We blew their minds with those little squeezy packs of tomato sauce that go on our savoury pies, and they’ve never been able to get their heads around Vegemite, but now Amercians are confused and disgusted by the Australian version of a very common product: the tampon.
If you live in Australia, you’re probably used to buying your tampons in teeny, discreet, packs you can slip into your handbag with ease.
But in the United States, tampons are usually sold with a long plastic or cardboard device stuck to the end called an applicator.
And despite the fact that US tampons are therefore relatively giant (goodbye, cute miniature clutch bag,) many Americans wouldn’t have it any other way — because they think Australian-style tampons are completely, horrifically gross.
Case in point: American blogger HousewifeDownUnder, who wrote an entire blog post dedicated to her reservations about applicator-free tampons.
In it, she decalres: “Tampons without applicators are just a no-go. That is so beyond disgusting that it doesn’t even bear thinking of.”
She continues: “Can I just say how gross I think that is?
“First of all, there’s disgusting stuff up inside there during menstruation that I’m not particularly interested in touching. Second of all, my finger is probably not always totally sterile, being a finger and all, and I don’t really want to stick it up there and give myself an infection.”
She goes on to describe, at length, her distaste at the thought of other women touching public bathroom doors after inserting a tampon with their finger.
“I don’t want to put the same fingers I’ve used to touch the bathroom stall door up inside an infection-prone part of my body,” she says.
“I know that some women probably do this anyway and it disgusts me nearly to the point of vomiting to think of them doing that and then touching the handle on the stall door afterwards. GROSS!!!!!”
She’s not the only American to find the thought of applicator-less tampons completely heinous, either.
“I don’t want to handle my own bodily fluids more than I have to,” wrote one Jezebel reader.
“I always thought applicators were better because your fingers are filthy.”
“I have always used applicator tampons, the ones without are just so hard to get in, I don’t know how you’re meant to get them in high enough just using your fingers,” wrote one Smaggle commenter.
“I just accidentally bought tampons without applicators.. opened up the package.. and was like.. wtf is this!?! I tried to put one in and it was extremely painful and wouldn’t go in any farther than the length of the cotton part,” commented another reader.
“I’m an American, and have only used a non-applicator tampon once. It was in a mall bathroom and I was desperate; I bought it from a machine. It was the only brand they carried. It was horrible- it said it was regular sized, but it felt like a light to me. Plus it had this bullet shaped pointy tip that was uncomfortable,” wrote another Smaggle reader.
“What woman wants to stick your finger inside their bloody (literally) vagina? Unbelievably disgusting,” said another. (Geeze, tell us what you really think.)
In case you’re interested, the applicators aren’t there by accident. As Jezebel explains in a post entitled “Tampons Have Applicators Because Your Ladyparts are Filthy and Sinful,” the tampon applicator was invented in the 1930s, because some religious groups thought using a finger alone to insert a tampon was a bit rude. Thus:
In 1931, Earle Haas, a “crusty old osteopath,” according to [Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology author Sharra] Vostral, devised a telescoping cardboard applicator for tampons, thereby ameliorating the moral and hygienic concerns surrounding their use. Eventually, it would be sold as tampax.
Americans, don’t you think it’s time to move on?
Do you agree that non-applicator tampons are the way to go? Or have Australians got it all wrong?