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I am not a sex worker. But if I were in DC or NYC or San Francisco, I could be arrested on suspicion of being one. (And yes, I do wear some… provocative outfits sometimes, but that’s not why.)

My longtime boyfriend and I broke up this summer. Once the dust had settled, and I began to brace myself for going back out into the dating scene, I bought myself a little present to help – a cute red vinyl condom case.

As soon as that case came, I filled it with the three condoms it’s designed to hold, zipped it up, and slipped it in my purse. It goes with me everywhere – the grocery store, the office, the post office, the mechanic – not because I expect to get laid in the produce aisle, but because that way I know I’ll always have ’em when I need ’em. It’s a small reminder that the world is full of possibility, and I’m prepared to make the best of it. (And if something should happen to happen over the ripe melons, well, more’s the better.)

But that’s not how the city of Washington, D.C. sees it. In their eyes, I’m not a woman prepared for safe pleasure. I’m a woman who poses a public danger. That’s right: my cherry-red condom case makes me a walking red-light district, because in some areas of D.C., carrying three or more condoms is grounds for arrest on prostitution charges.

Three. Three condoms. If you think there’s a chance you’re getting laid, and you’re sleeping with someone who has a penis, why would you ever pack fewer than three condoms? What if one rips when you take it out of the package? What if you want to do it (*GASP*) twice? Three condoms is not a lot of condoms, people. IMHO, it’s the bare minimum. I once used over a dozen in a particularly memorable weekend. And I still wasn’t a sex worker.

And what if I was? As has been

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