Preparation H

Contrary to popular belief, the letter “h” in Preparation H does not stand for hemmorhoid.

The year was 1999, I was a sophomore in high school, and I was sitting in math class. Something had spilled in my backpack the day before so my beloved, red North Face pack was in the wash. I had found a random sack in which to carry my books and miscellaneous learning paraphernalia.

My desk-neighbor asked to borrow a pencil and I nodded yes while trying to maintain my composure. Despite being 16 years old, I had the body of a prepubescent boy and more hair than Topanga. My neighbor was a year older and probably could have grown a beard if he wanted to. He was very manly and very popular. He was also very dumb. But, he had spoken to me and acknowledged my existence so it was a big deal.

I reached into my bag and handed him a pencil. Only, it wasn’t a pencil. It was a tube of Preparation H. I tried to shove it back into the bag as quickly as possible, but the secret was already out. There was no going back. I had offered hemorrhoid cream to an upper classman and earned myself a new nickname: Hemmi.

There are few things more tramautic to a teenage girl than embarrassing yourself in front of an older boy. Upon returning home that day, I complained to my parents about how awful they were for leaving the offending tube of butt cream in my replacement bag. Instead of being sympathetic, they just laughed at me; maybe even harder than my classmates.

So no, the “h” in Preparation H does not stand for hemorrhoid. It stands for humiliation. And now you know.


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