Until I was 40 I had never bought condoms. Even though I grew up through the AIDS panic, me and my lot were still dicks when it came to rubbers. University was all about the morning after pill and then, when that got too intense, the actual pill because it was so womanly and grown up and then, when we got too fat and insane, the mini pill which had to be taken at the same time every day. Well, that didn’t happen.
Then there were the abortion years. When someone was always accidentally pregnant. Amazingly this coincided with the I-don’t-want-chemicals-in-my-system-pull-out years. There is an old joke:
Question: What do you call people using the rhythm method?
Then babies. Or trying for babies. Or wanting babies. Just babies. Babies, babies, babies. And if we were lucky enough to have babies then sex became rarer and we had too much to think about so we got coils.
But then? The Midult single years. Because sometimes life doesn’t move in a straight line. And, because these days we try, where possible, not to be dicks, the condom years. Because pregnancy would really take some dealing with and everyone seems to have herpes or HPV.
So, to cut a short story long, there I was in Boots, buying Hayfever tablets (is it me or it is really intense this year?) and Durex. The thing ones in the red box. 12 of them. And, where at 25 I would have been MORTIFIED, I genuinely didn’t give a fuck who saw and what they thought. I was thinking about the meeting I was headed to and what to have for dinner and had I put Lenor on the Ocado shop.
And, had I paused to wonder what people thought while the condoms were on the counter and there was a small queue forming behind me and the male cashier asked me if I wanted a bag, I would have felt good about being taking responsibility for my sexual health. Rather than ashamed. And I would have felt good about the old girl having some life in her yet. I may not be enough of a goer to carry them in my handbag. But they (the ones that are left – 9 I think) are in the bathroom cabinet. Tucked away. Raring to go…