I admit it; I still get embarrassed buying condoms. Is there anything more awkward to purchase? Probably. But I can’t think of what. I’d rather buy laxatives. Something about placing this very personal item in front of a cashier turns me into a teenager again.
In fact, I’ve employed the same approach since I first had a use for them (*wink wink*). Buy other things, too and no one will notice. I remember my first condom purchase. I bought a small box of condoms and a huge box of Mike and Ikes. Well played, nineteen-year-old Kim.
I got smarter over time, adding more and more items to my cart before paying. The last time I bought them, the total came to about $70. I went to CVS only needing birth control and I walked out with greeting cards, mascara, a seltzer, Band-Aids, Children’s Motrin, markers, and a pack of condoms.
As I stood in line, I studied the scenarios. There were two cashiers, a sixty-something-year-old woman and a teenage boy. My preference, which should go without saying, was the woman, but of course, her current customer had a cart full of stuff and a hand full of coupons. (Who uses a cart at CVS? Seriously.) The customer in front of the teenager was being handed his receipt. Dammit.
Maybe I imagined it, but the boy seemed to examine everything I was buying before placing it into a plastic bag. He didn’t open the Birthday cards, but he checked out which flavor seltzer I favored and the pattern on the Band-Aids (Toy Story, obvi). The box of condoms was strategically placed underneath my greeting cards (so other shoppers wouldn’t see them in my basket), making it one of the last items to be rang up.
I swear I saw him smirk. My face heated and I stared at the card swiping machine, willing it to process faster. It seemed to move slower than usual as it prompted me to answer a gazillion questions. Yes, the total is correct. Yes, charge everything to one card. No, I do not want cash back. Yes, I want to die right now.
I had my son in a stroller so clearly family planning is important to me. And I long since passed the age (and marital status) where being sexually active is appropriate (although I’m still buying Toy Story Band Aids). Plus, at this stage in my life, I just shouldn’t care. Maybe I do, because buying condoms can prompt so many questions: Who is this woman sleeping with? Is she cheating on her husband? How quickly is she going to go through this box? Was that baby a mistake? Is she buying these for someone else?
There’s something scandalous about it. When you buy laxatives, the simple logical conclusion is that someone doesn’t have enough fiber in her diet. Cut back on the cheese, Woman.
Maybe I’m just a prude. Either way, next time I’m going to see if Amazon sells condoms and save myself the embarrassment.