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So there I was, in line at the Pharmacy in Toronto with a cart overflowing with Gold Bond Extreme and Always Ultra Maxi Pads with wings. I mean it! My cart was packed to the brim! Other people in line with me were pretending that they didn’t notice anything unusual. They would eventually start rummaging through the large variety of breath mints available to them, anything,  just not to notice me or my cart filled with very personal hygiene items.

At some point customers start to watch me closely out of the corner of their eye to see if I am gushing blood or itching my body uncontrollably. When that doesn’t seem to be an issue they move on to the second stage which is pity. Their eyes take on this glazed, puppy dog, I-wonder-how-she-lives-with-herself, sort of look. And through it all I pretend to be a totally normal, not caring, happy-go-lucky, no problems here, sort of gal.I might even try skipping out of the store (for the effect), although being burdened with many bags of maxi-pads doesn’t make it easy and I end up looking injured.

Shopping at a pharmacy can be a very unnerving experience. Sure they load the front of the store with perfumes, shampoos and makeup, but those things are there to disguise the real purpose of a drug store…and I won’t tell you what that is, because it’s personal!

It is so hard to leave the pharmacy with your self respect still intact. Whether it’s because most pharmacists are hard of hearing and you eventually end up yelling in their ear the exact item you were blushing about privately in your doctor’s office the day before. Or maybe because you meet the Rabbi of your synagogue in the checkout line or your nice innocent grade 1 teacher while you are trying to improve your overall “lifestyle”. I mean, you can hide the item in your sleeve but eventually that thing is going on the conveyor belt and everyone sees.

When my family first moved to Israel in 1990, there was no Super pharmacies. The only pharmacies available to us were those little mom and pop stores. I mean, there were sanitary pads, but no Always with Wings!!! So when I would travel back to Canada every summer I was the one responsible for stocking up on all of the items that my family back in Israel would need for the coming year.

Unfortunately, I just got sick of explaining it to anyone (since it inevitably would lead to follow up questions like: You live in Israel, ay? What’s that like, ay?) so I decided to be strong and to withstand the pitiful glances.

Is there a solution? Not really. I highly recommend just getting through the store and paying as quickly as possible. Wear large baggy sleeves and try to buy lots of other small colorful items that you don’t really need to distract people from the thing you really came for. And last but not least, remember people, you aren’t the only ones buying it!