I'm not a friend of the tampon. I hate wearing (and reading trivia on) pads. I used to like using my diaphragm (the rubber type, not my torso) to catch blood, but since we've been trying to make babies I've let the rubber perish. Sponges just seem a bit too messy. So when I'm told about a feasible alternative, I'm intrigued.
Regardez the menstrual cup. It's not a new concept; menstrual cups have been around for ages, and that's the way I used my diaphragm for years. This one is very pretty, and looks like a solid challenge to conventional period management. It's called a Mooncup. Not fussed on the name, but it's nicer than something like Bloodcup or Wimmincup. You can read about it here.
The Mooncup people give you handy tips about how to use it in public (and pubic) places. They seem to want to stay with the time-honoured tradition of talking about women's bleeding ish-ews in gentle terms and colouring everything on their website a nice sanitary white and blue (brownie points for the daring touches of red). I guess they're competing with big guns like Libra and Tampax, and I'm constantly surprised (after reading the FAQs and the testimonials) how squeamish some women can be about their own blood. One woman fretted about seeing her blood through the transparent plastic. The response from the company was, in very gentle terms, 'get over it'. So maybe there's a few women out there who would feel ill looking at promotional material that didn't hint of minty freshness.
The downside of the Mooncup is that it's made in England and you have to order it on-line if you live anywhere else, so it isn't cheap, but considering that you only need one every few years it probably compares very favourably to the money we fork out to probably male-dominated sanitary product companies.
I wonder whether I can get a discount for giving them a free plug? (sorry.)