Date: Sat, 1 Jul 95 13:04:54 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Forwarded-by: Bob Stein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Girl's Guide To Condoms
-- by Mimi Coucher
WARNING: Boys cannot read this. If you are a boy and are reading this, stop
immediately. The following article is chock-full of highly intimate girl
secrets that will be 10 times more embarrassing than any TV commercial for
feminine-hygiene products you've ever seen. So quit it. I mean it. You'll
We've Come A Long Way...
We thought we were pretty darn smart, all right. In the '60s we became
liberated and bravely marched into our neighborhood women's-health
collective, had our blood tested and our bodies examined, and marched out
armed with a pink carousel of little tablets and a new attitude. We related
to our sex partners, we discovered the joys of uninhibited physical thrills,
we took our pills regularly. In the '70s we were sorry for it and went en
masse to our gynecologists to be fitted for diaphragms. We carried them
everywhere, became geniuses of delicate timing. We tried IUDs, flirted with
cervical caps worn at jaunty angles. We researched and discussed the issues
with candor and aplomb; ask any high-spirited modern girl and she'll tell you
all about the G-spot, male menopause, the Hite report, impotence, arousal,
pregnancy, the Kama Sutra, birth control.
Ready for the '80s? Hell, we thought we were ready for anything. Anything
but this. No woman, not even the most avid reader of sex manuals or
sophisticated connoisseur of amour, is prepared for the experience of walking
to the corner drugstore and asking the freckle-faced adolescent behind the
counter for a package of... condoms.
OLD FACT: Condoms aren't sexy. Neither are rubbers, sheaths, prophylactics,
Coney Island white fish, raincoats, skins, safes, rubber booties, socks. The
package says, "Sold for the prevention of venereal disease." The boys say,
Sold for the prevention of love. Oft compared to taking a bath with socks
on, the condom ritual was the classic bane to the romantic advances of
bumbling '50s teens.
NEW FACT: Unless you can account for all the blood transfusions, intravenous
activities, and sexual escapades of your partner and your partner's partners,
you'd best get used to the idea, right now. "Say," you blink innocently,
"shouldn't the boy be taking some responsibility for this dangerous
transaction?" Yes, of course. But I wouldn't count on it. You know how
they are. And here's a horrifying thought: not only are you protecting
yourself against your partner, you're protecting your partner against *you*.
Oh, cheer up. It beats abstinence.
Buy Now, Lay Later
Don't even pretend for one minute that you're never going to do "it" again.
You will. So brace yourself for the new shopping experience of the '80s.
First take: you enter a quiet, out-of-the-way drugstore that has a display
of walkers and bedpans in the window. Confident that no one you know will
ever spot you here, you stride over to the kindly old pharmacist at the back
of the store. "Excuse me," you venture a little shakily. "Where are your
rubbers?" You are gently guided to a Totes display in Aisle Three. To save
face, you buy a pair of men's size 11s and ditch them in a corner trash can,
determined to do better next time.
Second take: the next store you choose is a little larger, and crowded. But
you can't find the condoms anywhere. There is a line at the cash register.
You stand in it, patiently, rehearsing your lines. You arrive. "Excuse
me," you politely whisper to the surly loud-mouthed Iranian behind the
counter, "where are your prophylactics?"
"Right here," he shouts. "What kind ya want?"
"Uh, Trojans, I guess."
"Lubricated or nonlubricated?" he bellows. "Ya want ribs? We got the ribs
kinds." By this time, the entire store is involved in the drama, the crowd
behind you is silently hanging on your every word, and you're sure that
that's your third-grade teacher who just walked in. "Oh, uh, skip it,
thanks. I'll just tell my little brother that he'll have to buy his own."
Don't be discouraged. Buying condoms is a tough job, but somebody's got to
do it. And here's a heartening fact that I bet even *you* didn't know, Ms.
Modern: marketing tests prove that women buy more condoms than men do, and
have for years. That's why, ever since the late '70s, condom packages have
featured air-brushed photos of couples holding hands at sunset. They thought
we'd like that. We don't, but it will have to do till pictures of Mick
Jagger, Mel Gibson, or beautiful shoes come along.
There are basically three kinds of condoms: unlubricated latex, lubricated
latex, and lambskin. The lambskins are no good because they haven't been
proven to be a barrier to infection. Anyway, they're really made of lambies
and that makes us sad, especially around Easter time. (The real reason we
don't like them is that they actually smell like lamb. One is tempted to
lubricate them with mint jelly.)
There are variations on the basic latex condoms. Some condoms are
prelubricated, with spermicidal jelly, even. Others are not. Strictly
The strangest variation by far is the ribbed latex condom. Why are these
condoms ribbed? This is supposed to be stimulating? Should one attempt to
play washboard tunes on it? This is just part of a big problem with condoms.
Condoms were, and are, designed by men.
If Girls Designed Condoms...
What a wonderful world it would be. Skip the ribbing, skip the lube. If
women designed condoms there is no question that they would be padded. "But
size doesn't matter!" comes a chorus of voices. (The loudest voices come
from boys who are peeking. Stop that right now. Turn to the sports page
immediately.) Sure *length* doesn't matter. But give any girl a small dose
of truth serum and ask her about width. Admit it. If padded condoms were
placed on the market, hordes of screaming women would storm their local
druggists and dash out with tote bags full. Unfortunately, it wouldn't work.
After all, there is that ticklish issue of boy sensitivity, which we can't
overlook, even if we occasionally want to. Padded condoms would rob boys of
the skin-to-skin sensation they already claim condoms rob them of.
And we can't have that.
No, we modern women, being kind and sensitive lovers, would design
whisper-soft condoms, completely transparent and microscopically thin. The
paisley, rainbow, and floral-print condoms we designed would be strictly
novelty items, kept for special occasions only. Ditto the condoms with cute
sayings: "Hang in there, baby, Friday's coming"; "My girlfriend went to
Florida and all I got was this lousy condom"; and the classic "I'm with
stupid" (arrow pointing back toward the boy). Other specialty items would
include the male-ego condom, which, like black olives, come in three sizes:
jumbo, colossal, and humongous. Naughty subversives would enjoy the Karen
Finley assortment, colorful, decorative condoms that turn ordinary penises
into bananas, hotdogs, yams, and more.
But I digress. The best place to buy condoms is your local massive
drugstore that has them on display, self-serve, just like corn pads or
athlete's foot spray.
So go shopping. Dress cool, hold your head high, read labels, make your
selection. Be assured that most popular brands come with little instruction
booklets much like the ones found in boxes of Tampax (uh oh -- don't mix them
up!). While at the drugstore, be sure to purchase at least one of the
following items: Tickle anti-perspirant, Ban Roll-on, or any of the Calvin
Klein line of men's grooming aids. You'll need these for important condom
experiments at home.
At home, be alone. Light candles. Play inspiring music; any record by Rick
James will do. Remove one of the condoms from its packet. Examine it
carefully. Then put it to work. Experiment with your slippery new friends;
whip those sons-of-gummi-worms into shape. Recruit those deodorant bottles
and practice, practice, practice.
And how about some new nicknames for the old standbys? Love skins. Slicks.
Wet suits. Silk stockings. Eight-by-two glossies.
Soon enough, you'll be happy and relaxed, perfectly in control of those
silly little slips o' sin. But wait. Something's missing. Oh yes, the hard
part. I mean the good part. I mean, both.
The Condomed Man
It is far, far easier to start them on condoms when the relationship is
young. In fact, the condom is a terrific tool of seduction when you're ready
to make the leap between the sheets. Call that someone on the phone and say
to him, casual-like, "I just bought a new kind of condom and I'm dying to try
it out... want to come over?" Or when out on the town with your paramour,
and the clock on the clubhouse wall says thump thump thump, push that hunk
against the wall and growl, "Listen, buddy. I've got a condom in my pocket
and I'm not afraid to use it. We're going home."
Welcome To The Safety Patrol
Before you know it, you'll be a veritable connoisseur of condoms. You'll
allow them to drop casually out of your purse in front of attractive men at
cocktail parties. You'll dispense them to friends, give lessons, perhaps
even roll your own. "Oh, handsome boyfriend," you'll soon sigh, "I've always
wanted to see you in rubber."
And he won't mind one bit.
© 1995 Peter Langston