Excerpt from 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 be sorry.
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 ’90s.
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.
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.
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.”