Thursday, February 18, 2010


The strip of condoms swung into my line of vision .” What are these?” asked the annoyingly curious Beast as she proudly waved the prize she found in the detritus that had fallen from by bag.

I had not thought of condoms in…say 10 years…until a bunch of them were shoved into my hand as I walked by the Columbia University main gate on the Upper Westside.

Often people are at the Broadway gate handing out free samples…mints, gum, soda, coconut water…whatever the marketers are interested in testing with college kids. So when a tiny, wrinkled, Asian woman in an apron with large pockets handed me a wade of some individually wrapped circular shaped objects it took me a while to realize these where not mints, but the new NYC condoms…curtsey of NYC….thank you Mayor Bloomberg.

Not knowing what to do with them—I tucked them in my bag for later disposal. I few days later at home while I emptied my bag the snake of brightly colored condoms fell out. The Beast was intrigued. I tried to be nonchalant—“oh…that is something they were handing out…free samples.” I said—hoping that would end the conversation.

But the Beast persisted. “ It is sort of big for a mint and it feels funny…squishy.” I always remember Ms. SexEdLady’s mantra—“capture the teachable moments when they happen.” Taking a deep breath, I elucidated as quickly as I could the purpose of the squishy sample.

The Beast, still intrigued, would not let the free sample go…so with further explanation AND a demo with a banana—I felt I gave a rather comprehensive overview of the purpose and use and even history of condoms followed by a warning not to touch boys because even condoms will not protect you from cooties . The Beast was completely and utterly disgusted…thankfully.

In case you ever doubted, I am here to tell you— it is true what the experts say—Children DO listen to their parents. Perhaps it was a year later while walking along the Hudson River with one of The Beast’s friends, the girls discovered an unwrapped, probably used, condom lying just off the path. The friend was curious and wanted to investigate further, but the Beast knew exactly what it was…”Oh that is like a rubber glove for a penis.” Horror tinged with nausea crept over the friend’s face as she dropped the stick she was planning to use for a closer inspection. Another successful sex ed intervention and I did not have to say a word.

Thank you Ms. SexExLady!


Pam J. said...

Funny post-- and full of wise-mom stuff. NPR did a piece about those condoms today. Check it out:

JGH said...

My mom offered me such a vague explanation at that age: "Those are for men, dear..." You did the banana thing? Impressive!

I also have a link to share:

LazyMom said...

Hey Pam,
I love the new condom packaging for NYC condoms--what a great city--it even has its own condom.
Hey JGH,
Yes...I did the banana thing because it is sort of hard to visualize if unfamiliar with penises. I was tempted to show her the water balloon thang, but that is a trick which is likely to be repeated outside the home and would mostly like come back to haunt me.