D’Arcy Carden plays the omniscient Janet on The Good Place, and there’s one thing she knows for sure in real life, too: tampon innovation is getting borderline ridiculous. Hence her “ad” for XTRA, the tampon that’s “extra, like me” – complete with astrologically-calibrated PH, a built-in vaginal steamer and auto-eject function. And while the spot (really an ad for Playtex Simply Gentle Glide) is a joke, it does feel like we aren’t far away from getting a serious version, which is why Carden was down to spoof the increasingly intense world of women’s maintenance.
“I feel like the way companies market so many extra things to us, and they tell us what they think we need, or what we’re supposed to need,” she said. “I loved the fact that we’re kind of taking a swing at all those tampon commercials that we’ve seen over the years with the women in the white lacy PJs, and the workout clothes. We know what it’s like when we’re on our period, and it’s not that. It’s not that even when we’re not on our period.”
In the interest of keeping things real, Carden agreed to walk us through the average first day of her period, from PMS to the canceled-plans couch binge. And listen, tampon commercial ladies, she doesn’t begrudge you your desire to play beach volleyball in a white bikini. It’s just maybe not for her.
“What I’ve learned the older I get, is that my period is not necessarily gonna be the same every single month. Listen to your body, and if your body says you want to go play beach volleyball then you do that. And if your body says you want to get in the bath and stay there for three hours, you can do that too,” she says. “I’m probably not gonna ride a horse in a pair of white spandex, but honestly if you want to do it, do that.”
“Let’s say it’s a bad month. I would say it probably starts out like with a day of me snapping at my friends and loved ones, and my husband especially getting the brunt of it, where everything he says I question and argue with and don’t realize what’s going on until the next day when I actually get my period and realize, Oh, that’s what that was.”
“I probably will wake up and my body will be feeling bloated, and I will be feeling uncomfortable, and I will be so hungry. I know a lot of people crave sweet stuff, but for some reason I’m a salty person, and I love like a big, you know, omelet-y breakfast. I think I for some reason equate losing blood with needing like to replenish it with food. I’m like, well, I have to eat because I’m losing blood. If I’m on set I luck out because they have catering. So I just maybe get two plates instead of one, and maybe I’m just loading it up with all different things that I want to try.”
“I am a big self-care person when it comes to, I guess, life, but also when I have my period, whatever I need is what I deserve. So that means like, I am getting a massage, and it’s gonna actually be 90 minutes, it’s not gonna be 60 minutes. It’s be a full body massage. It’s easy to tell ourselves, This is what we deserve. We are going through body war right now. Our body is fighting a battle, and the only way to win is to take care of yourself.”
“I will most likely do like a full skincare routine: gonna put on some serums, I’m gonna put on some exfoliating masks and really take care. I maybe can’t control like what’s going on with my hormones and my body, but I can definitely control my skin in this moment by buffing it out. It’s a hilarious lie that we’re told as teens: Your skin is only gonna be bad for five or 10 years. It’s like no, no, no. Mine continued.”
“I love like a power nap, like a half-hour nap. And I’m probably gonna cancel plans with you that night, and I’m probably gonna get on the couch and tuck my little dog into a ball and put her on my lap and watch something with my husband, and that’s about all I can muster. I think there should be like an across-the-board rule: You’re allowed to cancel plans when you have your period, without a doubt. And no questions asked. If you do ask me a question, the response can just be ‘period.’ With a period at the end of that.”
“Women know that periods are definitely not like the horror stories that we are told as teens. They’re natural! I like the idea that we’re just talking about it, and that it’s not something to be ashamed of. We’re not, like, tucking a tampon into the sleeve of a sweater and pretending to go make a phone call anymore – we just want something reliable and simple, like the Playtex Simply Gentle Glide … I just can’t get over the lacy white PJs. Imagine when you’re on your period wearing lacy white PJs to bed. Impossible!”