The mom of two boys says that based on what she hears from her young readers, people are a bit more comfortable nowadays talking about the subject.
"It's a little bit less of a taboo than it used to be, but as the mother of boys, I talk about it with them because I think mothers of boys used to not talk (about it), and I think still moms of boys don't talk about it with their kids a lot," she said, remembering something a boy once asked her in high school.
" 'So if a boy started bleeding for a week, he'd be dead. Why don't you people die?' " Vail said.
As I was working on this story, I wondered why we, as grown women, don't really talk about our periods all that much either, other than to announce that "our friend" has arrived or to lament about PMS symptoms and the early signs of menopause.
For instance, have you ever asked your friends whether they use alternatives to tampons and pads, like cups and sponges -- products I didn't even know existed, I admit, before writing this story?
Theresa Albert, a 48-year-old food and health writer, said she learned there was life beyond tampons and pads only a year or two ago from a friend who was planning a weekend away. "She's like, 'I am going to have to pick up some soft cups, because I can use them and keep the flow from making the hotel messy.' And I was like, 'What's a soft cup?' "
The subject just doesn't come up that much, says Vail, because we, as women, have moved on to other concerns.
"As women, we feel like, 'All right, so I got tampons, and I'm good."
But just because women think we've got it all figured out doesn't mean our girls do -- and hopefully, we can share with them the range of period-related options.
And, who knows? Maybe ads like "Camp Gyno" will mean more of our girls won't be embarrassed to have "the talk."