SHACS has created a menstrual calendar filled with each female-bodied students menstruation week. Students will be granted access to the necessary products only during those seven days.
“It’s ridiculous,” Yolanda Wilkes ’16 fumed as she stomped out of a closed SHACS on Saturday morning. “What if I start my period on a weekend? Or if it arrives early? Or late?”
Even when a student’s flow aligns with the calendar, there is another catch. Much like lessons in rolling on a condom, as students learn how to do with bananas and cucumbers in high school, SHACS requires that students demonstrate proficiency in how to use sanitary napkins and tampons. Any student who wants access to the free menstrual equipment must enroll in a two-week course to learn how to use both a pad and a tampon. Even professors are expected to participate in these sessions.
“At first I thought it was absurd,” Professor Adele Hawkins said as she unwrapped a pad in the packed classroom. “But then I realized how little I know about these products. Did you know that the ancient Egyptians used tampons made out of papyrus? More importantly, I much prefer free tampons and pads to shelling out $6-$7 for a box.””
Other students find these classes to be tedious, unnecessary, and boring. “I’ve been shedding my endometrium regularly since I was ten. I think I know what I’m doing.” Alex Irving ’19 stated as they perfectly inserted a tampon into the SHACS skeleton on their first try.
Students are also provided with a book titled, “They Bleed/I Bleed: How to Deal with Your Period in an Academic Setting,” written by Florence Blaud, who prefers to go by “Aunt Flo.” (Aunt Flo also works at SHACS every Friday; however, due to her popularity, it is impossible to schedule an appointment with her until February 2018.) Her book provides helpful hints and tips, as well as incredibly graphic designs that show exactly how to insert a tampon or use a pad, in the styles of various art movements.
Interestingly enough, the inconvenience associated with free pads and tampons has sparked a new movement at Grinnell: the so-called “Crimson Market.” “Nobody wants to study for an extra exam,” Chastity Hope ’16 said as she walked out of Wal-Mart holding a plastic bag filled with sanitary napkins. “I charge $50 for a one-week supply, and the money just flows in.”
In order to stop up the leak of student patrons to the Crimson Market, SHACS has decided to add alternative menstrual products to their inventory. An all-campus bulletin Wednesday proudly announced: “Dixie Cups and ShamWows are now in stock (supplies limited)!”