Contrary to popular belief, the first time I went condom shopping at a chemist was not the ‘hyped up prep’ for my first time.
It was for an ad shoot for a condom brand I was working on at the time (what were the odds, right?!).
Now imagine the shopkeeper’s embarrassment X 10000000, being thrown condom FAQs one after the other by a girl and in front of his customers (mostly men). Things like ‘What flavours do you have, bhaiya?’, ‘Oh! What makes the dotted different from the ribbed?’
Can you believe my audacity AS A WOMAN?!
Of course I got sheepish smirks by other people around, but I was a woman who was there to do business and GTFO.
Omg, I got back home and went down so many rabbit holes on the internet.
But I didn’t get any answers, at least not the right ones.
‘I get his pleasure, but what about her pleasure?’
‘What are long lasting condoms ‘for him’?’
‘Why is there such a huge bias when it comes to sex?’
In my defense, I was a curious twenty-something who only received Sex ed from misinformed teens at school and the biggest source of confusion: the internet.
I wanted all my questions answered in that 5 minute interaction with the guy selling me condoms, though my own parents never even mentioned the ‘C word’ or the ‘S word’ in front of me, let alone have a conversation about it, while growing up.
In retrospect, I think there was a part of me that wanted to prove a point to the world too. I didn’t want to feel ashamed of what I was asking for and I thought if I went in there really confident, people around me wouldn’t bat an eye, they wouldn’t judge me.
Now that I think about it, I wish I didn’t feel the need to overcompensate for the awkwardness and that it was as normal as buying groceries—in my head too.