Unsurprisingly, a only mere handful of men were able to answer the question correctly. Others came up with a wide variety of ridiculous answers.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 1, 2021. It has since been updated.
Back in 2019, Twitter user Evan J Worthen took to the platform with what he thought was a clever joke about the letters 'R' and 'L' on tampons. "My girlfriend left a tampon at my apartment and [I don't know] where the left one is. Anyone know where I can get a single left tampon to keep a set here for emergencies?" he tweeted, along with a photo of an 'R' tampon. To his surprise, with over 22k retweets and 3k responses, Worthen's innocuous joke ended sparking a viral trend of women asking their boyfriends whether they knew what the letters on tampons mean.
My girlfriend left a tampon at my apartment and idk where the left one is. Anyone know where I can get a single left tampon to keep a set here for emergencies? pic.twitter.com/6D51FIWrVU— Evan J. Worthen (@harambevan) September 1, 2019
In case it isn't clear, the letters on tampons stand for their absorbency level. 'R' means 'Regular,' 'L' stands for 'Light,' and 'S' stands for 'Super.' Unsurprisingly, a only mere handful of men were able to answer the question correctly. Others came up with a wide variety of ridiculous answers that, although hilarious, highlighted an important issue about society. Here are some of the most atrocious responses:
My boyfriend thinks it stands for “restricted” OML— Lindsey Koelblin (@lindseyyk18) September 2, 2019
Lol l asked my boyfriend if he knew what the “R” on a tampon stood for. pic.twitter.com/PJZav2wWqM— ʟᴇx ☾ (she/her/hers) (@lexiestamps) September 4, 2019
My husband. The father of my unborn child... pic.twitter.com/x12zwqxUFM— ashley makavos (@ashmakavos) September 2, 2019
My husbands first guess was “ royal” LMAO???— Gemini (@LabrinthG) September 3, 2019
I just asked my boyfriend and he said “I don’t know, rectal?” 😂🤦🏼♀️— Alice Heiress (@_ashlieharris) September 3, 2019
Speaking to Bored Panda on the topic, Worthen said: "I grew up in a conservative religious culture in which I internalized messages thrown at me of the body being sacred to a point of non-discussion. We (at least my fellow male friends/classmates and I) didn’t talk about things like periods and tampons. In fact, we avoided talking about bodies — especially those of women, and I worry that boys in other communities experienced this too."
girl he kinda close😂😂— mely (@Thekidlegendd) September 2, 2019
I asked my boyfriend if he knew what the R on tampons meant, he said:— dovahkiin 🐲 (@Obi_Wan_Kenobri) September 5, 2019
He tried. pic.twitter.com/FqhWH2SvnH
"Men have a tendency to not care about the inconveniences of women even if they are a product of our own oppressive actions. The attitude of “well it sucks that half the population has to deal with this but at least I don’t have to worry about it” is one that we unfortunately perpetuate," he added. Sharing one thing he wanted men to know about women, he said: "Every female body is different and all-female bodies experience menstruation differently (period lengths and associated bodily functions vary, different menstrual care products work better for different people)."
IM CRACKING UP... 😂😂😂😂😂— Rach (@R_miller18) September 4, 2019
I asked my boyfriend what the R on tampons mean like everyone else is on Twitter... Here is his response 🤦🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/PaiKIGXT51
"While some women aren't affected much out of the ordinary by their periods, some others have it harder, such as one friend who describes her period as a monthly 'vicious carnival ride,' and every female body faces disadvantages in this world because of its patriarchal nature and structure," Worthen explained.
Ask your boyfriend what the r on a tampon stands for and this is what you’ll get pic.twitter.com/OtlrooHh7S— Jess (@jessnoelleee) August 5, 2020