I hear that a pair of shrewd businessmen are planning to market condoms as a vanity item for a lady’s handbag. They argue that if the love-gloves are tastefully packaged no woman will leave home without them. Perhaps they should also emphasize that mere possession does not imply intent to use. The chastest woman on Earth should take pride in promoting the safe-sex message while equipping herself for emergencies. One assumes, nevertheless, that un-opened packets would be replaced well before their “use by” date to avoid ridicule. The well-bred woman must steer a middle course between retaining obsolete rubbers and procuring fresh ones every time she has a tennis lesson.
Speaking as a gorilla, I have every respect for women who keep condoms discreetly about their person. The motto of the brownies is “be prepared”, and even a good girl might find herself tempted by an eager young Adonis who is not quite ready for fatherhood. The first woman I knew who kept condoms in her possession was an acrobat from my circus days. I discovered her secret in the act of doing her a favour – which was to buy her a pack of three while getting something for my ticklish cough.
“Aren’t men supposed to keep those things?” I asked in all innocence before leaving.
“Would you trust a sniper to give his victim a bullet-proof vest?” she replied.
I judged this to be a rhetorical question of the kind that Jesus used to ask his disciples.
“I shall ponder your profound analogy on my way to the chemist,” I said.
I gather that a lot of men get embarrassed when buying condoms. Being a gorilla, my jungle instincts told me that attack would be the best form of defence. On entering the shop, I looked at the fellow behind the counter and sized him up. He was evidently a smug little twerp who needed to be put in his place.
“A bottle of cough syrup and a packet of your finest willy-wrappers!” I said loudly.
“Yer what?” he replied with an oafish expression on his face.
“Cough syrup and condoms!” I barked impatiently.
“I never knew you gorillas used ‘em!” he remarked wryly.
“We don’t,” I replied. “They are for a lady friend. She likes to put them on her sausages to prevent the juices from escaping when she’s cooking them.”
Perhaps unsure of whether I was speaking figuratively or literally, this statement left him temporarily dumbfounded. He fetched the requested items and placed them on the counter, which prompted me to hand over the cash and take possession of them.
“How hairy is this lady friend of yours?” he asked facetiously as I made my way to the exit.
I turned to give him a scornful glance. “The woman is your sister,” I declared, “and therefore slightly less hairy than a gorilla.”
I should mention here that I don’t generally approve of coarse remarks about a man’s sister. However there are exceptions to every rule. In the film Victor/Victoria, James Garner enters a tavern in a rough area of Paris after the exposure of his affair with a male transvestite (actually a woman played by Julie Andrews). He asks the bartender for a glass of milk. “Cow’s milk or mother’s milk?” replies the latter. “Your sister’s!” retorts Mr Garner, and a massive brawl erupts. Although I had no intention of scrapping with that impudent pharmacist, I wasn’t going to let him have the last word.
On returning to the circus, I found Miss Acrobat and handed over the goods to heartfelt thanks. I sensed she had plans for the evening and could not resist putting the following question to her:
“How does a lady go about asking a gentleman to wear one of her protectors?”
She fluttered her eyelids in humorous affectation. “I ask him if he’d like me to put a condom on him,” she explained. “It’s my way of letting him know that I’m ready for bed.”
I had to agree that even the most imbecilic suitor would find such an overture difficult to misinterpret. I left with the impression that she had much to teach the women of her generation.
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