A new product called CycleBeads purports to help women become the overlords of their ovaries by charting their menstrual cycles using a necklace and a rubber ring. Every which way I turn, someone company somewhere is trying to get their bead-shaped product near my vagina. Please stop this. Please get those beads away from my vagina.
The premise of CycleBeads sounds promising. Users simply slide a black ring down the beads during each day of their cycle. Brown bead days happen when there's very little chance you could get pregnant. Red beads mean it's the first day of Daniel Day Lewis Week (because There Will Be Blood). White beads signify fertility. According to the Georgetown University researchers who developed them, they're 96% effective. One researcher said that they'll even enhance communication. TIME reports,
It's a good tool so they can decide together if they do want to get pregnant, these are the days. Or if they don't want to get pregnant, they can use the beads to decide when to use condoms.
That's all well and good, but why must we do it this way, with beads? Why can't we do something cool like have a fertility dartboard, or a big decorative Fertility Flower with 28 to 32 removable petals? Why not a Fertility Advent Calendar where adorable doors are opened each day to reveal a tiny, delicious piece of candy that is relevant to where you are in your cycle? "It's coconut today, honey, I'm ovulating! This is delicious!" No, the presence of beads in a product has become code for "VAGINA TIME," and I'm confused as to why.
Yes, I know that beads are nice and spherical and don't have any sharp edges and they promise they won't poke me, but my vagina is just fine without putting beads in, near, or around it, and making something bead shaped or calling it something of or relating it to beads is not going to encourage me to use it in cooperation with my ladyparts, even if that something promises to give me control over my fertility. I am experiencing Bead Fatigue.
From Tampax Pearl brand tampons to the pearl thong made famous by Samantha in Sex & The City to the small anti-yeast infection suppositories you're supposed to insert during times of vaginal strife, our vaginas could open up their own Etsy store. There are strings of rubber beads designed to strengthen your sex muscles. New York City's Toys in Babeland has advertised with the phrase "Polish your pearl." Earlier this year, the sort of people who probably use the phrase "make love" started using beads to tell each other when it was time to get disgusting to the strains of some Sade or Kenny G. Even the Catholic Church is all about the bead-vagina connection; they've got a whole prayer to a woman with a pristine vagina that's said using a string of beads.
While it's great for women to find new ways to chart their fertility, the last thing I need is another bead product that's supposed to hang out in my babycave. It's getting so crowded up there that I doubt I even have room to ovulate anymore.