The lapse of luxury

"It is bitter to have loved and lost than never to laugh it off," Bamuall Subtler

Saturday, April 22, 2006

just ad vice & serve


Majorities, are always opressive, moral or otherwise. Only the most single-minded narcissist can resist trying to appear the same as everyone else. As a consumer I feel my choices both endorse the products as well as the packaging, and all the images and language and values which appear on the box.

So, a self-identified gay man, yours truly, such as myself, using the royal we, feels creeped out buying a pack of condoms. More creeped out than a straight man. Still more creeped out than a straight woman. We all know the basic yuck feeling - like parading underthings before strangers. All but one brand of condom had heterotic foreplay on their covers. But I wonder, "Will these condoms stand up to the rigours of butt fucking?" Couldn't the package have a little politically correct sticker after-thought: "Fits fags fabulously!"

The non-orientation specific brand is Lifestyles, a euphemism for sodomy, debauchery or some other revisionist post-Darwinian strategy. But it's also the most generic, non-descript, and CHEAPEST brand. Clearly, if I want to make a statement through purchasing, this was my only choice. But I also felt like I was buying myself short, going for the non-L'Oreal; somehow I wasn't worth it. Am I getting too worked up about nothing? Hard to know, for fags like me, self-esteem issues pop up with an unhealthy regularity while cruising the aisles at a drug store, or checking out the cashiers, or watching the cashiers look wryly at my brand loyalties.


But I can't, won't buy a "straight" condom! They have such oxymoronic names. Trojan sounds like an stealth vessel, once inside enemy camp opening to release gazillions of sperm warriers. Sheik is a placating name to the injured stud whose harem is more like a glue factory waiting room.

The only solution is a slew of new brands, celebrating the sexual freedom afforded by the condom, springing from their packages upon all the willing, the able and the enabled. Bestsellers would include The Hard's Ease, Without a Trace, Kiss with a Seal or the licentious No Holes Barred.

Finally, I don't have any advice for the unbranded. If you get lucky, just grab what you can. A real man will take the wrap.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous picture wary said...

So my response isn't about branding. Naw, it just reminded me of my drugstore days. You see I was a drugstore cashier in high school. I had no issues with my body back then, but also never needed to buy anything that embarrassed me. I knew that people's bodies needed stuff from the store but I didn't really take note of anything that people brought up to the counter, unless they were embarrassed.

Then they stood out. 25 years later, I still remember them.

There was the guy who couldn't physically touch a box of menstrual pads for his wife, let alone ask for them by name. He has his request on a piece of paper. He made me get them and put them in a bag before paying. All with little to no eye contact. The 20ish guy who bought skin mags, but tried to only show me the price. I don't think he realized how much attention he drew to himself by trying to cover up the scantily woman on the front with his well manicured hands. I also don't think he understood that I was the one who unpacked the magazine order every Friday night, and that his Playboy was tame compared to Blueboy and Oui. And the woman who looking for a douche bag. She wouldn't tell me what she was looking and kept asking if there was someone else she could talk to. I told her there was a pharmacist in the back, but she said that she couldn't ask a man. I only remember these people because they made such an issue out of what they were buying.

Fast forward to a 30 something art school lesbian in a drugstore. Yes, I was looking quite dyke-y then in my ball cap, plaid jacket and work boots. Yes, I now got embarassed now and then about stuff. Yes, I was buying a very large tub of Vaseline and a box of Latex gloves. Yes, I was creeped out. And yes, I wanted to announce that I knew that Vaseline was not a good lubricant and that these supplies were for my casting project, but I didn't want to draw attention to myself.

6:33 p.m.  
Blogger Reid said...

You sure outdid me in the Drugstore Embarassment Story Department. These awkward moments are also opportunities for us to be wildly theatrical. We should know that the employees should be embarassed for a change.

Love your writing. If you've got a blog, please let me know about it. You can email me privately if you feel shy.

9:44 p.m.  

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