I’d mentioned how my parents recently sent a box filled with beauty products from Japan. The box included a white plastic package containing cotton pads made for facial cleansing, toning or removing makeup (I always get the round ones, so I’ll call them “cotton rounds” henceforth.) Great timing! I thought, since I was almost out of the last ones I’d purchased in France. I like to use cotton rounds with Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover, my favorite product for removing eye makeup.
The package was covered in Kanji writing. I know nothing about Kanji and can’t read it at all, but I knew what was inside the package, because Mom had talked about how its contents were beloved by many Japanese women. “They’re really thin cotton,” she’d said. I could understand how “really thin” would be an ideal feature in a cotton round, as the skin around the eye area is very delicate, and the more gently you apply anything to that area, the better. Leave it to the Japanese to modify something as simple as cotton rounds, I thought. In general, anything they do with products for the face is amazing.
The Kanji-covered package sat on the bathroom counter for a while, and I eventually opened it and filled up the container I use to store cotton rounds.
The first thing I noticed was that they were square, rather than round. No big deal! I like cotton squares just fine.
The second thing I noticed was that they were individually wrapped. Now that’s strange, I thought… but I didn’t dwell on it, because they were Japanese. After a while, you don’t think twice about the unusual things the Japanese do with their products. There’s a picture of a horse on the “washing form” facial cleanser, and the cleanser itself is an opaque, dark metallic gunmetal gray cream that looks like a beautiful automotive paint, so why would I take special note of these cotton squares being individually wrapped?
When I went to use one, the mystery that I didn’t know was a mystery was solved.
I had my bottle of eye makeup remover ready to go. I opened the cotton square. And I found that it had to be unfolded.
“Well this is weird,” I said to Callaghan, who was in the next room. “It looks like a… wait…”
Realization started to set in. I turned it over, saw the strip, and yanked it off.
I bent over laughing and stuck my arm through the bathroom doorway so Callaghan could see the pantyliner dangling from my hand, attached to my palm by its sticky adhesive backing.
After a few moments of boisterous hilarity, we calmed down, and I felt pretty stupid. Looking at them again, I couldn’t believe I didn’t suspect that they were pantyliners all along. Those Japanese! They’re so quirkily innovative, once I had it in my mind that these were cotton pads for the face (which I guess I’d just assumed since everything else in the box was for the face), I didn’t question the design… it didn’t occur to me that they might be for the vagina even when I saw that they were individually wrapped squares.
Cotton for the crotch, not for the face.
But it’s true that they’re really thin!