If you are close to my age, 74, and can remember your teenage years and maybe a little afterwards, this will not be new to you. From the time I was about 15, I carried a condom in my wallet. I am not sure how I knew that I should do that, but it became something that most of my friends did. I am not sure how long it remained there, unused and becoming something other than rubbery, but it was in my wallet for a long time.
If you went to a pharmacy to buy one, you had a choice of three- Sheiks, Ramsey’s and Trojans. You had to ask the person behind the counter (sometimes that was even me when I worked at a pharmacy) for the condoms. It was always an embarrassing situation, as it was with women who were buying Kotex in plain brown wrappers.
You had to approach the counter with you head down and speak in a lower register and ask, “Can I have a pack of Trojans?” The person behind the counter would always smirk or even say something wise (in those years that meant snotty). He (and it was always a he) would shout out something like, “Did I hear you correctly, did you want a pack of Trojans?” By that time I was as small as a mouse and just had enough breath in me to say, “Yes.”
If you had an older friend, in the late 50’s you could get them to buy you one from a machine in their bathroom at college. Those would come out, for a quarter, in a college crested package; with Latin words on it like, “Serafanun Banum Protaginatorum Con Cranum,” which loosely translated into “Use your brains.”
There was always the chance that your condom would develop some pin sized hole in it. So, there came a time when you became one of the “Better safe than sorry” boys or you two condoms in your wallet. That was not such a great idea. Wallets were then pretty thin (later they got fatter) and it would be annoying to take out your wallet to pay for something and have one of the condoms drop out.
What exactly were the condoms used for. In my memory, they were used to express your manhood and your experience with women. Really sharp guys insisted that women had condoms for your use. Since there were no birth control pills, a prophylactic device was needed. You could even show it to a girl and impress her that you were a gentleman and had no intention of getting her pregnant and no intention of actually going to bed with her. It was just a badge of honor.
Not sure what the modern teen is doing. Sounds like they are totally disinterested in birth control of any sort. Haven’t checked with my grandchildren (the 17 year old one) to see if he carries such a protective device in his wallet. Since the whole world has changed since the 1950’s, I assume that he doesn’t.

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