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(Written for the April 28, 2009 issue of the Central Florida Future)

As a child I never participated in any Boy Scout organizations, so my parents should be held responsible for teaching me to always be prepared. I leave my home with my keys and my wallet, I keep a pen on my person when applying for jobs, and I carry a condom.

To be honest, I carry a condom all the time, not just when I’m feeling lucky, because one other thing my parents instilled in me was to always protect myself.

Life is full of problems, and most of the time there’s a way to solve them, but one dilemma I’ve yet to work out is where I should carry my condom. One of the first things I ever learned in my grade school sex education classes was not to carry them in my wallet, because the heat, moisture and pressure being placed on the condom can drastically lessen the contraceptive’s effectiveness.

That said, any small, confined place should be considered unsuitable for the transport of condoms. That means I can’t carry it in any of my pockets, my socks, my shoes or even under a hat.

Not long ago I was pondering this age-old dilemma and came to the conclusion that the only safe way for a man to carry a condom is to wear a purse.

I, personally, have no interest in carrying any sort of handbag, but I know many women who do on a daily basis. I’ve come to the conclusion that women should purchase and carry condoms, just like men do.

I am not silly enough to think that all women carry purses, but do happen to be socially aware enough to know that most women do not often carry condoms. Some are concerned with how they might be perceived if others knew that they always had a three-pack of rubbers on them.

Many men perpetuate this taboo by finding fault in a woman who tries to stay safe. There are also those women who simply (and stupidly) assume that their partner will be carrying protection. These are absurd reasons not to stay protected.

A woman shouldn’t care whether carrying a few rubbers makes her look like a hussy when more than 65 million people in America are infected with an STD. A sexually active female should not be naive enough to expect her partner to be packing latex. These aren’t fabricated numbers; they’re statistics provided by the American Social Health Association.

To those who choose to carry protection, regardless of their gender, I commend you. In no way am I asking women to take on the entire responsibility of purchasing and carrying condoms. I’m not trying to turn the tables; I’m just making sure everyone has the proper utensils. I simply cannot accept the idea of someone not carrying condoms, regardless of their gender.

I mentioned earlier that carrying a condom in a wallet isn’t a great idea, but I know that it’s a better idea than not carrying a condom at all.

Women’s excuses for not purchasing and carrying are inadequate, but any excuse given by a man must be far worse. In other words, no matter who you are, don’t be stupid. Find some sort of way to maintain your health and safety.

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