The condom has never been a part of my sexual life (which, incidentally, is a miniscule part of my much larger non-sexual life). Not that I’ve anything against it. The fact is that I’ve never been able to persuade myself to muster the courage to actually enter a shop and buy one. Each time I wished to buy a condom, it has seemed to me that the act of entering a medical shop and asking the guy at the counter for one presupposes the following:
1) I have a sexual organ
2) I am in the habit of using it for things other than respectable excretory purposes
3) Even while using it for other purposes I am removing all semblances of respectability by stymieing even its admittedly less honorable reproductive purposes
4) And finally that I am audacious enough to admit of the possibility of the cryptic organ being used for purely pleasurable purposes.
Surely such personal information cannot be shared with a perfect stranger. So I have contrived to manage without its services, while hypocritically preaching its usage from the pulpit at many forums and seminars on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. But recently I have been tempted anew by its virtues being extolled by beautiful ladies cavorting on the silver screen, suggesting many pleasurable variations in its use. So I asked a friend of mine about how to go about procuring one of these appurtenances. He told me that he had once tried to purchase one of those things. This is his experience as he narrated it to me:
I parked my car outside this big medical store and walked in as casually as I could. I tripped myself on the stairs and fell flat in front of the store. Hardly an auspicious beginning for my adventure! But gamely I picked myself up, mustered my shattered courage and dignity, and strode to the counter. An old lady with a dour expression who had witnessed my antics on the stairs gave me a deeply disapproving stare. I imagined myself to be a cool gunfighter in the west walking upto the bar of the shanty town he had entered, under the hostile stare of the citizens.
“Yes, sir,” said the salesman, “what do you need?”
I looked him straight in the eye and said in a cool measured tone:
“Sir?” he enquired with a puzzled expression.
“A rubber,” I repeated, a trifle louder, “I need a rubber.”
His expression stayed puzzled. Then enlightenment dawned on him in a flash.
“Sir, we do not keep stationary.” He smiled a final smile of dismissal. The fellow had obviously never seen a Hollywood flick.
“No, no, you misunderstand.” I said, forcefully subduing a rising tide of panic, as some of the other customers started getting interested in my case. “I don’t mean an eraser. I mean a rubber- like, you know, latex. Do you get me now?”
The salesman now had serious doubts about my sanity. Quickly he went over to the proprietor and whispered into his ear. The proprietor walked over to me and said with a confident, friendly smile:
“Now sir, tell me please, what is your requirement?”
“I need a latex.”
Puzzlement clouded over his rotund moon like features, but only for a moment. Then he was radiant with understanding. He reached upto one of the shelves behind him and slapped something down on the counter. Even at first glance I had my doubts. The thing appeared to be much too big. First I was inclined to think that the guy was giving me a compliment. Then I determined to be satisfied with nothing but the truth and the whole truth.
“What size is it?”
“A 7 sir.”
Seemed to me to be much too big. Or maybe he was talking in terms of centimeters in which case it would perhaps be just right.
“Are you sure it will fit?”
He looked at me with what I thought was a rather penetrating glance and said:
“I should say so. But you surely know your own size?”
I confessed that this was my first time.
“Your first operation sir?” The fellow certainly had a sense of humour.
I still had a nagging doubt about the size though and so I decided to check it out.
“Could you open it for me?”
“Yes, but you will have to pay for it. And it won’t be sterile anymore.”
Gosh, these things came with anti-conception coating! I agreed to his conditions. He tore apart the cover and laid out the contents before me. I looked in horror at the contraption that was revealed. There were five condoms joined together to a broad base.
I was indignant. What did he think I was – some sort of a hydra? Or come to think of it, what did he think of my wife?
“How do you think I am going to use that?” I demanded with considerable asperity.
“Well, I guess you just put it on.”
“Oh really! And can you show me how to ‘just’ put it on?” I said with withering sarcasm. I intended to shame the daylights out of this man.
“Yeah sure, I can do that.” He smiled, and right there in front of my horrified eyes, in front of all the customers he put it on. It was then that I realized that it was a surgical glove.
The other customers were now getting thoroughly alarmed and were gazing in wonderment at my antics. Meanwhile I was rapidly turning various shades of crimson like a highly talented though specialized chameleon. But still I determined to stick it out till the bitter end.
“Look,” I said to the man, “I want you to listen to me carefully, think it over in your mind and then give me your considered reply. I need that which comes in various flavors – strawberry, vanilla, pineapple, that sort of thing.”
And he gave me his considered opinion, after which I left the store, having failed miserably in my objective. This was of course what he said:
“The ice-cream shop is at the corner sir!”
So having heard my friend’s adventure straight from the donkey’s mouth as it were, I lost all my determination and decided to do without the damned thing until a better idea for its procurement struck me. Anyone out there, who can tell me how to buy a condom?
The versatile appurtenance