The latest in latex: Tropical Treats: Show a colleague a condom and meet the real man
by Patricia Pearson

This article first appeared in the National Post

Some fancy condoms came into the National Post the other day, courtesy of their manufacturer, Durex. The world’s “number one selling brand” appears to be getting inventive. There were fruit-flavoured condoms, condoms disguised as gold coins, extra baggy condoms — meant, I suppose, to match the trend in teens’ pants — and individual condoms in round containers, like powder compacts.

After puzzling over all these gaily coloured boxes, I wondered what I was expected to do. Did Durex want me to take their offerings home? (I would, of course, wind up sticking them in the medicine cabinet behind the children’s Tylenol, muttering to my husband that we really should get the baby out of our bed.) Was I supposed to assign them for review by our in-house critics? Or was Durex merely hoping I’d hand them out to the office men?

Opting for the latter strategy, I discovered an interesting phenomenon. If you present an unsuspecting male with a banana-flavoured prophylactic, his highly alarmed reaction works in inverse relation to his machismo. The more manly, the more frightened. “I’m just going to pretend you didn’t ask that,” one man said curtly, when I enquired after his interest in birth control.

An expression of terror was particularly common, I found, with Durex’s Tropical brand, which comes in three fruit flavours. “Why would you want to taste a condom?” one horrified man asked, as I waved an unwrapped strawberry specimen at him.

I assumed the answer would have something to do with safe sex. Just to be sure, I telephoned Durex. Actually, Toni Peet, the public relations woman told me cheerfully, Durex is marketing Tropical to “anybody who wants more variety in their sex lives.”

Apparently, Durex’ most recent Global Sex Survey discovered “24% of Canadians wanted more adventuresome sex. So,” said Peet, “here’s the answer to their prayers.” Indeed. I imagine the prayer goes something like this:

“Honey, can we please have sex tonight?”

“No way. I’m still mad at you for refusing to do your share of dishes and never once saying you were sorry for letting the baby chew my Joni Mitchell CD.”

“But honey. I’ve got a fruity rubber!”

Of course, my imagination is limited. Herewith, some commentary from the men of the National Post on the new condoms:

1. Comfort condoms: tagged with the explanation “unique larger shape for a better fit.”

“Well, of course, that means they’re targeting them at all men. No man would buy a condom advertising a `unique teeny shape.’ ”

“Maybe you could put it over your head and rob a bank.”

“You could line a waste basket.”

2. Gold condoms: individually packaged in gold, coin-shaped tinfoil.

“Cool! Chocolate money! Can I have some?”

“Hey, this would make a great puck for table hockey.”

“It looks like a medallion. I could wear it around my neck.”

3. Topaz condoms: individually packaged in a thick, circular blue container holding one condom with a plastic ring attached for easier roll-on.

“What are those? Handi-wipes?”

“Look, I don’t know if I want that ring thing. Are you sure that’s how it’s supposed to go on?”

“How would I carry it without anybody noticing the large, round disk in my pocket and asking me what it was?”

“Is it recyclable?”

“This is definitely for married guys.”

© Patricia Pearson, 2001-02