While home in Atlanta last week, I was privy to a conversation involving friends of my parents debating over who should be supplying the condoms among college kids. "We told our son to always, always bring his own — you should never trust a girl's condoms. She could have tampered with them," one person said. (Which was exactly what some poor Yale freshmen were told in a prank pulled by the senior class this year.) I jumped in: "She could have tampered with them?! What about him? His condoms are probably old. And expired! And they've probably been in his wallet for the past 10 years." Said a third: "It's true, a guy wouldn't want to fuck with the condom — no way he would want to get a girl pregnant. Only a girl would try to get pregnant through deceptive condom usage...But on the other hand. Oh God. What idiot would trust a college-aged boy to bring the condoms?!"
We sat there, unsure. Then someone offered: "What if horny college kids everywhere are no longer having sex because the boys are insisting on their condoms and the girls on theirs?" In the words and spirit (sorry, guys) of Carrie Bradshaw, I got to thinking: Could a problem with rubbers bounce back and hit you in the face?
So I asked my 20-something friends to revisit their dark, dismal, skanky college days: Did they even have condom anxiety? I got a resounding, "Uh, what the fuck are you talking about?" from all the guys I talked to, all of them saying how if you're a dude and you have any opportunity to get laid, you're going for it. When I pressed one gentleman on my whole "old-condom-in-the-wallet" theory, he blew my mind in telling me that no guy actually carries condoms in his wallet. "You're either going back to her place or yours. You keep your condoms at home." One male friend shared a tale about "a guy he knew" who "used duct tape after telling a girl he was using a condom but didn't have one so he duct taped his dick and then had sex with her...He said it wasn't what you'd call a passionate session of love making, more like 100-meter dash without any clear winner. So that might have been why the girl didn't quite realize she was having sex with a guy who's dick was wrapped in duct tape."
While most the women I spoke with shared that their condom-using days were few and far between ("I asked him to get tested, he did, we never used condoms again," said one), one friend offered the following handy list of "Condoms I Do Not Trust":
Bullet shaped condoms (i.e. the long narrow ones from planned parenthood)'*; 'novelty condoms' — sounds like screwing a clown, condoms that smell like fruit see also; novelty condom; condoms that have any function asides from keeping me Not Preggers (i.e. glowing in the dark) see also; novelty condom; condoms procured from the depths of a messenger bag; faded or warm condoms pulled from pockets or wallets; condoms distributed at mass gatherings; condoms distributed by anyone with an airquoted nickname like Nick "Baby Batter" Jones, Tim "The Spermanator" Chang, Tobias "The Impregnator" Wharton.Then a gay man threw in his two cents: "Women shouldn't trust a guy's condom because if he's a loser and carries one around in his pocket or wallet waiting for that special moment with that special girl, you don't know how old it is or if it's been so beat up in the wallet (look at what a crisp 20 dollar bill looks like after an hour in a guys wallet) — the condom could very well be damaged. Keep a stash of your own."
Then I was offered this cautionary tale, from another female freind: "A threesome in Italy. This waiter and his roommate. They both pull out Italian condoms from their wallets. I said (In Italian),'"Do you have an American condom?' They laughed. So I laughed. Maybe I said something funny in Italian. 6 weeks later when I couldn't hold anything down and I missed my period I wasn't laughing. " Note to self: Always travel with Trojans.