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What Would Your Warning Label Say?

written by Maryanne Comaroto, PhD June 29, 2020
What Would Your Warning Label Say?

The other day I was at a pharmacy deliberating, of all things, which panty liner I should buy. I know, TMI, but while perusing the fifty million choices I had—wings/no strings/glide/long/short/tall/wide/double-wide, etc.—I spied a CAUTION label on the back of one of the boxes. Wow, I thought. I looked right and left, hoping no one saw me spending way…way too much time contemplating feminine hygiene products (sadly, I still suffer from FHPPS: Feminine Hygiene Product Purchase Shame). Whatever… really, if I can’t buy a pad in peace then what has this world come to?

The Caution Label

Back to the CAUTION label. I thought, What the? What kind of danger could I actually be in with a PAD for God’s sake! What? Is my hmm-hmm gonna fall off or cave in? Could it be that all these years I have been innocently and reliably exposing my privates to some kind of danger, and I didn’t even know it? Feverishly I pulled several boxes off the shelves to see if they all had a CAUTION label, then picked the one with the biggest warning label and read the small print: “Blah blah….if irritation develops…blah blah…if irritation persists.” That’s it?! IRRITATION? All that for friggin irritation? OMG, way to give a girl a heart attack.

Then I felt a wave of relief, followed by the impulse to jump up and down and shout: “False alarm, everybody, everything is fine …a round of Kotex for everyone.” I left the pharmacy with enough FHP to last several years, (I’ll find any reason to celebrate). Then got to thinking about warning labels in general (yes, I am a bit obsessive) and wondered: what if, when you met someone you were interested in, they handed you a warning label—before you took them home?! Can you imagine?

WARNING: This person may trigger irritation, inflammation, nausea, and vomiting.

If you have a history of failed relationships or suffer from a broken heart, side effects may include: jealousy, projecting, volatility, feelings of insanity, and irrational behavior. Continued use has been known to cause self-loathing, anxiety, and prolonged bouts of depression. If these symptoms persist seek professional counseling immediately.

Think about it. Go back and scroll through the relationships you’ve been in that went bad or got sideways and ask yourself: If they had come with a warning label, would it have made a difference or been a deal-breaker? Would you have read the label? Or, like me, would you perhaps have overlooked it until the writing was on the wall, or one day thought, Wait a minute, maybe there is something about that big red flag? And even then, would it have made a difference? All good questions.

If you’re like me and are eager to avoid unnecessary pain (largely from my own blind spots), at the minimum, you do your due diligence wherever possible, especially given that many of us have become almost immune to the constant fever pitch of hyperbole everywhere. We need reminders (like my scare at the pharmacy) to take responsibility, to stand at attention, and carefully sort through the hype and false alarms from the real ones.

And while we are at it, ladies (and gentlemen), in honor of warning labels everywhere, I ask you this: If you came with a warning label, what would it read? Seriously! Send them to us and tune in later to see what other folks have to say!

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