A girl recently told me the condoms I use were despicable. Uncomfortable to the point of ruining sex. But when I suggested the obvious, that we stop using them, she balked. Something about personal responsibility and not being able to live with herself. Instead, she countered with a daunting proposition.
Why don’t you buy new condoms?
Because I’ve only ever used one brand.
Trojan Ultra Ribbed. Not only do they bring brand-name confidence to my bedroom game, they sound cool. Ultra freakin’ ribbed. If there was a party, Ultra Ribbed would be holding court in the kitchen, convincing girls to do tequila shots.
But apparently they suck. And I’m approaching 30. I can’t be using crappy condoms. It’s time to improve my rubber collection. And I did it the only way I know how. By getting hammered and going to Harris Teeter. This is that account.
. . .
I am standing alone in my room drinking. I have a Solo cup full of pickle juice in one hand and a bottle of Bulleit in the other. I guess I could be doing it in the living room, but my roommate is catching up on Top Chef. Living with me is difficult enough.
On the way there, I realize what it is I hate about condom shopping. It’s not the act of purchasing them. It’s that I keep doing it at grocery stores. Why am I not buying these at CVS, where the aisles are lined with dandruff shampoo and menstrual tampons? Everyone is picking up personal, repulsive consumer goods at pharmacies.
It’s different at the grocery store. There are people getting their holiday ducks and their salt and vinegar chips. Meanwhile I’m barging to the cashier, a 36 pack of rubbers tucked under my arm.
Is that celery? These are condoms. COME WATCH ME FUCK. Yea. You can bring the child.
It is Sunday evening, so the store has a gentle bustle to it. I decide to grab the other item I came for first, so as to not appear like I walked all the way from home just to wrap it up. Unfortunately, the other item I need is carpet cleaner. I can imagine the cashier now.
You know sir, you are supposed to come inside the condom.
I walk upstairs, a cherry red bottle of Resolve in my left hand. Why aren’t condoms tucked away in a polite corner, with a velour curtain, so I can peruse in peace? No. They are next to bar soap. I already feel gross enough Teeter, stop pushing the narrative I’m unclean.
By the way, I reek of whiskey, am lurching a bit and can only be described as leering at the display. I feel like a middle-aged hillbilly, in a stained undershirt, scratching his chest, contemplating incest.
Mah daughter, she a purdy, but I don’t want none them funky babies.
The top row is dominated by Trojan. Bright orange cubes plastered with commonplace adjectives that only become sexualized when slapped across a box of condoms.
Ecstacy. Intense. Twisted.
There are two additions to their line, which I’d never known about. One is Trojan Supercharged Orgasmic Pleasure. Don’t undersell yourself. Can the FCC regulate these claims? There has to be paragraphs of legalese on the back: Trojan Brand is not responsible for copulation that does not culminate in orgasm. Next to them is the BareSkin line, which claims to be 40% thinner than average. Condoms always seemed pretty thin to me to begin with. They’re… translucent. How much more can we go? I like to imagine a guy with a lathe planing latex, a nefarious Trojan executive behind him in a suit.
“Sir, this as thin as the rubber can go.” And the CEO cocks his pistol.
There is also Trojan ENZ, which have an enormous red tag noting they contain “Spermicidal Lubrication.” I thought this was like anti-lock brakes at this point. Why would you make condoms that don’t do everything they can to prevent pregnancy?
Ehh, this is probably enough.
I should mention that I’m standing in front of a condom display in a public store, tipsy, furiously scribbling notes into a moleskin. Don’t know how I’ll explain this one to the police.
Officer, just, have you even read my blog?
Next to Trojans are Magnums. Condoms always seemed real stretchy to me. How much bigger does your dick need to be to justify these? I like to assume Magnums are bought only by guys who think they are packing, but then come to the bitter realization it isn’t true when they are splitting the surgery bill to remove a rubber from their girlfriend’s fallopian tube. There’s also a Magnum XL. No.
Above them are Playboy condoms. Playboy. They make a condom. What gentleman purchases these? I imagine he keeps them in a silver case which he flips open whenever women are hesitant about sleeping with him.
But my dear, these are Playboy condoms.
There’s no way that move wouldn’t work.
To Playboy’s suave right is Durex. I’m sure they are fine and everything, but Durex was the brand my college RA passed out. They came in purple and orange and green and yellow. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcondom. It still boggles me to this day. Why would you make condoms in different colors. It’s not like we can put one on and strut about like a perverse peacock. By the time the condom is rolled on, the woman usually already digs you. I like to think this was another misguided attempt by a corporation in the 90s to seem cool. Use Durex. The condom that comes in clear packaging.
Sadly there appear to be no lambskin condoms. Whole Foods maybe. There is also 14 different brands of lubrication. Call me old-fashioned, but I feel only men in their late 40s with moustaches should be allowed to use the phrase “lube.” Because that’s probably their thing.
I’ve got some lube in the dresser.
Everyone else needs to say lubrication. It’s only three more syllables. That’s worth it to not sound like a complete denigrate.
Alas, being drunk, I settled on Ultra Ribbed again. Whatever. I think they rock.