Guys like to think of themselves as problem solvers. Sometimes we create a problem just so we can offer up a solution. That being said, occasionally we run across a situation that is beyond our scope.

My wife and I recently took off for an impromptu weekend jaunt to Austin. We packed quickly and just as we were leaving, I noticed that she forgot her toiletry bag. Solution-man to the rescue! I grabbed her bag on the way out the door. I have to explain that when men offer solutions we are often seeking the glory associated with our innate problem-solving abilities. In this instance, I was certain I would get rewarded for my superior memory and, as we unpacked at the hotel, I subtly pointed out my good deed.

Unfortunately the bag did not contain all of the necessities required for an unexpected monthly guest. Being the sensitive and caring husband that I am, I volunteered to procure the missing essentials. Soon I would realize that men are not well-equipped enough to make all of the decisions required for this situation.

My first stop was at the hotel concierge. I asked the lady at the desk if the hotel had a sundries shop, or if there was a drug store nearby. She said that there was not a shop inside the hotel but that they had a supply of things that guests frequently forget. She asked me what I needed. 

Being caught somewhat off guard I whispered that I needed a feminine napkin. Thinking that this sounded strange I paused, and said, “for my wife.” I’m fairly certain that the lady knew it wasn’t for me, but I wanted to make sure.

She whispered back that the hotel keeps a supply behind the front desk and that she would get one for me. She went behind the front desk, pulled out a cardboard box, and began digging through it. The rest of the hotel staff was also very helpful as no fewer than five other people asked if they could help me. Thinking that half a dozen people helping me secure a maxi-pad was not an efficient use of hotel resources, I politely refused the additional assistance.

I glanced at the concierge to see how she was progressing. She was pulling all kinds of things from the box: coat hangers, hair brushes, coffee cups, and what appeared to be office supplies. At this point, I was a little concerned about the hygiene of the feminine hygiene products stored in this box of frequently-forgotten (and apparently seldom-used) goodies. As she approached me empty-handed, she informed me that she only found tampons in the box and would have to go downstairs to find what I (my wife!) needed. I told her that was okay, and that I would walk to the drug store since it was only two blocks away. I thanked her for her help.

I made my way in the rain to the drug store and then to the feminine hygiene aisle. As I glanced at the enormous selection, I was suddenly faced with more options than I knew what to do with. There were wings of various proportions, light days, heavy days, spotting, and a variety of other things to add to my distress. 

Since I had already spent my allotted “ask for help card,” I was on my own to make the decision. I remembered my wife once saying that wings were silly, so I eliminated all winged products. However, I was still faced with an ocean of options. It was then I became a victim of advertising. I replayed every horseback-riding, tennis-playing, how-your-period-is-freeing television ad I could remember and selected a familiar brand, sans wings. I returned to the hotel, wet from the rain, and presented my wife with the spoils of my adventure. After telling her of the ordeal, she thanked me and said, “a tampon would have been fine.”

So much for glory.