Condom Angst

When I was 15, just like most other boys my age, I was a walking, talking, obnoxious, raging cauldron of hormones [I know, I haven’t changed much – hardy har har…] and the only meaningful communications my brain sent out to my body were any variation upon the following:

Brain: Penis!!!

Penis: Ugh…

Brain: Wake up, Penis!!!

Penis [plaintively]: But I just went to bed.

Brain: Did Julius Caesar ever go to bed when he was conquering the entire known world?

Penis: Um, yes, I’m pretty sure he did.

Brain: Never! Now get up!

Penis: I’m sore.

Brain: Up! Up! We have the entire known female world to conquer!!!

Etc., etc…

Now, of course, teenage boys’ brains are total assholes for bullshitting their penises with delusions of grandeur like this. At this age, the farthest my friends and I ever got with girls, if we were very lucky, was third base. [I wonder if kids still use the baseball analogy in relation to getting laid – I’ll have to ask my daughter when she’s older – MUCH older]. Most of the time sexual frustration was vented by incessant jerking off whenever and wherever possible (i.e. without getting thrown out of school or arrested). In case you haven’t already noticed, compare the arms on an average 15 year-old male. One arm will look like it belongs to Arnold Shwartzenegger and the other will look like a dead stick that you could easily snap off the bony torso. This is why.

In any event, there was HUGE pressure amongst the boys I hung out with to lose our virginity. Aggravating matters was that it was 1983 and everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, was totally freaked out about AIDS. Everywhere you turned the message was blaring out: IF YOU HAVE SEX WITHOUT A CONDOM YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE, AGONIZING DEATH. A 19 y.o. Eddie Murphy had eloquently summed up the mood of the times in his stand-up movie, Delirious, as follows:

And now they got AIDS,

That shit just kills motherfuckers.

I say what’s next? I guess you just

Put your dick in it and it explodes!

I bet even the Queen of England saw it that way back then. I bet, even after more than 35 years of marriage, she started making crusty old Prince Philip wear a condom whenever he wanted to give her a quick shag before a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. “Now they got AIDS, Phil! So don’t you even be touching me before putting on that thing!! That shit just kills motherfuckers, Phil”!!!

Bottom line: No one was having sex with anyone without a condom.

So, obviously, I needed to get my hands on some condoms. The problem was that, back in those days, the condoms were behind the counter at the pharmacies and you had to ask the pharmacist’s assistant (invariably a hot young woman seemingly deliberately hired to cruelly torment teenage boys wanting to purchase condoms) to get them for you.

Here is me in front of the pharmacist’s counter:

Take 1:

Me: I’d like… um… I’d like to buy… um… um…

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [quizzically]: Yes?

Me: Um…Um… Um…

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [raising an eyebrow with a crooked smile]: Yes?

Me: I’d like to buy some… um…co… co… co… cotton balls! Yes, that’s it. Some cotton balls please!

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [laughing]: Third aisle on your right…


Take 2:

Me: I’d like to buy some… um… um… some… co… co… condoms, please.

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [raising an eyebrow with a crooked smile]: And what kind would you like?

Me [bolting for the door]: Gaaaaaaaa!


Take 3:

Me: I’d like to buy some… um… condoms, please. Um… Trojan condoms… um… thanks.

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [raising an eyebrow with a crooked smile]: And what size would you like?

Me [bolting for the door]: Gaaaaaaaa!

What size would I like? What the hell kind of question was that? Try them on for size in the pharmacy, for God’s sake? I had assumed that condoms were a “one-size-fits-all” kind of deal. I made the startling realization that I had no idea if I was big, small or in between. I also realized that I had not seen another boy’s penis since before I went through puberty when, in Elementary School, we were required to shower at the school after sports [this is harrowing material for another blog as I was ruthlessly tormented and made to feel like a freakish outcast for being uncircumcised]. In my High School, however, we had sports after school and all of us opted to shower at home.

What size? How could I find out what size I was? In a stroke of brilliance, I remembered that a friend of mine had told me that his mother, who was single, was a porn hound and that she kept a stash of magazines, including Playgirl, under her bed. So, after my 3rd failure with the pharmacist’s assistant, I cooked up some bullshit reason for dropping by my friend’s place at 6 PM on a Tuesday evening. As good fortune would have it, my friend’s mother was out at the time and he was engrossed in watching TV. I snuck off and started rummaging around in his mother’s bedroom for Playgirl. Sure enough, I found it and just as I was, dick in hand, comparing myself to the centrefold, my friend’s mother came through the door… [material for another blog on why people who do not know me often think I am gay]


Take 4:

Me: I’d like to buy some Trojan condoms, please.

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [raising an eyebrow with a crooked smile]: And what size would you like?

Me: Um… can I just have the regular size if there is one?

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [grinning]: And how many would
you like?

Me: Gaa… wait… listen, I don’t want to come back here again. How many do they come in?

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [finally taking pity on me]: 6, 12 or a jumbo pack of 24. Here, why don’t you take 12 of these regular size, regular thickness and pre-lubricated condoms?

Me [sighing gratefully and taking my change]: Thank you!

Hot Young Pharmacist’s Assistant [winking and back in diabolical mode]: I bet in no time you’re back in here ordering a jumbo pack of extra-large, extra-thin, ribbed Trojans with chocolate-flavoured lube!

Me [bolting for the door]: Gaaaaaaaa!


As it turned out I was not going back to the pharmacy any time soon as, almost a year later, I had not even had the opportunity to have sex yet. I did not feel too badly about it because only one of my friends had lost his virginity over that time. However, just after I turned 16, I found myself in bed with my best friend’s sister (who was 2 years older than me and knew what she was doing) and heard those 2 words that are poetry to any teenage boy’s ears: “fuck me”. I reached down beside the bed, fumbling for my wallet in my pants pocket.

“What are you doing”? she asked, perplexed.

“Here”, I said, happily, holding up the condom. “I got one”!

“It’s okay”, she laughed. “I’m on the pill and I’m HIV negative”.

“Really”?!! I said, incredulously, suddenly reminded again of Eddie Murphy’s warning: put your dick in it and it explodes.

“Yes – really. I got tested. Now come here and fuck me”.

So, after all that pain with the pharmacist’s assistant, the box of condoms I bought from her expired before I ever had the chance to use a single one of them.

The good news is that my best friend’s sister did not laugh at me for being either uncircumcised or, horrors, too small.

About Requiem for the Damned

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