“Dave the Period Fairy”

There’s an amusing and touching article at Bustle about an unsung hero.  Briefly, while on a hike, a woman found her period had started unexpectedly early, and she had nothing with her to cope with the problem.  However, a male hiker, “Dave”, had the necessary supplies in his pack, based on his prior experience with others in that situation.  Her gratitude for his help, and his tactful way of offering it, was overwhelming.  I recommend you read the article for yourself.

It reminded me of a factor we seldom think about in our emergency preparations.  In all our emphasis on food, water, clothing, transportation, defensive armament, etc., we all too often ignore the realities of personal hygiene.  It’s not just soap, or toothpaste, or deodorant (although all those are important);  it’s also feminine hygiene – sanitary towels, tampons, panty liners, etc.  I’ve made sure to have a decent supply of them in my emergency supplies at home, but I hadn’t thought to put some in our vehicle packs until I read that article.  I’m in the process of remedying that defect, right now!

It’s an error that men, in particular, are prone to make.  All too often, we take it upon ourselves to plan and/or make and/or supervise our family’s emergency preparations.  In doing so, we’re unconsciously conditioned by our own, masculine priorities – and that might lead to some serious complications further down the road (particularly if there’s more than one woman in our families!).  We can lose sight of needs we don’t personally experience.  Furthermore, we forget the enormous value such supplies may have as trading material.  You can bet there’ll be other men in a bug-out situation who’ve forgotten to pack them.  In their (urgent!) desire to provide for the needs of their female companions (and avoid the consequences of their neglect), they may be willing to trade for it with a great deal of stuff that we need, and/or can use later.  That’s not to be sneezed at.

Just a thought, inspired by that article.  Go read it, and plan accordingly.



  1. I have lost track of the number of times, on a movie or TV set, a couple of female extras will approach me, and delicately ask sotto voce, if I have any, um, "feminine supplies".

    The delighted look of astonishment when I pull an assortment of choices from my Portable Emergency Room On Wheels would light up a ballroom.

    And for the bonus, that stuff functionally has no expiration date.

    Plan ahead. And then ask older folks what they find needful, and then consult the mother of a toddler or three, if that's outside your experience pool as well.

  2. Tampons, pads, pantyliners also have a major roll to fill in any mass-trauma situation. Yes, the seriously serious medical people (the same ones who until 1985 thought they didn't really need to wash their hands between patients) are the first to poo-poo using feminine products for cuts or penetrations, but they do actually work.

    Having a selection of pee-pants (adult diapers) is also a good thing. The least which is in a tight situation where you can't set up a field latrine. Diapers are also useful for putting on an injured person who may soil their recovery area. Not cool or classy, but will save everyone a lot of trouble.

  3. My pack includes two single sanitary pads. I bought Always Overnight pads because my wife and daughters used them. The idea was that family would have what they were used to, and anyone else would be happy for anything in an emergency.

    As a widower and curmudgeon (and not planning on changing either status), I can't see much reason to change this. In my limited experience, folks are more interested in taking than trading in troubled times, and being prepared for such emergencies gets you firmly placed in the Friend Zone by the woman concerned.

  4. My wife, when talking with other women about being prepared mentions hygiene but expands it, somewhat, by asking if they've packed some form of birth control. The desire and ability won't go away just because the lights don't work and if you're not prepared…. She always gets a laugh but she can tell it gets them thinking.

  5. As a paramedic, I always carry a few tampons in my kit. Not only for feminine issues, but they are great for deep puncture wounds like gunshot wounds.

    As a side note, I once had a part time gig working for the Health Services division of Universal Studios Orlando. Working there is a lesson in what to put in your kit. The top 5 things that Health Services there does:

    1 Hand out bandaids
    2 Hand out feminine hygiene products
    3 take care of people who get motion sick on rides
    4 Give vaseline to those (mostly women) whose thighs are chafed from shorts that are TOO short (or skirts), leaving their thighs to rub together as they walk around in the heat all day
    5 Hand out water for heat related illness

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