Let me just say something right away to try and dissolve some of the mystique surrounding a completely normal bodily function: there's no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed about getting your period. Period.
It's enough torment to experience stabbing cramps, splitting headaches, and shedding The Shining levels of blood while frothing with rage for a full week every month. I'm drawing the line at not even being allowed to openly talk about periods because discussing them could make *checks notes* MEN uncomfortable.
Let's get into the issue at hand so you can understand why I'm erupting into this conversation with such fury. While scrolling the "Am I the a-hole?" subreddit, I saw that Reddit user u/Acrobatic_Cup3962 asked, "Am I the a-hole for ending things after he refused to buy me tampons?"
"I had Friday night date plans with my boyfriend." She began, "I had just gotten off of work and needed to shower, care for my pet, pack for the night, and clean a bit before driving 35 minutes to his place. I got my period (yay) and with that came super bad cramps, back pain, a headache, and all the fun period feelings that I didn't expect."
"I told him what time to expect me over and gave him a heads up that I wasn't feeling well. He offered sympathy and asked if there was anything he could do to help me. I hesitated because when he's asked this in the past, I told him what I needed but then nothing came of it."
"I decided to give it a shot. I asked if he could run to the store (it's about a two minute drive from his place) to grab the items for me. He chuckled and said, 'No, we can just go together to grab those things.' I responded, 'I'll just go myself.'"
"Later, I asked him why he didn't wanna grab the items for me after he asked if he could help me. His answer? 'I'm not going to embarrass myself. Besides, I didn't wanna get up because I was in the middle of a game.' After hearing this, I ended things and left."
Yiiikes. There's a lot to unpack here. First of all, he asked if he could help, but then immediately refused to provide the help she needed? Interesting. I'm gonna take a wild guess. He was counting on his girlfriend not asking for something so he'd get points for thoughtfulness without having to actually DO anything — especially leave the comfort of his gaming chair. Offering help "just to be polite" without the intention of following through isn't actually polite at all:
"You stated that when he’s asked you before if he could help, you told him what you needed, and he did nothing. Clearly, he’s shown you that his offer to help is just for show."
"Why did he even ask if he wasn't willing to actually offer his time to do something for you? He really didn't sound like he was in it for the long haul."
Now let's talk about the "embarrassment" factor. Who exactly do you think will judge you while you're running a simple errand for your girlfriend? The cashier who's counting down the minutes until the end of their shift and couldn't care less what you're purchasing? A rogue shopper who has their own shopping list to worry about? Even if someone does judge you (I promise you they aren't, but just for argument's sake), is avoiding judgment from a stranger more important than your relationship?
Okay, now it's time to get into how poorly this sentiment was communicated. Somehow, this guy has gone his entire life without ever seeing the phrase "It's not what you say. It's how you say it." Not even on a bumper sticker or a fortune cookie. I also wouldn't be able to fight off getting the ick within seconds of hearing my partner, who is supposed to support me, say they wouldn't "embarrass themselves" or "stop playing video games" to be there for me when I needed them. It sounds like, "Sowwy, I'm just a little baby boy who isn't mature enough to have an adult relationship" to me.
Some people mentioned how a red flag like this was important to notice early on in the relationship if she wants to have kids in the future. Periods are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what a woman's body can experience:
At the end of the day, this is some seriously toxic masculinity that has no place in a healthy relationship. It may seem sudden and a little extreme to break up right after this event, but how someone treats you in little moments is indicative of how they'll support you in the long term:
"It’s never just the tampons. Masculinity that fragile manifests in so many other ways."
"Good for you. It's not about the tampons either, it's about the act of love and care for another. Know your worth. 🙌"
"While you could say this isn’t a big enough deal on its own to end things, I would argue that it’s a very bad sign of things to come. Enough so that ending things can be justified."