Real Talk: That Time I Got My Period Blood on My Client's Car Seat
I woke up in the morning and my tampon was spotless. It was the end of my period, but being the anxious person that I am, I still put in a new tampon, and a panty liner. I was working that day and the last thing I wanted to worry about was my period.
I’m going out with clients for the first time, showing them a series of homes. Day one is always awkward; you’re trying to be the best version of yourself. Even though I usually drive when I take clients house hunting, I suggest I ride with this couple because they have a new baby and they want to avoid the hassle of moving the car seat.
I sit in the passenger seat, the husband drives, the wife sits in the back with their newborn baby son.
We’d visited three places, by that time we’d been driving around together for about an hour (the tampon had been in for a couple hours). At the fourth home, we get out of the car and I turn to grab my paperwork. I see a perfect rectangle of period blood.
My period blood had gone through the tampon, through the panty liner, through my underwear and pants, creating a perfect print in the shape of the panty liner on the passenger seat. Their cream cloth covered seat.
On instinct, I dropped my purse over the stain. As they were getting the baby out of the car, I worked furiously. I took a Starbucks napkin from my bag and pressed hard on the stain, some blood came off, but as I tried frantically to scrub the mark, the napkin started to come apart. It looked worse.
They’re asking me questions, but my brain is not working. I’m in panic mode.
As they get their son out of the car, I give up pretending to look in my purse and we go up into the house. I asked to use the bathroom and remove my now soaked tampon and liner. I take toilet paper, wadding it up to make a new pad, wrapping my stained underwear. I clean up my pants a bit and stuff some dry and wet toilet paper into my purse. For later.
I debate going back to the car alone, to work on the stain, but there’s not enough time. They’ve determined the house will not work for them so we return to the car together and I see it, worse than before. I see the blood and the shreds of napkin. It’s a mess.
As they put the baby back inside, I use wet toilet paper to soak up some of the spot and it helps, but the whole time I’m thinking, “this is the worse thing that’s ever happened to me.”
As they finish up, I put some of my papers down on the seat, as a barrier.
This whole time I’m trying to be good at my job, trying to focus, but all I’m thinking is what am I going to do? Do I tell them or not tell them? After the triage, it’s certainly better than it was and how much of my perception of it being terrible is because I know it’s blood. Period blood. I’m seeped in my shame, so maybe I’m biased – maybe it’s not that bad.
By the time we get to the next house, our last one of the day, and I take the paper off, I see the stain again and I know, “I have to tell them.” We see the house, they decide it isn’t right and as we are leaving I say, “I have to tell you guys something. This is probably the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me and I am completely mortified, but I’ve stained your seat.” They’re looking at me and I’m rambling… I say I’ll pay for the cleaning… I’ll get them a new car…
They are so understanding. They say, “No worries.” I think the wife may have seen me in my dire straights and known something was up. She says, kindly, “If it makes you feel any better this is the kind of thing that would happen to me.”
“It makes me feel a lot better,” I reply and suddenly we are laughing.
We get back in the car and I don’t know what to do because they will want to look at the stain, but I put the paper down because I don’t want to make it worse (my pants are still freshly stained). On the ride back to my car, I try to talk about work things, but I’m so distracted. Once we get there, I get out and take the paper, I get in my car and drive off, ashamed and wondering what to do next. Do I followup on the houses? I am still their agent, after all. I still have a job to do.
I send an email recapping what we’d seen and at the end I say, “PS: I’m completely mortified. Please send me the bill once you’ve had the seat cleaned if anything to appease my overwhelming guilt.”
They respond about the places, but they don’t say anything about the blood. It’s a relief that they seem to still want to work with me, that I’m not some disgusting monster. Although I certainly feel that way. I see the wife by herself a couple days later, as warm and kind as ever. We view a place and she doesn’t say anything about… the other thing.
A few days after that I see the husband. As we’re walking up the stairs to the house, he says, “By the way, don’t be embarrassed. I don’t want you to feel bad about what happened,” I’m overwhelmed by their compassion. He smiles softly and says, “but I need you know that if I have to clean your menstrual blood off the seat of my car, then you better find us a really damn good house.” We laughed and that was it.