Always Be Prepared

My mom never let me or my brother join scouts (our violin lessons were at the same time as scout meetings) but our friends would parade around in their kerchiefs and sashes, two fingers in the air shouting “always be prepared! That’s the scout’s motto!” This motto was something I clung to, practicing it in every aspect of my life. When I left the house, I always had a couple of bandaids in my backpack, in case I tripped and busted my knees on the asphalt (again) on my way to school. When taking short hikes with friends, I always brought a bottle of water and a granola bar in case we got lost. When I turned eleven and got my first period, I wouldn’t be caught dead without a survival kit of tampons, pads, Advil, and even an emergency pair of clean underwear stashed in a bag or purse at all times.

My freshman year of college, I learned two things. One, to approach each tailgate armed with my own unadulterated flask of Bacardi, as one can never be too careful. Two, to never leave the dorm without my birth control pills in tow. College was full of unexpected experiences, most of them involving alcohol and sex.

After breaking up with my high school boyfriend, I attempted to engage in the magical practice of the one night stand. During my first try, I chickened out and ran away before we even left the frat party, longing for the comforting, familiar warmth of my ex. My second time at bat went a little better, and I made it all the way to his house before faking an emergency text from my roommate. They say the third time’s the charm, and for me, I was definitely feeling the cliche. I was confident, horny, and of course, prepared. I used to be very self-conscious of the presentation of things ~down there~ but I was showered, shaved, delightfully scented, pregnancy-prevented, and by all of my standards, prepared and ready to go.

When we got to his place, things sped up rapidly (as they do when you’re slightly drunk and have been celibate for 6 months) and before I knew it, all of our clothes were on the floor, foreplay had been kind-of achieved and I was ready for this spaceship to take off, if you catch my drift.

Somehow, amid the hot and heavy moans and groans, I responsibly gasped out the question/universal intercourse-initiator our sex-ed teachers have been drilling into our heads since we were in the fifth grade, “Do. You. Have. A. Condom?”

To my utter dismay, my possible penetrator lacked the one thing we needed to get it on.

My immediate response was to berate him for being so irresponsible and not thinking about that before taking me home. As I was frustratingly blue-balling my way out of his house, he shouted after me “Hey, it’s not like you had one either!” For a few days I brushed that statement off and lewdly told my irritating tale to my girlfriends. All were in agreement with me, that it was the dude’s responsibility to have the condoms on hand. After all, us girls had enough to think about with cleaning up ~down there~, taking our birth control, counting the days to our next periods to make sure a rather permanent accident hadn’t occurred. Couldn’t the condom be the one thing guys take care of?

While it does seem, okay it definitely is, fair for women to want to share the responsibility of safe sex with men, I can’t help but feel that practically, this doesn’t work out that well. The truth of the matter is that I was so ready to have sex that night that if I had been prepared with a condom in my clutch, I would have happily fornicated the night away.

It is sometimes frustrating to feel like I always have to be prepared, but I’ve learned that this is just how life is. If I’m ready to deal with a possible skinned knee, why am I not equally prepared for a much more possibly life-altering event like sexual intercourse?

So, my fellow women, it might not seem fair, but hey, if we also arm ourselves with condoms, we’re just breaking down another socially constructed wall between the expectations designated to different genders. It doesn’t make our lives easier, but at least it makes them a little more equal to those of men.

To all my sexually active friends of all genders, take a page from the scouts’ book and always be prepared.

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