A Condom Dilemma
Last week, I had to make a quick run into my local CVS Drug Store.
There I was in the aisle where the condoms are, enclosed in a glass case right next to the pregnancy tests and right across from the pampers. As I was waiting for one of the store’s clerks to assist me, I looked in the case (why these stores always keep the condoms in a locked case in neighborhoods where the teenage pregnancy rate is out of control will always boggle my mind) and started to break down the choices:
I could get the three-pack of condoms for $4.99
Or I could get the 12-pack of condoms for $12.99
Or I could get the 36-pack of condoms for $18.99
Because I was in a CVS where bad service was the rule, not the exception, I had more than enough time to ponder which option was the best for me. But instead of using the price points to determine my decision, I was calculating the circumstances behind each purchase.
Best for the random hook-up, I thought. After all, who actually plans to only use three condoms? Nobody. That’s who.
The three-pack of condoms is the contraception equivalent of buying a loosie*. It’s for those of us who are not committed to the person we’re about to have sex with, nor do we have plans to be after the night is over. Much like the corner stores, 7-Elevens, and gas stations where three-packs are the preferred purchase, a three-pack of condoms are for those of us who want to be in and out, quickly. It should also be noted, I would never go to a drug store to buy a three-pack of condoms. The other stores I mentioned sell them at least a dollar cheaper.
Somehow, the girl with whom I only intended to use a three-pack, has managed to stay around longer than the weekend. Turns out, we actually enjoyed the random hook-up and we want to do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again. After buying my fifth three-pack, the math behind the 12-pack just made more sense.
Thirty-six dollars may not be a lot of money, but 36 condoms is a lot of sex with the same person if you’re not in a relationship with them. To wit:
I once told a woman I was sleeping with it was her turn to buy the condoms. We just ran out of our box of 12. When I went to her place that night and it was time for us to do what I came to do, I reached into the drawer where she kept the condoms.
Searching, with my hands, not with my eyes, I felt the condoms, but this time, they weren’t folded up in a small, manageable box of 12. My hands were feeling a sea of condoms, in a box the same size as one used to package old cell-phones. I thought, Damn, these are a lot of condoms. So many, in fact, when the girl and I were done using one of 36, I said to her, “Umm, are you planning on sleeping with someone else?”
“No,” she said. “Why?”
“Cause you bought 36-condoms, girl! Those can’t all be for me!”
We both laughed, but the truth in my jest was a box of 36 condoms is pressure. This is why only committed couples relationship should be buying the 36-pack of condoms, or as I like to call it, the Costco-sized pack.
Back at CVS, a sales clerk finally came over to me.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
Lost in thought, I didn’t answer.
“Did you need me to open the case?” she said to me.
“Umm, no,” I said, snapping out of my meditation on condoms. “My head hurts. Where’s your Tylenol?”