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Let me preface this post by saying, I used to be on birth control. In fact, I've been on many different types, but most recently I took Yaz. Guys, I was having a full-blown period every other week. I couldn't stand it. So, I'm not on Yaz anymore. In fact, I'm not on anything.
This week, we used our last condom. Now, I'm not normally the condom-buyer around here, but Mr. Hull has been busy with work and I didn't really want to bother him just so that later on I could "bother" him, if you know what I mean. I had some shopping to do anyway, so I thought I might as well just buy a box.
Do you know I went to three stores over the course of two days and could not find the condom aisle? Seriously. Two different Krogers and a Walmart. Okay, the Walmart was in the crappier part of town, so it shouldn't have been much of a surprise that they didn't have them out on a shelf in the mis-labeled "family planning" aisle. But, still, the Krogers locations didn't have any out either. I couldn't even find a place where they should go, so it isn't like everyone in Roanoke suddenly got all horny and everything. They just weren't there.
Do you think I stood in line to ask the pharmacist for a pack of condoms? Hell no. The line was too full of old people picking up their many prescriptions (throw a pack of condoms in there too, why don'tcha). Or, maybe they really were there for the condoms. I don't know. I didn't wait to see. I was toting around a squirmy toddler who wouldn't stay in the buggy, wouldn't hold my hand, and wouldn't stand beside me in the store. Maybe I should have gotten in the line anyway. The cashier would have chucked a case of condoms at me.
So, after going to three stores in two days looking for the all-elusive condom, I returned home with none. Mr. Hull hasn't gotten any, either. I feel frustrated that I can't just walk into the store and purchase such a simple, but needed, item. I have to wonder what the average fifteen-year-old would do when faced with a similar situation. I imagine that he or she would simply give up, and then have sex anyway. Kinda like what I might do. Is that the answer? No, I don't think so.
I used to feel like parents who gave their kids condoms were weird, but my feelings have changed. If my children should ever decide to [gasp] have the sex, I don't want them to go to one store and give up. I can't control the merchandisers, but I can control what goes on in my own home. I now kind of understand why some parents would have a bowl of the things just sitting out in the entrance way. That is much easier for a teen or young adult to access than the condoms that sit in the bowels of the pharmacy, on a dark, dusty shelf, where even a semi-mature adult must jump many pointless hurdles in order to gain access to the goods.
And, it isn't just about the pregnancy thing, either. Whether a girl is on birth control or not, she needs to learn to use a condom, and then have access to them. Just yesterday, I was catching up on an episode of Project Runway and was stunned when Mondo revealed that he had been living with AIDS for ten years. Ten. Years. What the hell? He was only 22 when he contracted it. Now, that's some scary stuff.
When I was a teenager taking sex ed in middle and high school, we were told to use some means of birth control. We were informed of condoms and spermicides and the pill and such. But, we weren't told that, even if we were on the pill, we should still use a condom because of all the nasty funk we could catch from our partners. When my doctor first started giving me the depo shot, he didn't warn me to continue using condoms, even though I wasn't married. My mother has never uttered the word "condom" in her entire life, I don't think. We need to be talking about this more. We need to keep ourselves from becoming so lax concerning the sex lives of teenagers. We don't need to put teen moms on a pedestal, we just need to give them the education and support they need. But, most of all, we need to make sure that the all-important male condom is readily available to every single person who should wish to purchase it, without having to wait in line behind a bunch of old geezers (who, in all honesty, need the condoms, too).