I don’t know about you but after having watched Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, I have steered clear of any camping when I have my period. No, this has nothing to do with me not being an avid camper, but more to do with the fact that I believe everything that’s uttered in Will Ferrell movies: “The bears can smell the menstruation!

This myth dates back to a single incident on August 13, 1967 when two women were mauled to death in Glacier National Park by grizzly bears. Although there was no proof that period blood is a deadly scent that will have you killed by any bear within a 20 mile radius, speculation about the reasoning for these two women being killed (wrong place, wrong time, maybe?) turned into an unproven myth. And ever since then women have been binding themselves with metal chastity belts adorned with car air fresheners whenever they’re near a wooded area so as to protect themselves from imminent death.

But now (phew!), you can stop wasting good money on air fresheners and emergency Febreze canisters, because the truth is that grizzly and black bears don’t give a fuck if you have your period. How was this myth debunked? With 26 bloody tampons, of course!

Twenty-six lucky free-ranging black bears were given the opportunity to go to town on these 26 bloody things, and they snubbed them. They could not have been any less interested in chowing down on such a, er, treat, as you or I. But polar bears, however, are a completely different breed. Polar bears, if given the chance, will eat that stuff up like it’s caviar off a silver spoon.

So the next time you’re given the choice between camping in New Hampshire or trekking on into the Arctic Circle, if you’re expecting your period during your trip, choose wisely. (Or you could just do as you please and realize that these myths are often perpetuated by the sexist mentality that women don’t have the balls — metaphorically speaking — to take on the wilderness like a big strong man, and obviously being in the forest is too much time out of the kitchen, so then things get weird and the genders become confused as to their roles in life.)

But gender stereotypes aside, now that we know that polar bears want to drink your blood, I’d strongly suggest some sort contraption to mask the menstrual smell. They may be really cute as cubs, but a hungry polar bear who hasn’t had a seal to eat in weeks is not the type of creature you want chasing you down. Besides, it’s fucking slippery in Arctic.


Photo: Flip Nicklin via National Geographic