BiCrushing: Just In Case…

There’s a bit in Nick Hornby’s About A Boy which describes how Will (the implausible trust-funded bachelor played by Hugh Grant in the film adaptation) once volunteered to work in a soup kitchen, and although he never reported for duty, the phone call had allowed him to pretend briefly that he was the kind of guy who might.

In a similar spirit yesterday, I bought two Durex Extra Safe condoms. This week is, according to the stand at the student union where I’m doing my Postgraduate Journalism Diploma, Sexual Health And Guidance week. Since the only moaning and groaning I habitually do is at dodgy acronyms like that, and my idea of “sexual health” is avoiding hopeless crushes that destroy your sanity, you might wonder what this event has to do with me. The simple answer is not a lot. I wandered past, my heart making that ker-plunk noise that it usually makes when I see something that is relevant to my chronological age of 22 but not my emotional age, which is one of 35 or 12 (see also: mini-skirts, financial services for high-flying graduates). A deranged thought process took over from there, whereby I suspended my imagination enough to believe that I might ever need condoms, and went to put two quid into the machine in the ladies loos. Well, I suppose if you haven’t got and don’t anticipate having, many windows of opportunity to sleep with somebody you care about, you’re damn well not going to get caught unprepared when there is one, are you? Or maybe it’s like asking someone for an autograph: if you’ve got a piece of paper handy it’s more difficult for them to refuse.

The machine gave me a choice between Extra Pleasure and Extra Safe. The fact that a) Much Pleasure At All would still beat my last sexual experience, b) any man I’ve ever spoken to wants babies about as much as he wants rabies and c) I’m not particularly well-disposed to child-rearing just now either, meant I went for the latter. Machine would not vend despite insistently frustrated M/F demands: tragically appropriate metaphor number one. Tired brain had mis-followed the machine instructions: tragically appropriate metaphor number two. But me and my brain got there in the end, and out popped a packet. I opened it to put the contents in a discreet compartment of my purse: the information leaflet looked like a folded Dissertation. My fear that it’s been so long since I last read one of these through that they’ve actually changed the instructions and condoms are now supposed to go below your eyes or be threaded through your ankles turned out to be misplaced: it’s the same couple of paragraphs, only in ten different languages. Phew.

While it’s not difficult to argue that buying condoms is a more productive use of free time than, say, writing public web logs about your desire to sleep with a plethora of straight female journalists and media personalities for everyone on your journalism course to read and laugh at, it could be argued that it isn’t that much more productive than that, in that it presumes, incorrectly, that any of the men you currently want to sleep with are going to let you either (There are, mind you, enough men who want to sleep with me that I wouldn’t oblige if my life depended on it: if there are boot-sized condoms that protect the steel on your toecaps when you kick unwanted suitors to the kerb, bring me a box…)

“Hold it there!” you cry. “Enough prattling about men and condoms already! As a columnist for an edgy bisexual publication, don’t you feel obliged to remind everyone that sexual health is as important for women in same-sex relationships as opposite-sex ones? Why yes, the importance of clean and clipped fingernails is not to be overlooked, and when I’ve found an attractive, childless media darling who wants me to do more than fetch her lunch and file her copy, I’ll be sure to return to the subject with due gusto…

Let us leave it at this: men, you’ve got till November 2009 before the condoms expire. Women, just do your thing, and we can use the condoms as washing up gloves when we clear dinner away….