When going out to buy condoms, men act like it’s a bomb they’re going to come into contact with. We dress heavily and put on dark sunglasses and Godfather caps and shoes made in Venezuela because buying a condom is no regular activity. The photo I’ve used for this piece is an example of the heavily guarded camouflage a man has to be under to safely walk into a shop and buy a condom (We can’t even call it a condom at a shop, we mumble ‘CD’ with a voice that sounds like your pastor’s) Buying a condom is War; Sparta. Buying a condom is not like buying a pair of happy socks; you don’t hold it up to the light to see if the stripes properly bring out your skin tone. Buying a condom is like banging an ugly mami; you do it in pitch darkness, with nobody in sight. Except, maybe crickets.
People – especially old folks – look at you funny when you walk up to the counter at your local store and say “Can I have a packet of Trust Condoms, please.” They move away from you like you just confessed to carrying the world’s deadliest disease. Their eyes enlarged and noses pump up and ears become sharper and lips become round like the butt-hole of an over-fed cat. They look at you like you’re an animal that doesn’t deserve to have sex. Like you have hot air where your genitals should be. Buying condoms in front of wazees, especially old women, is a cardinal sin on it’s own. Because they will look at you from under their old wretched glasses with that look of, “May the Good Lord forgive you, son. Come back to the righteous path.” Some of them will even smack you across the face, then invoke the holy spirit on your sinful ass.
Personally, I buy my condoms from an empty store. If there’s anyone in there – save for the store owner – I’m not buying jack. If I have to buy anything, I’ll buy a spoon. Ain’t nobody buying a condom in front of all those judgy eyes. Most of the time I don’t even buy my condoms from the store in the hood. Because, sometimes, you bump into your nosy neighbor in there just as you’re being handed your condoms and then the hood theme song for that evening becomes, “Ian is having sex today.” And then everybody will make sure they’re still awake when the mami shows up so they can laugh at the lamb as she walks into the slaughter house. And that becomes really confusing when you’re also trying to bang the Caretaker’s daughter to avoid paying rent.
Alafu, guys, have you ever noticed that men never buy just condoms alone at the supermarket? You’ll have men coming up to the cashier with, “air freshener and condoms”, “bread and condoms”, “a bulb and condoms”, “tomato sauce and condoms”, “two packets of milk and condoms.” It’s ridiculous.
But then I ran into this lady at Nakumatt – Moi Avenue – the other day.
She had massive mazgwembe and was in flat shoes and leopard print trousers (1. They still make those? 2. Can we take them back there?) and a decent blue top that went down to her knees and had on earrings the size of Moses Kuria’s head. She looked like those ladies who would cause a ruckus at the club if her man tossed a compliment at her workmate.
I’m standing behind her with my Lucozade and packet of gum and ego and she’s on the phone – a sleek Huawei P7 with a surprisingly really ugly cover – talking to someone she keeps telling “Nakam” but seems just a tad too impatient so she hangs up and puts the phone back in her purse. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Running late on cooking for the hubby, aye? I’m sure he’ll understand. We, men, can be such crybabies sometimes but I’m sure yours is a sport.” She looked at me head to toe, rolled her eyes, flipped her weave and said, “Mind your business.” And I remember thinking, “This one is definitely from Kisumu.”
Almost immediately, the cashier finished serving the person ahead of her and guess what her purchase was? Three packets of Rough Rider Condoms. Nothing else. Just those three beauties. The cashier looked up at her and I can almost swear I saw a slight grin on her – the cashier’s – face. But No! Miss-Kisumu-Attitude-Of-The-Year here just she stood there unmoved, waiting to be served, relaxed as a crocodile in water. She didn’t flinch, smile, or look at anyone weirdly. She just asked how much her purchase was, paid, received her change, picked up her goods and strolled out of the building. Walking like a billion bucks and shit.
Honestly, even with her rotten attitude and her even more rotten weave, I admired that lady. Even with her ugly phone cover and depressingly disgusting leopard print trouser, I still admired that lady. Because that’s a lady who knows what she wants and goes for it, head on. I admired her because she didn’t give two craps about how anyone else in there was looking at her. She went in there to get herself some Condoms, so she got herself some bloody Condoms. Fuck everyone – and anything – else.
Ladies, know this, you’re entitled to sex every once in a while. Safe mind blowing sex. So if the man keeps forgetting the condoms each time he comes over, go out and get them yourself.
Just leave your attitudes and ugly phone covers and leopard print trousers at home. In the trash can.