Over the weekend I had my fifth date with a lovely young lady I'd been seeing over the past few weeks. I actually liked her, and I was pretty sure the feeling was mutual. There'd been some minor physical contact on earlier dates, but it was all above the belt. Strictly ninth grade stuff. At my age, that type of contact feels kind of like finding a dollar in the street. Yeah, it's nice, but it's only a dollar. And what can you buy for a buck?...
Ironically enough, more than I remembered.
During our pre-Date 5 conversation, there was a discussion of condoms. I was to bring them. It was perfect timing. I was going to see my parents the next day after the conversation, and the National Wholesale Liquidators near them was still selling condoms for ninety-nine cents. (Or so my father likes to remind me whenever we speak, followed by his requisite comment: "Is that a good deal? I don't know from these things.")
I never made it out to see my parents, though, and was forced to pay Duane Reade prices. It was like $7.99 for a 3 pack, which seemed a bit excessive. I started doing the "per-unit cost" math in my head, and wondered if it was worth it. They were running a sale on Trojan Magnums that was a much better value, but I was afraid I'd slip out of them like a little kid wearing his father's shoes. I sucked it up and handed a twenty to the cashier who asked me if I had a Duane Reade card. "Will having one save me any money?," I asked. "Not on this item," she replied, like I was wasting her time. "I don't have one," I told her, and said nothing more. I took my change, and let her get back to the important business of staring at the wall in front of her until her shift was over.
So with the prophylactics in my pocket, and the Chinese food I picked up in hand, I headed over to the young woman's place. We ate, and then got down to business.
"You have condoms, right?" she asked.
"You know it," I said triumphantly, as I busted out the box. "You owe me four bucks by the way," I continued with a straight face.
"Huh?, " she said, as she looked at the box.
"I'm just kidding," I replied, trying to get the proceedings going again.
"Oh, shit. These are latex. I forgot to tell you I'm allergic," she said, as I was almost about to model one.
Playing stupid, I responded, "Do they even make non-latex?," knowing full well that I was going to be forced back into the freezing cold, frustrated, and on my way to being at least another $7.99 poorer.
"Yes," she told me. "Just run to the Duane Reade on the corner. They have them. Go to the back, make a right by the pharmacy. They're on the top shelf."
So back I went out into the arctic weather, feeling like the time when I was 14, and I had to get 2 haircuts in one day because the first barber gave me a haircut so ridiculous that kids with batman haircuts were laughing at me. So there I was in yet another Duane Reade, looking for non-latex condoms. Out of the selection of 20 or so varieties, there was one non-latex 3 pack. As I walked up to the counter to pay for it, I read the back of the box, and immediately stopped in my tracks. It read:
"The risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS are not known for this condom. A study is being done."
NOT KNOWN?, I thought. What the hell does that mean? Why even bother wearing this thing then? I'd feel just as secure wrapping seran wrap around my shvantz...and I can get 500 square feet of that shit for like $1.99. I started to think how this woman knew EXACTLY where to find these things, and that her intimate familiarity with Duane Reade's condom section probably didn't make her a great candidate with whom to use a rubber whose efficacy is "Not Known." If a study was in fact being done, I'd wait for the results to come in before using one on Duane Reade's reigning Condom Customer of the Year.
I called her from the store, and explained my hesitancy to use what essentially amounted to lubricated balloons. "They're fine," she said. "I use them all the time," her comment making me want to wait for the results of that study even more.
"Is using latex that big of a deal?," I said, hoping she'd say "no."
"I'M ALLERGIC TO LATEX!," she shouted.
"Well, I'm allergic to syphilis," I responded in a semi-joking tone. But the attempt at lightening the mood was not appreciated - not that I could blame her, given the implication of my statement.
"EXCUSE ME?! THEN DON'T BOTHER!," she said angrily, and hung up.
I tried calling back three times, but she voice mailed me each time. When I got home, there was an email waiting for me from her. The word "asshole" was used a number of times, and I was asked not to call her ever again.
I'm sure I could've handled what happened in a more productive way, but "Not Known" just ain't good enough for me, even if it is for her. I need to know! Speaking of which, the evening wasn't a total loss. I scanned and emailed my father the receipt for the condoms I did buy so HE can once and for all "know from these things."