Condom Conundrum

I was tossing around some ideas for a story the other day and I bounced a question off of my co-worker, Kenneth. He’s 25, an alpha male, dating happily, and regularly appears at my cube to shoot the shit. I go to him when I need quick male perspective on any matter of issues that involve sex and relationships and can’t wait for reply e-mails or phone calls from men outside the office.
“So,” I began. “What do you think of a woman who carries a condom in her purse?”

The answer I was expecting was something along the lines of, “We’re grown. I expect her to.” I mean the HIV rate among Black folks, Black women especially, is insane. Fucking insane! (Blacks make up 13% of the U.S. population and are 50% of HIV diagnoses.) I think we should all be expected to arrive at any sexual encounter or the potential of such prepared to protect ourselves. Real talk: no dick is worth dying over.

Kenneth sneered. “Ugh!” he blurted. Then told me the story of a woman he dated briefly. She was at his house late night, things were about to be on and poppin’. He realized he didn’t have a condom and was all prepared to make a run to the bodega when Shorty spoke up.

“That’s okay,” she offered. “I do.” And then she reached for her purse. This is what I call being responsible and I applauded her smarts.

Kenneth had an entirely different take on the scenario. “What kind of woman carries around condoms? Like how often is she having unexpected sex?” He immediately lost interest in Shorty, and soon after, without intercourse taking place, he asked the young lady to leave his home.

I took the question to the menfolk I keep on e-blast to supply more male perspective. I had to know the reigning consensus on this matter. Was Kenneth’s outlook unique?

I presented them with Kenneth’s scenario. First time with a new woman at your house, you don’t have a condom and she offers one up. What do you think? Turns out, they understood Kenneth’s reaction, though they wouldn’t necessarily have deaded the evening.

The menfolk were all cool with one condom in the purse and agreed it reflected the woman’s responsibility level (though a woman doe not lose “points” for not having one.)
“I would think she was grown about her shit,” one gentleman said. “And I’d see it as an ego boost like oh, she was prepared for me.”

However, each man without any prompting, added that more than one condom in the purse was an ominous sign. Breaking out a three-pack or offering him a variety of choices (ribbed, extra-lube, extra large, etc.) is a no-no, according to them. One said: “I see that and think, ‘do you plan on fucking unexpectedly often? How many unplanned sexual encounters are you having?'”

Another added: “A variety of condoms makes you look like a promiscuous woman and no man wants his woman to be promiscuous. I’d probably have sex with [her]. But I would reserve any type of emotional attachment.” He acknowledged after he said this that he knew it was a double standard. “You’re right. It’s not right, but women get free dinner so deal with it.”

The limit on the number of condoms in a woman’s possession apparently doesn’t apply to just those kept in her Gucci bag. The limitation applies to her Goodie Drawer too. (You know, the one where grown folks keep their toys, and lubes, and such?) I thought it could be seen as considerate and prepared for a woman to give a man some latex options. Maybe she’d luck out and have a brand he prefers?

Bad idea. Very bad idea.

More than a three-pack of condoms in her stash and the man she’s about to envelop might be thrown off. Too many condoms imply a lot of sexual encounters evidently and, as we’ve discovered, that’s not a good sign if she’s looking for a man instead of a jump-jump. Overwhelmingly, the gentlemen said they’d think the woman was a freak. “I’m immediately wondering how many men have been in this bed,” one man said.

Another added: “That says to me that she’s stroking more than Clarence Carter. I’m thinking I might not want to see the inside of her.”

The same man flipped the scenario on me: “If you were at my house and saw condoms galore, you’d think ‘what the fuck is that, right?'”


One more gentleman suggested the best way to avoid the headache of sending the wrong signals to her suitor was to just not let him see what’s in the drawer. You reach in (not him), pull out a condom (separate, do NOT pull out the whole panel of them) and get it on. “The drawer should be a mystery,” he added. “Men like mystery.”

Finally, I wondered what not having a condom in the house implied, so I asked. The men were confused. “No drawer? Everyone over 25 has a drawer!” was the common response. When pressed further, they hypothesized what this could mean as they hadn’t encountered a woman without a drawer in quite some time.

The good: “Perhaps she was in a long term relationship and didn’t use them?”

The bad: “Maybe she just ran out?”

The ugly: “I’m going to have to brush the cobwebs off that sh*t.”



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