Lima Al-Azzeh

Sex Ed. And the City

In Cultural Anomalies on March 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I was out the other night with my non-boyfriend boyfriend David. A wonderful human being whose company offers me just the right amounts of genius and crazy. He humours my delusions and satiates my need for off-hand, witty reparté and in turn I exude genuine exclamations of glee in reaction to his jokes and musings. I believe we also do a lot for one another in the way of ego-boosting.

David has a unique ability to delight in both the typical and the extraordinary. As such our most mundane excursions (going for coffee, picking up items at the drugstore) lend themselves to ridiculous and often hilarious situations.

The other night, on a beautifully crisp Vancouver evening, I accompanied David to the drug store. I remembered that I needed some mascara, and he had to pick up some intimate items in preparation for entertaining a lady friend who was going to visit him later that evening.

It was a routine endeavour, and we didn’t think much of it. He followed me down the long make-up aisle as I scrutinized packages to find my ideal eyelash enhancer. He delighted in watching me figure out what my specific eyelash needs are and I enjoyed providing him with a tiny insight into the pains of being a female. Lucky for him, I’m one of those decisive girls who understands what she wants from her cosmetics and doesn’t mill too much about hmming and hawwing over minute details.

We then waltzed over to the family planning aisle in order for David to procure his necessary lady-entertaining items which included a pack of condoms, some lube, and of course soap. We experienced a little role reversal here as David attempted to explain to me the minute differences in condom choices and their impact on a man’s life.

For example, never buy condoms in a value-pack. No girl wants to be with a guy who looks like he needs that many condoms and worse yet, enjoys getting them cheap. When it comes to condoms, there’s nothing sexy about buying in bulk.

Duly noted.

After our mini-lesson we headed to the checkout aisle to pay for said items. Neither of us had thought anything of this, nor did we experience any sense of anxieties over purchasing these items. We’re both adults and a trip to the drugstore to buy socially responsible items should never be something that is embarrassing or taboo.

I went ahead first, chit chatting with the lovely middle-aged lady behind the counter, successfully exchanging cash for mascara. Then it was David’s turn. All was well. David and I were chatting about something completely unrelated to the things he was buying and as the conversation lulled to allow for the transaction of cash for goods, the middle aged lady suddenly proclaims, “Don’t worry I won’t tell anybody!” with a fairly large Cheshire-cat type grin making its way across her face.

Here, she betrayed herself. In making a cheeky, joking comment about our purchase, the middle-aged lady clearly showed her discomfort at the situation and turned an otherwise mundane errand into a cause for social anxiety.

However, it wasn’t that she made a comment about the condoms, lube and soap that bothered me so much, it was the assumption that the items that David had purchased were somehow going to be used with me. It was an affront to the platonic nature of our friendship. Here we are supporting one another, myself supporting David’s natural male inclinations to purchase protection, himself supporting my natural female inclinations to purchase mascara, and here is this woman making a mockery of it all.

I kindly and patiently explained to the lady that these items were not purchased with me in mind, but were bought with the intention of entertaining another lady friend. She looked a little surprised. She was likely expecting me to blush, perhaps apologize quietly or even bashfully thank her for not revealing us to the rest of the customers and Shoppers Drug Mart workers. She wore a face that said, “Do platonic friends really go out and buy condoms together?”

To which my face answered, “Yes. Yes they do.”

It dawned on me that we officially belong to a generation where two platonic friends will gladly accompany one another to a drug store and help one another buy socially responsible items. It is not uncommon, nor embarrassing, but accepted as a fact of life. It’s a little strange to share this world with others from a former generation where condoms were not spoken about publicly and the only real lessons taught regarding safe-sex heavily featured abstinence and/or custom-made chastity belts.

I’m quite happy we’ve made it so far. The world could use a little more social responsibility and far less social anxiety.

  1. We also live in a day and age where platonic friends will tend to blend the boundaries to lovers and back. It’s a grey area… at the best of times.

  2. Great story! Well put my dear, well put!

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