Friday, January 2, 2009

Awkward purchase.

I don't know which was worse: the first time I bought condoms and felt the clerk's disapproving eyes burning right through me, or the first time I realized the clerk doesn't even care.



I think we'd cut teenage pregnancies dramatically if we had more condom vending machines. They wouldn't even need to be located in high schools---no need to get into the politics of that--they could be in drugstores, but facing toward a corner so you could plausibly pretend like you just were buying a Kit Kat.

The absolute worst are the stores that put condoms behind glass. They might as well just put up a giant sign saying DIRTY SLUTS NOT WELCOME HERE. I'm twenty-three years old and I write a freakin' sex blog and I still can't bring myself to ask the drugstore lady "I'd like the 'Her Pleasure' ones please--no, no, the kind with the nubs, not the ribs."

20 comments:

  1. The last time I purchased condoms (which was, ah, not recent), I got them at the grocery store. Perhaps I thought mixing them in with eggs and frozen vegetables would shield me from social opprobrium. But then there was a white-blond teenaged boy just ahead in line, picking his nose and staring at me . . . .

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  2. Bruno - Oh yes, the distracting purchase. Can't go to the drugstore just for condoms--have to come to the register with shampoo, vitamins, and... what the heck, why not just throw in some condoms.

    It's a little weird that anyone would stare at you though, you're fairly grownup-shaped. Unless the kid was just at the stage where anyone with condoms is amusing.

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  3. Who knows what the kid was thinking. I was unnerved, regardless.

    I may have been especially sensitive because the condoms were an anticipatory purchase -- there was this friend coming to visit, see . . . . Perhaps in an established "of course we're fucking" relationship I'd be less self-conscious.

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  4. My husband always gets stared at when he buys condoms, and I never do (or at least have never noticed).

    I've never even seen a store that keeps condoms behind glass. I honestly didn't realize they still existed.

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  5. You'd love it here in the UK. We can get them (and all other contraception) free at family planning clinics. They even have extra-large and flavoured ones. You don't even have to ask half the time - they ask you as a matter of course if you want them, and hand you a giant sack with about 40 in. Never fails to fill me with glee.

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  6. Aebhel - I've heard it's not for Moral Guardianship but because condoms are very commonly shoplifted. Seems like they'd lose so much in sales it'd be worth the risk, though.

    Abs - Nice. We used to have a free bowl (not 40 or anything, just a fistful) at Planned Parenthood but they started charging.

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  7. I was once browsing condoms in a K-Mart with a gaggle of teenage boys very obviously staring at me and leering and making whispered suggestive comments among themselves.

    Then I settled on the Trojan Magnums and those boys fucking evaporated.

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  8. The last condoms I bought, I ordered from Amazon. There's no reason to be embarrassed by any purchase any more.

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  9. Regin - Two words: shared mailbox. Right now it's shared with someone who wouldn't open my mail and wouldn't be scandalized by condoms if she did, but when I was a teenager, this was not the case.

    Also, three more words (or five if you prefer to parse teenagerish gushing): Omigosh, date tonight! Until Amazon comes up with Free Worldwide Same-Day Delivery, sometimes there's no choice but to brave the drugstore.

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  10. I don't know what all the fuss is about. What can your fancy store-bought condoms do that can't be accomplished with a plastic grocery bag and a rubber band?

    This younger generation is getting soft.

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  11. I'm actually on the flip side of this issue, I obsessively purchase a box as a reassurance that I really DO have a sexuality, gosh darnit. At around $10 for a 12-pk, or $17.95 for a 24-pk, condoms are a VERY expensive loss prevention proposition, and they are generally under glass at stores in with especially high loss rates, as pregnancy prevention is a BIG motivation for people who might not have other forms of BC or even healthcare.

    Planned Parenthood is great because in most urban areas they'll just drop a paper bag of 36 on you, practically unasked, as a supplemental measure following your health visit.

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  12. Only time I ever bought condoms was an impulse buy, thinking that maybe if I had some handy, it would be more likely that I would actually have sex some day. It doesn't seem to have worked.

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  13. I went to the grocery store the other day and wandered around for ages trying to find the condoms. I knew they were in there somewhere, but they had them quite well hidden for some reason. Anyway, I was much too embarrassed to ask a clerk where they were located so I simply went without. I think your vending machine idea is great. Even being the sexual creature that I am, and sex blogging as you do, I still find making that public purchase a bit humiliating.

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  14. Perhaps this is just one more marker on my slope to the moral-less abyss. I enjoy buying condoms. I flaunt them. I walk up to the display rack, locate my favorite box (oh yes, the colored flavoured ones) and place them triumphantly on top of my other purchases. If I use self checkout, I hold them up to find the barcode. If I go thru a cashier, I make eye contact. Is it easier because I am female? Because I am a big fan of safer sex, and have been known to offer a bowl of condoms at parties? Or is it because I am a moral free wanton creature of debauchery? For you to decide.

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  15. William the CoronerJanuary 5, 2009 at 9:44 PM

    They make GREAT water balloons. Particularly if you add shaving cream to the mix. Big, BIG, mess

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  16. YLS - The condoms seem to usually be stocked between the tampons and the yeast infection meds in the Aisle of Feminine Shame.

    WtC - Don't forget the highly mature and reputable practice of condom shots. Vodka, milk, and remember not to get the "spermicidal lubricant" kind.

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  17. In the old days, it was common practice for American soldiers to put condoms over the muzzles of their rifles to keep dirt and water out. They could shoot through the thin latex, so it worked well.

    Nowadays, the military has little plastic caps that fit over the flash suppressor and pop off at the first shot, so according to an armorer friend, the practice of using condoms has died out.

    EXCEPT among the wannabe-SEEL-Rainbow-Six crowd back here in the U.S. Those guys are high-speed, low drag, and they know the spermicidal kind work best. :)

    Come to think of it, Pat Rogers (respected tactical trainer, USMC and NYPD) uses Vagisil to lubricate AR15 rifles at his classes. I wonder what Freud would make of that.

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  18. Don

    This is my rifle and this is my gun
    One is for business, the other for fun.

    We won't get into actual gunplay, after which you have to clean your weapons very carefully to prevent rust.

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  19. I went off on our town's market people-- they wouldn't sell to 14 year olds.

    Would. Not. Sell.

    I heard this after finding out a local 13 year old girl is pregnant, and her semen-donor had been turned down for condoms at the market.

    WhatThePhuque, over?

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  20. I don't think the purchase of condoms is awkward at all, considering my first purchase of them was at the age of 12.. and they were the "thin" ones because thats what they had told me to buy. So later on when i actually needed to buy then in th right size, there wasn't really any issue in it for me.. and the other people in the store couldn't really care less what you're buying..

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