The Worst Workplace Period Stories You’ll Ever Read

If you’re a person who menstruates, you’ve more than likely experienced a period-related mishap or two, whether it was a surprise moment in a public swimming pool or a horrifying experience involving a date’s white leather couch. However, nothing quite compares to getting your period in one of the most inconvenient, uncomfortable scenarios — the workplace. Inspired by Jazmine Hughes’ terrifying tale of getting her period during her first day at The New York Times, here are nine tales of menarche mayhem, from blood-soaked pants to a tampon cat toy, and not one, but two, embarrassing trips to the emergency room.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Long Nails & Diva Cups Don’t Mix
"Within the past year, I switched from tampons to a menstrual cup. I had just finished getting my stiletto nails sharpened when I was at work trying to empty the cup. Because of my long nails, I could not grab the cup at all. When I was finally able to grab it, it slipped out of my hand, onto the floor, and splattered onto the wall and toilet paper holder! I picked it up and cleaned up the whole mess — well, I thought I did. A couple of days later, I walked into the bathroom and looked at the floor and toilet paper holder. The cleaning lady didn't do a great job, because you could still see blood left in the grout and on the side of the toilet paper holder. So gross." — Betty, 25 Knocked Out
"I was at work and went to change my tampon. I had the applicator wrapper in my hand to throw away and noticed there wasn’t a little trash can anywhere in the stall. This is when I did the dumbest thing. Thinking no one would come in, I hopped off the toilet to leave the stall for a second and throw away the applicator — mind you, my underwear was still down, wrapped around my ankles. I threw it into the trash can and managed to hit my head on the sink above, knocking myself out. A coworker from another department came into the stall about five minutes later and found me passed out. She freaked out and I woke up. They took me to the hospital to get an MRI. I ended up having a concussion! I was completely horrified!" — Lacey, 29 How To Get Away With Murder
"I was dealing with a much heavier period than normal. Every time I would change my tampon, it would look like a mini murder scene in the stall. I had a really busy afternoon of back-to-back meetings and went way too long without swapping in a new one. By the time I finally made it to the bathroom, it felt like the tampon had already reached capacity and was slowly working its way into my underpants. (Spoiler alert: It was.) Meanwhile, my boss, who is always incredibly put together and has probably never bled through a tampon in her entire life, was in the next stall over grilling me about my to-do list. As I went to remove the tampon, my entire hand got covered in blood. While keeping up my awkward banter with her, I tried to get off as much blood as possible, but I still had it caked under my nails and in the grooves of my fingers. As we stood at the sink, I swear she was staring at my hand, but it's possible I was just being paranoid. Either way, she offered me a squirt of antibacterial gel as we were walking out." — Liz, 29 Political Periods
"I was working as a student reporter for a legislative session, a job that basically consisted of sitting around, recording committee meetings, and listening to debates over bills for HOURS. One time, I got bored of the same old committee meetings, so I sneaked my way into a private press conference with the governor. The setting was very intimate and very serious and I already looked like a fool in my pink fur coat, so when my period started in the middle of the meeting, I stood frozen in the corner. Soon enough, blood began to DRIP DOWN and I just stared at the clock while his assistant glared at me." — Jenn, 19
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Shark Week Stains
"Day two tends to be the worst/heaviest day for me. I was sitting at my desk, thinking I was safe, when all of a sudden, I sneezed. I was like that Shark Week cartoon — I literally exploded all over my chair, skirt, the office floor, etc. I had to try to make it manageable, so I could get into my car and drive to Target to buy a whole new skirt and undies. "Another time, I was sitting in a coworker's office and when I got up I realized I had left a stain on his guest chair. Embarrassing!" — Allie, 24 The Crimson Cruise
"I was on a work trip in Jamaica when the worst period of my life happened — and I was trapped on a cruise ship with no pads for sale. When we got to the next port, I had to find a random grocery store to buy some Jamaican pads and then have them scanned in front of everyone as I got back on board the ship. Fun times!" — Theresa, 27 A Memorable Performance
"When I was 19, I was working as a stripper at this club. It was my first gig and I was really nervous. I went on stage wearing a white silk nightie with white, thigh-high stockings. I was on stage dancing and I thought everything was fine — I wasn't noticing that I got my period and there was blood dripping down my thigh. Apparently, another girl tried to let me know from the side of the stage, but I had my eyes closed. I did a twirl and ended up slipping on some blood that had gotten on the floor. I ran off stage. I was so upset and humiliated. The girl brought me a tampon and I asked her for scissors to cut the string so it wouldn't show. I put one foot up on the bathroom wall and went to cut it, but I ended up missing and cut right into my vagina lips! I screamed and fell to the floor in pain. The girl called 911 for me. I ended up having to get four stitches. I never returned to the club after that." — Anastasia, 26 Darling Diego
"The day after my birthday, I was so hungover, but I had a photography gig; we had to shoot Diego Luna, so I was NOT missing that! We got there and Diego was being all nice and looking so hot. I was looking at him, listening to his interview while trying set the lights and follow my boss' instructions (all while I was still really hungover). Suddenly, my period arrived with major cramps. I started sweating and my face got really pale. Of course, I had no tampons and neither did anyone on set. I had to improvise with toilet paper and use my friend's jacket to cover me, because there was blood all over my pants! All that with a hangover AND looking terrible in front of Diego Luna! " — Luisa, 24
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
An Interesting Cat Toy
"We have a cat at the place where I work, which is a very small, intimate office. The toilet in the bathroom wasn't flushing right, and the plumber wasn’t coming in until the next day to fix it, so I threw my used tampon in the trash. I figured it would be fine, since the janitor was expected to clean the office that night. When I got to work the next day, I immediately saw the cat playing with something in the hallway. The floor was all bloody and he had blood all over himself and I was like, 'WHOA, DO WE HAVE MICE? DID YOU KILL A MOUSE?!' No, the cat was chewing on and batting around the used tampon I threw in the trash. I quickly scooped up the tampon and threw it out, but there were stains left on the carpet. Moments later, the plumber came to fix the toilet and saw the blood, asking what happened. I lied and said the cat killed a mouse. Word spread to the office manager who ended up thinking we had a rodent problem in the building." — Tabitha, 27

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