A right of passage involving a bathing suit and a loaf of bread. Otherwise known as junior high.

I believe I have mentioned that I’m writing a book. And if you want to try something hard and confusing, then this is it. So it’s kind of like my life, which is good, because that is what my book is about. My life. Or at least a little section of my life right before we had kids.

Anyway, last night when I was writing, I came across a dusty and water-colored memory that I wanted to share with you. Because it makes no sense to me, in part because it has both dust and water on it, which usually makes mud.

I was thinking about junior high. Yes. This, too, is a bad idea. And I was drinking vodka, which in spite of being a clear alcohol, never really makes anything more clear. But on with the story.

In physical education in junior high, we used to have swimming class once every so often. It was not on a regularly scheduled day, at least not that I could tell, so that added an element of surprise to the whole thing — sort of like Sacha Baron Cohen dropping from the ceiling onto your head.  And the girls in the class were not allowed to swim if we were having our period. And we were all issued a bathing suit by the school. It was like a school uniform in that it was navy blue, but it was not like a school uniform in that it was a bathing suit.

So, on this one sacred and powerful day of the month, I went to swimming class where we lined up in front of a desk to check in and get a suit. And since I was in possession of menstrual blood, I was not allowed in the pool and had been instructed to tell the teacher that I was “off floor.” This term was code for “standing around in the pool area in a bathing suit wearing a huge sanitary napkin that feels like a loaf of bread between your legs hoping that a velociraptor will show up and start eating people so at least a few people would forget about your sanitary napkin.”

junior high bathing suit + period = public humilitation

And really this story has no point, except that I was completely traumatized, and I thought someone should know about this tragedy. And because it didn’t fit in the book in any way. At least not yet. And most important of all, why is it called OFF FLOOR? What does that mean? I was on the floor by the pool. I remember it well. It was made of those tiny waterproof tiles that are all over including on the walls and in the pool. Why couldn’t they just call it “out of the pool?” Or “unavailable.” She’s unavailable, wink, nod, check out the loaf of bread. And why did I have to wear a bathing suit, if I wasn’t going to swim? And seriously, who would let their child these days wear a bathing suit that was owned by the school? This is tax dollars at work, people. Or at least it was.

So, help, seriously. This is really weird, right? Please tell me something equally weird happened to you in junior high. Tell me! There is a comments section below for that. Write something!

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4 thoughts on “A right of passage involving a bathing suit and a loaf of bread. Otherwise known as junior high.

  1. takes me back…
    8th grade…catholic school uniform of white blouse + uniform skirt. June, hot and humid already…and oddly wearing a pull-ever sweater on top of the blouse despite the heat. “No, no, Mrs. Walsh, I’m fine…really. Ha Ha Ha (nervous laugh). No, I’m not hot AT ALL”. Couldn’t bear to reveal that I wasn’t yet wearing the prized badge of the actually hot girls: bra straps. Indeed…no need for a bra at all! Not fair…sister 3 years younger with knockers I envied.

    • I definitely had this “problem” although I’m glad not to have this “problem” today. :) I asked my mom to buy me a bra, and she said I didn’t need one. I was 23 years old at the time.

  2. Well, it didn’t happen to me, but I remember a similar trauma from 6th grade. At our end of year party at the Waterslide Park, one of the girls had her period, and her mom wouldn’t let her use tampons yet. There were no official rules (and she wasn’t going to mention it to anyone) so she went down the waterslides with her pad. Of course we all saw it (and it did look like a loaf of bread now that you mention it) and felt horribly sorry for her. Considering that I remember this story 30 years later, I guess it was a little traumatic for everyone.

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