She reached out a hand anxiously, her fingers encountering the edge of the bag that stuck out from her purse. Thinking about it made her heart speed up a little and her armpits prickled with nervousness.
Did she pick the right ones?
It was ridiculous, really, when she thought about it. She was old enough that buying a box of condoms shouldn't be a big deal. That didn't make it so. Just getting to the checkout with a box made her long a little bit for a cashier her own age. A woman. Someone who would understand. Not a matronly figure who she would think was raising an eyebrow or who would remind her of her own mother. Most certainly not a guy. It always left her with the question of what a guy would be thinking of her. Did it make him mentally high-five the lucky guy, think she was promiscuous, wonder at her choice?
Of course, when she had reached the checkout earlier it had been a guy who was probably a few years her junior. That had just been the last nail in the coffin of her embarrassment. At that point she had considered just giving up. Maybe mumbling that they were for her friend like she was 16. She had been unable to meet the guy's eye, instead staring down at the counter, wincing at the bright colour of the box, digging out cash and wishing he would just hurry up and put the box in a bag.
He hadn't said anything, hadn't done anything. She was still left wondering if he had imagined her naked, imagined ripping open one of the packets and putting the contents to good use himself. A part of her admitted it would be almost as bad if he hadn't. Was she so unattractive that random guys didn't have random, momentary fantasies about her?
Her hand was back on the steering wheel as she drove back to her apartment. It was the whole process that made her feel awkward, that made her question everything. It was hard not to feel insecure when you realized that you could pick the perfect lipstick, never questioned your choice of shaving cream, knew your brand of pill and tampon, but had absolutely no idea what sort of condoms to buy.
That was where it had all started really. She had been faced with a meter square of options and hadn't had the slightest idea. Just finding something plain was almost a challenge. Then she considered other options. Different brands, different colours, flavours, ribbing. Her pleasure, his pleasure. Size.
It was worse than buying a vibrator. At least doing that she knew what she was looking for. Sure, that was also a situation that made her want to duck and run, but she understood the variables there. Condoms, though... In the abstract, she understood. It wasn't like she'd never had sex with a condom. She'd even gotten some free ones once and decided to open one of the packages and try putting it on a banana - her high school had hardly been liberated enough to give demonstrations of putting on a condom, although they'd discussed it.
Condoms weren't just about preventing STDs and pregnancy anymore though. What would he like? It was going to be their first time. It would if she went through with it. After all that, she was seriously reconsidering. She had no idea if he would find it intriguing if she showed up with a box of specialty condoms. Would it be insulting if she had a box that said "for her pleasure"? She worried he'd take it as an insult, that she was worried he was going to need the help of a condom. Or if she got ones that were "for his pleasure" would he think she was worried about her own abilities?
Then there were the twisted, the ribbed, the studded. Would that seem too kinky?
She knew to stay away from flavoured at least. Yes, condoms tasted unappealing. Yes, the spermicide and lubricant on them were unpleasant. But flavoured lubricant was not really any better. She had thought once that getting cherry lubricant would be fun. After that she'd just bought cherry syrup and improvised.
By the time she got home she was wound into a little knot. Her purse seemed to be glowing neon, like anyone who saw it would know she'd bought condoms. Worse, they would know she'd decided to go with a variety pack. A sign of indecision? Experimentation? She had no idea.
To tell the truth, she had simply decided that he could dig through the damn box and it could be his problem. It was supposed to be anyway. Buying condoms, that is. She was supposed to take care of being on the pill, and it was the guy's job to supply condoms.
The only problem was that she had wanted to be a bit spontaneous. There was something just a little lacking in sending him a text to ask him to bring condoms with him. So she had decided she should have some on hand, just in case. If he brought them on his own then she could decide if she wanted to give him a hard time about being so sure of himself. She could also ignore the box she'd bought and just let him pull out his.
If he didn't bring any, and she did work up the nerve to bring out the box, then at least they would have condoms. Assuming he didn't take one look and laugh. Or get nervous.
Just as she was opening her door she had an awful thought. What if he actually was one of the few guys who needed the "magnum"? She didn't think so, but she wasn't positive. Giggles bubbled up in her throat and she tried to swallow them back. Shit. That would be, well, rather funny. Or possibly quite painful. Thinking about it made her wince just a little.
Dropping her purse on the floor she looked down at it as she tugged off her coat and removed her boots. Well, nothing for it. Opening it up she pulled out the box. Now what? Should she just hide it on her bedside table, unopened? Should she open it and take out one or two? No, that was just odd. That would make him think she was using leftovers. It seemed a bit like having a new guy accidentally discover a picture of an old boyfriend. Unopened then. Or should she open it and just take them out of the box?
At that point she seriously considered opening up one of each kind just to see what they were like.
Looking at her watch she tried to suck in a deep breath, then hurried into the bathroom, then ran back out and into her bedroom. The box got tossed onto the bed, to be dealt with later, then back into the bathroom to brush her teeth, check her hair, fix her makeup.
Back to the bedroom to change her panties, then her bra, then the panties again so they would at least coordinate even if they didn't match. Then something casual on top. She didn't want to seem like she was trying to hard. At least not until he saw her underwear.
Race to the kitchen, skidding around the corner, to make sure the sink was empty, then to the living room to spray some air freshener just to make sure. Then back to the bedroom.
The box was sitting in the middle of her bed, looking a bit forlorn. It was such a little box to cause such a big amount of indecision and discomfort.
Taking a deep breath she opened the box. To hell with this. They were just condoms. More than they were going to need, but she was hopeful there would be a next time. Assuming she could calm down enough.
The buzzer rang for the door and she jumped. Condom packets sprayed across the bed, but she didn't have time. She hurried to the intercom, letting him in. Then she opened her door, then back into the bedroom to try to clean up the condoms. Shove them out of the way.
That was when he came in, calling her name. She froze, looking out of the bedroom in horror. Oh god! This wasn't how the night was supposed to start.
He walked in, saw her, and came closer, tugging a packet from her fingertips. His lips quirked, then he took in the foil squares scattered over the bed and the box that lay sadly as though its ejaculation had been far too premature.
"Well then." He looked at her, waiting. She looked back at him, swallowed, then flushed.
"Drink? I think I could use one." After all that, she just hoped she was going to be able to take her clothes off. And she was definitely thankful that she was not the one who had to get an erection because at that point she was certain she would have had severe performance anxiety.