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Ode to the Condom

28 Aug

The first time I ever saw a condom was when my mother showed it to me. My dad was in the Army, and whenever they traveled to other countries they were given prophylactics. Since my dad didn’t need them, he came back with them. My father had gotten a vasectomy right after my sister was born (I remember being 3 years old and seeing my dad with an ice pack on his tenders), so they basically just wasted away. I don’t remember the conversation we were having, but my mom asked me if I’d ever seen one. I told her I hadn’t, so she took me to her room and took out one of my dad’s perfume bottles. It had a large round cap, so my mother put the condom on the bottle. She showed me how to put it on leaving the reservoir on the tip, and how to roll it down the shaft. I was probably around 11 when this happened. I didn’t feel embarrassed or weirded out because my mother had treated it as the most normal thing in the world. As you can probably tell, my mother’s attitude towards sex may not have been the same one most girls I knew had growing up. She studied psychology and instilled in us a view of sexuality as something that was as much a part of human nature as eating or sleeping was. She always re-enforced the importance of safe sex. By the time I eventually had sex, I’d spent years reading up on it. I had safe sex, always. Condoms were always there for me, and it was the most normal thing in the world.

At 19 years old I’d been single in over a year and I wasn’t having sex. I wasn’t thinking about condoms at all until one day my sister told me she’d had unprotected sex. I wanted to smack her. She said the boy picked her up, took her to his grandma’s house, and then proceeded to tell her he didn’t have any protection, but they had sex anyway. I was livid. Had we been raised by the same woman? I told her she could never do that again and that since she was sexually active, she should always have protection. She looked embarrassed so I asked her if she wanted me to buy them for her. She said yes, relieved. So I went to the pharmacy and bought condoms for the first time in my life. The fact that I ran into my highly religious high school English teacher in the check-out line isn’t relevant to this story, but I just really enjoy that detail. Since that day I kept a pack in one of my bed stands, but never really needed it. It wasn’t until years later that I started having sex more often that I realized I never wanted to be without one. I went to the store and bought about two packs, and put condoms in each of my purses, that way, no matter which one I was wearing, I was packing. I realized that if you’re a responsible adult who is in charge of your sexuality, there is always a possibility you’ll have sex. You never know where the night will lead you, no matter how inconspicuously the day starts, you could still find yourself knee deep in penis in a matter of hours. Okay, that’s obviously a hyperbole, but the thing is, you just don’t know!

At one point in 2007 the awesome movie Knocked Up came out. I was already a big fan of Judd Apatow, and this movie was getting great reviews, so I bought it without having seen it. I loved it. It revolves around a two people who have a one night stand and when he doesn’t put on his condom before having sex with her it results in a pregnancy, as it usually happens. When she meets him months later to tell her she’s pregnant, he gets angry at her, saying he was drunk and she should have known he wasn’t wearing a condom because of how it felt. Wait, what? Sex without a condom feels different? I’d never had it, so I didn’t know my vagina was so sensitive that upon penetration it would detect whether the penis was covered in extremely thin latex or just going au naturale (I originally wrote “whether or not the sausage was in its casing” but decided against it because of me being an “adult”). So far sex had felt wonderful and I couldn’t imagine it being any different going bareback.

 

 

Someone very close to me is in an unplanned pregnancy. They never bothered using protection because she was irregular. They were very surprised when after going for a routine gynecologic check-up led to the reveal of her being pregnant. Why the surprise? Don’t people process this is what happens when you don’t protect yourself against pregnancies and STDs? She’s lucky all she got was a kid, specially since she’s a repeat offender in the unprotected sex division. She can’t work because her pregnancy is high risk. After being in a house less than a month they’ll have to move out because they can’t afford rent on his minimum wage. And that baby is going to be so extremely expensive, as all babies are. But a pack of condoms that costs a couple of dollars? Nah, not worth it.

Right now I haven’t used a condom during sex in over a year. I’ve been in a relationship for over 9 months. Due to the fact that we were long distance from the beginning we knew beforehand we weren’t going to be having a one night stand, or having sex after the third date. When we finally got together we spent over a week doing everything together; eating, sleeping, driving around North Carolina. We skipped Couples 101 and went to the advanced course, and along with it, birth control. I started using NuvaRing before I left the island to see him. I knew he wasn’t a fan of condoms but was willing to use them for me. Ironically, what triggered me deciding to get on hormonal birth control was the fact that I have thirty-something day cycles and would have been menstruating my whole week there. I wasn’t about to let Mother Nature ruin my week with what was potentially my future boyfriend, so I took charge and put a ring on it. When we finally got together it was wonderful. It was the best sexual experience of my life, but it was all about the intimacy and how we felt, and nothing to do with the fact that he wasn’t wearing a condom. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really feel a difference. He was what made it amazing.

So, condom, I’m sorry we broke up. It’s not you, it’s me. You kept my vagina healthy and my uterus empty for many wonderful years and I am eternally grateful to you for it. You were cheap (not in a bad way!) and effective, and you will continue making boys and girls happy all around the world. And, in case I never said it before, I loved you since the day I first laid eyes on you.

About a year ago my sister was working at a pharmacy and she saw that Durex was coming out with cute little boxes to keep your condoms in your purse without risking them getting damaged. She saw them and remarked that they were cool and that she wanted them, which made the women she worked with tease her about it. She confidently responded that women should take charge of their sexual health and shouldn’t depend on them to be the ones to carry the protection. She told me everyone agreed and looked at her with respect. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

P.S. While looking for a link to the Durex Love Box I found Cosmo had done an article of cute ways to store your condoms. So, if you’re interested in something good looking to keep them from flopping around your seemingly bottomless purse (my sister says mine belonged to Mary Poppins), click here!

Have fun and stay safe!

The (Lack of) Relationship Trailblazer

12 Jun

Have I ever mentioned how my parents met? They were neighbors. My dad was with a friend of his and they were talking about wolf whistling, you know, the classic way to tell a woman she’s banging. My mom was walking by, and his friend had done a lame attempt, so my dad stepped in and said “this is how you whistle to a girl”. I don’t know how it evolved but soon they were dating. It was the 70’s. Mom was 12, Dad was 15, and that was basically it. They’re still together, still in love, and I couldn’t be more grateful. This, however, has produced the dilemma that my mother cannot relate to pretty much any dating experience I have. I mean, I’m blessed that she’s not the least bit judgmental about the fact that she’s only ever slept with one man while I have a slightly higher number (impossible not to), but she has nooo idea how rough it is out there! Women in my family have had the luck of settling down either with their first or second boyfriends. Three women in my family are currently married to the boyfriends they had in high school, my sister is in a long term relationship with a guy since she was 18 (she turns 22 next month), and the only other single people in my family are my 52 year old aunt (separated) and her mother, my 80-something grandma (widowed). These women have no idea what it’s like to be wanted only for sex by men who don’t even disguise it! I mean, no guys texting late at night or early in the morning saying “I’m home alone and I want you”, then practicing radio silence again until the chance to get their dick wet arises again (this is how ladies talk, by the way). I mean, not even a beer? An invite to get a burger at McDonalds and go dutch?

Here’s an email I sent a pen pal (yes, those still exist) about my “dating” life.

Allow me to recount my last two outings (they don’t even count as dates) with men. Men that I met on OkC, by the way.

Guy #1. Lives close to where I work so I tell him we can meet up for the burger joint that’s across the street from work. I went right after my shift, so my hair wasn’t looking great and I was in my uniform, but he sort of sprung it on me so I didn’t have time to look decent. We each bought our food and beer. He asked me what I was looking for from the site. I told him I wanted to date. Not full on committed relationship where everything’s all serious, but more than just hooking up. He then looked at me and said “To be honest, I kinda expected some hooking up tonight”. I laughed and said I was flattered. He told me he’d gotten out of a relationship in October and wasn’t ready to date anybody yet Since it had gotten dark and he had walked over he asked me if I could drive him home. When I dropped him off he said “Are you sure you don’t wanna come up?”.

(Sidebar: On my profile, on the “Looking for” part I put in everything except casual sex. Do people even read that? I didn’t put it in for a reason, so if that’s the only thing they’re interested in, I’m sure there are many lovely ladies online and in real life who would be very happy to oblige them.)

 
Guy #2. While on said burger and beer outing with Guy #1, Guy #2 sent me a message asking me if I was at said burger joint. When I got home and read it, turns out Guy #2 not only lives 4 minutes from my house, he works at the burger place. He asked me to meet him for drinks once in Old San Juan. I went, and the moment we got to the place he ran into two gorgeous girls and we spent the whole night with them. They all knew each other. He was flirty with them and bought them drinks as well. Then, when they ditched him, he got aggressive with me, and by that I mean he grabbed my crotch in the middle of the street. I brushed him off all night and headed home, all the while turning down his invites. I was actually excited about going out with him before I left the house. He showed some promise previous to showing douchiness. 

By the way, I’m ashamed to admit I eventually slept with Guy #2. Twice. Once without intending to, the second time to see if it would be better. It’s not that it was bad per se, it’s just that I didn’t feel that rush I’ve felt before. I didn’t feel sexually fulfilled, I guess. I know why it is. This guy is clearly not into me, not even a little bit, except when he’s in me, then he kinda is. The rest of the time I don’t exist and I don’t cross his mind. The moment I realized this was how he felt, I stopped being into him, too. Ugh, it’s a mess. I’m a mess. See? This is the kind of thing no woman in my family can relate to! In this guy’s mind and, sadly, a couple others, I am no more than a series of tight orifices and magnificent tits (yes, they are amazing). Luckily, to most guys who think that way, I haven’t given it up. This guy just happened to request my company in moments where I wanted to stop thinking about someone and when I got rejected by that someone (again, good times!). Now, all there’s left to do is wait for this guy to finally get together with the girl he’s crazy about and change his Facebook relationship status. Like the guy that did it on Valentine’s Day. Or the guy that wanted to cheat on his girlfriend with me (he just got engaged to her)! Ah, these really are the best years of my life.

 

Gigi: So what now I’m just supposed to turn from every guy who doesn’t like me?

Alex: Uh. Yeah!

Gigi: There’s not gonna be anybody left!

I’m trying really hard not to cry right now

4 Aug

Today is Wednesday, August 4th 2010. On Monday, August 9th at 6:50 am my family and I will get on a plane and go to New York, the city of my dreams. I’ve wanted to go to New York all my life. I’ve fantasized about living there and have always wanted to study in Manhattan. A couple of months ago my parents told me we would be going there for the first time. I was beside myself. Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of being an actress. Even though right now I plan to study something else, I’ll never give up acting. Every time there’s a casting, I head over there, and I have the full support of my parents. So, naturally, seeing a Broadway play has always been one of those dreams. And I knew exactly which play I wanted to see. We have a full schedule planned. My mom and I have tickets to see the show I dreamed about, Wicked. We’re only 5 days away. New York is so close, I can feel it. Every day, I keep going up to my mom, hugging her and telling her how unbelievably happy and excited I am. I start cooking dinner for my family, since my mom and dad were at the doctor and I wanted them to have dinner ready when they got here. They’ve taken longer than ever, but I didn’t pay any mind to it.

Mom just called me. They’re admitting dad to the hospital because of an infection in his leg. The medicine has to be taken through IV and it lasts a minimum of 5 days. He and my mom might miss the trip. I’m trying my hardest not to cry. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to succeed in this much longer.