Today's knowledge gap is brought to you by: Mia Freedman and tampon-gate.

Mia Freedman






There are many gaps in my knowledge. So very many.

Like the gap where geography should be. I blame my parents for this because they allowed me to study music and French during my final years at school instead of geography or economics which would have been far more useful.

Last year, when a friend told me she was going to Argentina, I was briefly perplexed when she mentioned the flight was about 12 hours. “Wait, how is that possible?” I asked. “Is there a faster way to get to Europe I don’t know about?”

Yes, I know NOW that Argentina isn’t in Europe but…

Look, I was possibly confusing it with Portugal which is in Europe. I think.

Then there’s the knowledge gap where wine should be. Make no mistake, there is wine in the gap. Just no knowledge about it. Alanis Morrissette would find this deeply ironic because I happen to be married to a man who worked in the wine industry for 20 years. But Alanis, it’s actually not ironic and it’s not even a co-incidence. I met my husband when I was about 23 and most 23-year-olds don’t know anything about wine beyond a preference for red or white. I was hardly the Lone Ranger there.

And then because he knew, like, everything about wine, my brain was all, “OK, excellent, we can use these brain cells over here that might otherwise have been deployed to learn and retain information about wine and redeploy them to remember the names and nationalities of Angelina Jolie’s future children. GO FORTH BRAIN CELLS AND LEARN THAT SHIT.”

This is how I came to be having a conversation with my husband where he was trying to teach me about a particular expensive wine and was pointing out the different notes or flavours or whatever they’re called. “Can you smell the apricot and there’s also like a Vegemite note in there.”


Blink. Blink blink. “Wait, do you mean there’s ACTUAL Vegemite in the wine?” I said excitedly, suddenly feeling like all the talk I’d ever heard about wine flavours was about to be unlocked.

He almost divorced me.

“Why wouldn’t you flush tampons down the toilet?”

And so we come to last week when the plumber was called to the Mamamia office yet again to unblock the toilet. This happens a lot – but we have 20 people and only one bathroom so, you know, it’s not entirely unexpected.

Somehow, a conversation began in the editorial room where the Mamamia and iVillage team all sit together, about flushing tampons down the toilet and WHO IS DOING THAT?

Wait, what? “Why wouldn’t you flush your tampons down the toilet?” I asked, genuinely perplexed. And then they killed me. Seriously, I have managed to get to the age of 42 without knowing that you’re not meant to flush tampons down the toilet.

How did that knowledge gap happen? I know that you’re not meant to flush pads. Duh. And a couple of years ago I learned that you’re not meant to flush baby wipes (ooops). But tampons? TAMPONS?

Surely this must come as a surprise to others, I thought. It didn’t. A quick whip around the room showed that everyone knew this but me.

It was suggested I wear a sign around my neck with a big red P for penance (and period, obviously) but I’m still reeling from the shock.

So there’s my knowledge gap. This week’s knowledge gap, anyway.

I have two questions for you: Did you know you aren’t meant to flush tampons, and do you have any knowledge gaps that will help me feel less mortified about mine?