Avoid awkwardness at the checkout counter

Observe condom-buying etiquette to preserve your dignity

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Paying for condoms

Jon Purdy

PRICE CHECK ON...VAGISIL. PRICE CHECK. Follow condom-buying etiquette and keep your cool during any awkward situations at the checkout counter or in the aisles.

There’s an etiquette code everyone needs to acknowledge before venturing into the nearest drugstore to grab sex supplies.

You might think it’s simple: walk into the store, grab your condom brand and leave happily. But it isn’t always simple.

Both common sense and arbitrary rules form the basis of condom-shopping etiquette. It’s a necessary but undervalued aspect of Western culture. Without it, what are we? Simply savages rummaging around for the nearest prophylactic, manners and good graces be damned!

Scout out the store
Some stores are fairly discrete, placing condom rack in the far-back corner or at the end of low traffic aisles. This places you further away from prying eyes and makes choosing your brand less stressful.

Some stores place their wide variety of assorted brands directly across from drugstore mainstays like Tylenol or Advil. This calls for quick action and an awareness of those around you.

Avoid pondering your choice out loud or debating with your lover about who gets more pleasure from that “warming sensation.” Remember, someone’s child might be right behind you.

Don’t act embarrassed
How many times have you seen the awkward guy standing in line trying to hide his giant condom box? Acting awkward only makes the situation awkward for everyone around you.

Don’t make it awkward for the entire store " remember, safe sex is a positive thing and you shouldn’t feel ashamed standing in line to buy love-gloves. Unless they’re for your Dad.

Remember, awkwardness is contagious and so are sexually transmitted infections. Wrap it up.

Keep your cool at the register
“Price check on:..”

Before your heart starts racing, breathe. Hopefully the girl behind the counter isn’t rude enough to broadcast your purchase to the entire store, but if she does, let it be. Smile and take it all in stride. After all, you plan on using these condoms in the near future, right? Right?

The same goes for the cashier who interrogates you about your purchase. Who they’re for, what you’re doing this weekend, how long you’ve been dating, and so on. Cut the conversation short or segue into something boring, like nail files or toilet paper. If they keep jawing, talk to the pharmacist about getting them some Valium.

Know what you’re buying
Don’t be the guy who drops a 12-pack of Trojan Magnums on the counter with a big smirk on his face " unless your head is touching the ceiling or you’re as ripped as dry wallpaper.

What are you trying to prove, anyway? That you can impale someone? Guys overestimating or underestimating their size leads to condoms coming off or ripping during sex. Smarten up boys; you don’t need to impress anyone.

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