For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to buy condoms for Boyfriend (it was part of this box of stuff and it was a thing and I’m not going to explain myself because let’s face it I’m the coolest girlfriend ever). I had never bought condoms before so, coupled with the fact that I have debilitating embarrassment in pretty much any situation, this was a recipe for disaster. When I buy pads/tampons, I get real shifty and red and avoid looking at everyone because oh god what if they find out I’m menstruating! You might as well paint a giant sign on my back that says, “HEY EVERYONE MY VAGINA IS BLEEDING”. So when it came time to buy the condoms, I knew this was going to be a difficult situation and as such I set up a strategy to minimize the amount of blushing I would have to endure. To eliminate the possibility of running into someone I knew, I looked for stores outside the immediate USC area and found a 24-hour Walgreens a good distance away that would allow me to shop for all my contraceptive needs in the middle of the night when no one was around to judge me.
I arrived at the Walgreens at 1 AM on a Monday night. Fun fact: apparently it’s a pastime for people in south LA to do some good ol’ fashioned Walgreens shopping in the middle of the night on Mondays! My plan for isolated shopping thwarted, I shuffled through the aisles trying to a) pretend I was there to buy normal items and b) wondering where the hell the condoms were. Realizing I couldn’t just carry around the condoms lest someone see me, point, and yell “She’s having protected sex tonight, ya’ll!”, I started filling a basket with various items to bury the condoms under. A pack of socks, a bag of snickers, and a bunch of unnecessary Walgreens items later, I began to genuinely start looking for the condoms. It had been a half hour, the crowds weren’t waning, my anxiety was building, and I needed to bite the bullet and get out. With a new determined bounce in my step, I went up and down the aisles…and up and down more, and more, and probably lapped that Walgreens FIFTEEN times and still couldn’t find them. Obviously I would rather shoot myself in the face than ask a store representative “Hey, where can I find condoms? YOU HEARD ME, I’M SEXUALLY ACTIVE” (although there was an awkward moment where I hovered around a store clerk for ten minutes before chickening out and asking where they kept the flashlights). Finally, I pulled out my smart phone and googled “What aisle are the condoms in at Walgreens?” Yahoo’s answer: “bye the vitamins im 15 and having sex lol”. God bless sexually matured fifteen-year-olds who know where to find condoms at a Walgreens.
I bee-lined for the vitamin section, which was right next to the pharmacy…which was packed. What the fuck, people. Get your prescription at a decent hour. By this time it was around 1:45 AM and while I had located the condoms, actually extracting them from the shelf was a whole other story. I “browsed” for a good ten minutes, pretending I was trying to decide between calcium supplements or gummy chews while simultaneously gawking at the vast amounts of flavors/types/brands of condoms offered. All I wanted was one that said “I’m latex like everyone else and you won’t get pregnant or an STD if he puts this on his dick first”. Why can’t they make shopping that easy?! A shopper walked behind me and I gave a sheepish look that I hope conveyed “So awkward these vitamins I want to buy are right next to the condoms. Gross!” but more likely said “I’m super awkward at doing things normal adults can handle.” Finally, I gave one last peripheral sweep and grabbed the nearest box of Trojans (fight on). I stuffed them at the bottom of my basket and zoomed to the checkout, making sure I had a female checker because I didn’t want a guy to scan the barcode on the box while we both thought about my plans for later that night.