Menarche. It’s such an awkward word, right? Pronounced like “malarkey,” it’s the official term for your first period, which for us could have started anywhere from nine years old (I was an early bloomer) to the height of your high-school awkward phase. No matter what, it was a confusing, stressful, painful adjustment we all had to make, with the somber knowledge that it wouldn’t be going away for decades.
And now someone wants to celebrate this monumentally embarrassing event. There is legitimately a website called Menarche Parties R Us, and it’s stocked with all the blush-inducing decorations and party games that a sadistic mother could need to broadcast to the world that her little girl’s becoming a woman! (You know, short of waving around her daughter’s soiled underwear.)
There are paper plates — red, natch — emblazoned with messages like Puberty Rocks! and cups proclaiming Self Respect! Abstinence! Happy Menarche! For chrissakes, you can play Pin the Ovaries on the Uterus! That, coupled with the downloadable step-by-step instructions, makes me think that this isn’t ironic in the slightest. Not to mention this testimonial from one mother eager to kickstart the process:
“I gave my daughter a puberty party, which provided an easy way to teach my daughter about menstruation. When her period started, she was so excited to plan the menarche party.” -P. Harper, Arizona
Now, it’s not as if I advocate not telling your kids or little siblings the facts of life; far from it, as kids should know what’s coming no matter when they end up hitting puberty. But your first period shouldn’t be advertised or overanalyzed, either. It’s likely that your menarche (that word) took you by surprise and was something you had to work through emotionally and physically, and alone. There’s so much awkwardness in our adolescences that we really don’t need to highlight this particular transition.
Please, don’t let this kind of stuff start cropping up at Party America.
Photos: Menarche Parties R Us