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Undeniable Ruth

Switched to a Menstrual Cup

If talk about menstruation (periods) or blood makes you squeamish, you might not want to read this post.

Seven months and eight periods ago, I traded in my tampons for a menstrual cup. I’m so glad I made the switch. Note: This post contains affiliate links, each marked with an asterisk (*).

I had two motivations for doing this:

  1. Cost: My Lunette menstrual cup (Model 2)* cost $28.99 on Amazon. It will easily pay for itself in less than a year, and may have already.
  2. Environment: There’s no trash when you use a menstrual cup, just empty, clean, and re-use. Tampons, pads, applicators, and wrappers, on the other hand, pile up in landfills.

Day 1: It Got Stuck

It didn’t get stuck-stuck, but it took a bit to figure out how to slide the cup out of my body. Getting the cup in to my body was easy – squeeze one side in so the circle at the top looks like a “C,” and slide it in. It re-expands back to its circular shape and the little holes near the top create a suction against your skin. You have to break this seal to get it back out, which is challenging when you have tiny hands and short fingers like me. The first time I tried to get it out after wearing it a few hours (you can wear it up to 12 hours) was a complete fail. I got it out that evening, but it took 20 minutes to figure it out.

Leaks Happen – But Not Often

Before switching to a menstrual cup, I dealt with leaks all the time. I have designated underwear for this week. Doesn’t everyone?

I have way fewer leaks with the menstrual cup. I’ve had two leaks because I didn’t quite get the cup into place, and I think I overflowed it once. I just wear black underwear and that seems to be enough. I don’t need to wear a pantyliner or anything for backup.

My Own Horror Movie

Tampons and pads work by absorbing your blood. You can’t tell how much fluid they’re actually holding. Cups are the opposite. It’s just a silicon cup that catches your blood. When you empty your cup when you’re in the shower or sitting on the toilet, it looks like a horror movie. You know exactly how much you’re bleeding.

Thank goodness men don’t get periods. If teenage boys used menstrual cups, they’d be throwing blood at each other in high school bathrooms.

What about Public Bathrooms?

When you empty your cup, you’re supposed to at least rinse it before putting it back in. I’m lucky where I work only has single-user bathrooms so I can easily rinse my cup in the sink.

With multi-user bathrooms, that’s not the case. Thankfully, I’ve only had to deal with this once. I emptied my cup, wiped it out with toilet paper (and dripped blood on my shoe), put it back in, and wiped the blood off my fingers before exiting the stall. It wasn’t a big deal.   

No Rogue Strings (Yay!)

Tampon users know this one: sometimes your string “goes rogue” and pulls in the opposite direction from where it should be. And it hurts. And there’s no discreet way to fix it. You have to reach into your underwear and put it back in place.

When this happened to me, it was usually when I was out running, far away from a bathroom. It happened so frequently, I switched from tampons to “period panties” when I was running. With the cup, there’s no string to worry about.

Equally convenient, I don’t have to worry about having a visible string when I go swimming – which is currently twice a week. (Yes, there’s a true story from my gymnastics days when I was competing in a black leotard with a visible white string!) When I’m at the pool, I always worry that I didn’t put my cup in properly and it will leak. I have a fear of finishing a lap and being confronted by a lifeguard who tells me I’m bleeding in the pool. So far, that has not been an issue at all.

Helps with Dysphoria

Using a menstrual cup* helps with the dysphoria I have about being non-binary and trapped in a female body. When I was using tampons, I had to change it five times a day or more on my heaviest day. That meant I had to have tampons with me, carry them through the office on my way to the bathroom, dealing with the string, and being confronted with my period each time I changed my tampon. Cups are designed to be worn for up to 12 hours, so I only have to deal with it twice a day, three times on my heaviest day. Otherwise, I can “set it and forget it.”

Well, except for the cramps part.

I Met Charlie Todd!

I’ve known about Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere since he uploaded Frozen Grand Central to YouTube in 2008. I was fascinated by their creativity and boldness from the start. I went back and watched all their videos and read all the blogs from their missions – it was captivating. I subscribed to their YouTube channel and I joined the now-disbanded “Urban Prankster Network” online.

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie and I have exchanged emails and messages over the years after I helped co-found Improv AZ and I started digging into the legal issues surrounding flash mobs and pranks. He was always friendly and helpful, but since we lived on opposite sides of the country, we never met in person.

A few weeks ago, I got a note from Charlie saying that he was debuting his film “We Cause Scenes” at SXSW. The film follows the story of Improv Everywhere from the beginning to where it is now. I love this story because Charlie didn’t start out trying to create this group. He was just a guy who was having fun with his friends and he embraced the opportunities that allowed it to grow into his career. I was so excited. I immediately put his film at the top of my SXSW to-do list.

I met Charlie about an hour before the film in the convention center. When I saw his familiar face, threw up my arms, and screeched, “Charlie Todd!” I gave him a big hug and chatted for a few minutes before claiming my spot in line. It was so great to meet him in person but because we’ve been conversing for years, it was like seeing an old friend.

The movie was fantastic. If it comes to your city, go see it. It’s a great story.

During the Q&A after the movie, Charlie announced that Improv Everywhere was doing an MP3 Experiment in Austin. I of course rearranged my schedule so I could go. We were given a place, a time, an MP3 to download, and we were told to wear a certain color shirt and bring an uninflated balloon. You’ll have to wait to see the video to see what we did, but we had a blast. It was so great to do a mission with my prankster brothers and sisters.

I give my friend Jeff Moriarty a lot of credit for helping me become the person I am today. If he hadn’t organized the first No Pants Ride in Phoenix, there never would have been an Improv AZ and I wouldn’t be a flash mob attorney and blogger. Watching Charlie’s movie reminded me that I have to give him a lot of credit too. He was the one who came up with the idea for the original No Pants Subway Ride and he was the one who decided to invite the world to participate in 2009. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have given Jeff his launch into the official prank/flash mob world.

So thank you Charlie. Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

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Top 10 Undeniable Ruth Posts From 2012

According to my analytics, these were the most popular posts I wrote this year. Enjoy!

MBE Score 2Is That Legal – Freaky the Snowman

Unsolicited Advice: Don’t Open Your MBE Score
This post is kind of irrelevant now since Arizona doesn’t send people their MBE scores in advance anymore.

Don’t Lose Your Personality When You Get Your JD

First Yarn Bomb!

yarn bombWhy Don’t People Return Their Shopping Carts?

How Do You Know If You’re Too Fat To Fly?

How To Survive Law School Finals

Adjusting To Oregon Living

I Was Cyberbullied

First Yarn Bomb – Three Weeks Later

Have a great new year everyone! I’m excited for what’s to come and sharing it with you.


They’re Just Nipples . . .

Photo by Devon Christopher Adams

People who know me well know that I think bras are overrated. I don’t wear one a lot of the time. If you can pass the “pencil test,” you shouldn’t have to wear a bra in public.

What’s the pencil test? Start by taking off your shirt and your bra (if you wear one) and put a regular pencil at the base of one of your boobs (or man-boobs). Then let the pencil go. If your boob holds the pencil in place, you failed the pencil test. You’re not allowed to leave the house without a bra. If the pencil falls to the ground, you’ve passed the test. Your boobs hold themselves up so you don’t need to wear a bra.

I pass the pencil test most of the time. The only time I consistently wear a bra is when I’m working out and I need a sports bra.

I would go braless more often if it wasn’t for one small issue: nipples. Unless you’ve had a mastectomy, everybody has them. But for some reason, it’s a violation of a social norm if you can see a woman’s. (Note: If your top is see-through, you should always wear something underneath it professional settings. I’m only talking about close-fitting tops that show where your nipples are located beneath your shirt.) I was raised with the notion that it is inappropriate for a woman to “nip out” through their clothes in professional settings. That meant I was expected to wear a bra, and sometimes a padded bra if my office was really cold, to keep my nipples concealed.

Then I started to look around and I noticed that guys nip out all the time from under their t-shirts, knit and wicking shirts, and polo shirts. It’s not an issue or considered inappropriate when they do it, so why do we have a double standard for women?

I’m not turned on by the sight of anyone nipping out – male or female. However, one of my guy friends explained to me that when a guy sees a woman nipping out, it could be a sign that she’s sexually aroused and perhaps she’s sexually aroused because of the guy and that turns the guy on. Even if some people are turned on by others nipping out, it shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to women deciding if they need a bra.

Burlesque dancer Jazz Corsette says that everyone is someone else’s wet dream. Following her logic, I am somebody’s wet dream, and it probably gets better when I’m not wearing a bra. If that’s the case, please don’t tell me about it. When I don’t wear a bra, it’s because I want to be comfortable. It has nothing to do with you and it’s not a big deal. They’re just nipples.

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Why Don’t People Return Their Shopping Carts?

I was walking through a parking lot the other day and I saw at least 8 shopping carts that the previous user did not return to the store or cart return area. This is something that has been bothering me for weeks – why do people think it’s ok to not return their carts? I think when you use a cart, you have a responsibility to use it properly and return it when you’re done.

Cart by Rick Hall, Undeniable Ruth

Cart by Rick Hall

I posted a question about it on Facebook  and I was shocked when the first 4 commenters admitted that they regularly don’t return their carts. These were their excuses in a nutshell:

  1. I have my kids with me.
  2. I physically can’t walk that far.
  3. By leaving my cart out, I’m keeping a clerk/cart attendant employed.
  4.  If the cart return is more than a few spaces away, I’m not going to use it.

I don’t buy any of those excuses.

  1. Take your kids with you to return your cart or lock them in the car for the 1-2 minutes it takes you to return the cart. If the kid is old enough, make the kid return it for you.
  2. The store will assign a clerk to assist you to your car, load your groceries, and take your cart back for you upon request.
  3. Bullshit – The store will still employ a clerk to collect the carts from cart returns.
  4. Are you fucking kidding me?

My mother had me 21 months after giving birth to twins. I called her and she said she always returns her cart. If she can shop with 3 babies and not leave a cart in the middle of the parking lot, you would be hard pressed to find a valid reason (besides an extreme emergency) for not returning your cart.

This problem and all the comments on my Facebook page about this issue made me wonder what’s the underlying issue here. Is it laziness? Entitlement? Selfishness? Thoughtlessness?

How would you feel if your car was dented by a rogue shopping cart that was blown into your car by a strong gust of wind?

How would you feel if the teenage clerk got hit by a car while retrieving the cart you failed to put away?

Shopping carts are expensive. When they’re damaged they need to be replaced. Stores pass that cost along to you. Don’t bitch about the cost of groceries if you’re part of the problem.

My obvious reaction to this problem is to scream “Put your fucking cart away!” but I think the bigger challenge is to address the pervasive underlying problem and ask how do we create a community where people think beyond the immediate moment and consider the greater good for themselves and others?

How Do You Know If You’re Too Fat To Fly?

Earlier this summer someone I know was told at the airport that, due to her size, she had to buy a second seat. She had to cancel her trip because she couldn’t afford another ticket on the spot. (The story is a bit more complicate than that, but that’s the gist for the purposes of this post.)

I fully support airline policies that state if you’re wider than the seat you purchased, you must purchase a second seat so that you’re not encroaching on anyone’s space and each customer can have the same high-quality flying experience. There’s nothing wrong with this policy. The problem is customers aren’t informed enough at the point of purchase to know whether they need a second seat.

Best Seat On Southwest Airline Flights

Best Seat On Southwest Airline Flights by Danny Sullivan

Southwest Airlines is my go-to domestic carrier. They have great prices and generally have a lot of flights to places I want to go. On a recent trip, I flew Southwest and every flight coming and going was delayed. (Grrr.) This gave me a chance to do some premier people watching. It appeared that many people in the airport were on the cusp of being what Southwest calls a “customer of size.” It made me wonder how would a customer know if they qualify as a customer of size.

I had to do some digging, but I found Southwest’s policy on customers of size. Their policy states that each customer must fit into the 17-inch seat with both armrests down or they must purchase a second seat. If their flight is not full, they may receive a refund for their second seat after their flight.

I had to search Southwest’s website to find this information. Given that over 35% of U.S. adults are obese, it makes more sense to put a notice on the reservation page that states that customers who are more than 17 inches wide when seated should purchase a second seat or they will risk being asked to purchase a second seat at the airport. That way the customer is fully informed of the policy when making the purchase and they know the risk they’re taking when if they’re a customer of size and don’t purchase an extra seat.

Apparently Southwest is being sued because they’re not informing customers of its policy or enforcing it uniformly. Kenlie Tiggeman said the reservation page doesn’t inform customers about the customer of size policy and that sometimes she’s forced to buy an extra seat and sometimes she’s not.  I agree that customers need to know upfront that they need to purchase an extra seat if they are more than 17 inches wide, but there will always be people who are over the limit who don’t purchase a seat who will be allowed to board. Every customer shouldn’t be forced to prove they’re 17 inches wide or less before boarding a Southwest flight.

To enforce the policy more uniformly, I think every airline with a policy regarding large passengers should have an airline seat in the terminal where customers can test themselves and airline personnel can check to make sure a passenger will fit in one seat.  This provides a fair and objective test for everyone involved.

I feel bad for the customer and the airline representative when there has to be a conversation about a passenger’s size and whether they need a second seat. It’s a situation that must be handled delicately. However, I won’t feel as bad for customers who knew exactly what the policy was before purchasing a ticket and risked being told they had to purchase an extra one at the airport or not fly.