Mary’s Bedroom Etiquette

by Mary McMahon

Originally published 1994, in the Weekly Synthesis Issue 1.

Condom etiquette. It’s kinda a contradiction of terms, and yet…and yet it’s this area of non-discussion which only end-results in awkwardness and mystery.

Permit me to elaborate…

OK, you and your significant (or insignificant) other are getting ready to hump and desiring the protective protectiveness of a latex sheath. You both soberly agree to incorporate a condom into your sex play. The condom is sitting patiently by the bedside, on the nightstand, waiting to be of some assistance, so one of you reaches for it, and tenderly and lovingly puts it on. The director then yells cut, the costume and makeup people rush in…

Back to reality. You’re with a person you’ve met three hours ago at a club. You can barely walk, but you’re prepared to engage in a sport that can potentially spawn a human life. You’re macking. Bumping. Grinding. You are hot. You are horny. You are good to go. Panties are on the floor. Genitals touching. And then a thought reaches your lust filled brain: Who the Hell am I about to fuck?

So you say:

“Woman, don’t touch me with that thing, I don’t know where you’ve been.”


“Listen dude, do not even think of poking me with that potentially disease-filled thing.”

But this is hardly pillow talk. Think about it though, if you dropped your sandwich on the sidewalk, would you feel secure in sticking it in your mouth? So why would you mix naked body parts that have an ambiguous past?

Enter Jane Condom. And I hate the word condom. It sounds like Tom Tom, and when I’m in the mood, thinking of Native American percussion instruments is just not all that.

Anyway, so you stop what you’re doing and make “The Great Condom Bounty Hunt.” Dresser drawers full of clothing are being overturned. Closets are being ransacked. Underneath the bed is being explored like never before. All while mumbling, “I know I’ve got one here somewhere.”

And finally, success. Pinned to the bulletin board between a parking ticket and a signed picture of Darth Vader is a Trojan (the gift horse filled with countless enemies, what a great name for a condom).

So He asks She to put it on for him. She puts it on. Backwards. He takes it off and expertly puts it… backwards. Ain’t sex beautiful?

The condom’s on. Sex is happening. Sex has happened… Now comes the fun part: taking it off and disposing of the condom.

I swear, as God as my witness, some of my lovers have been magicians ‘cuz they made them disappear. I would search my room after they left, looking in my sheets, checking the window sill, peering in my shoes, netting through my aquarium, and all to no avail because the condom (Tom Tom) was gone. Perhaps while I wasn’t looking they popped them into their mouths and swallowed them.

All I know is that I’d be impressed if, after a good roll in the carpet, the boy I was with ripped the condom off himself while looking deep into my eyes, and holding the used rubber package between his finger and thumb, shot it up to the ceiling so that it stuck up there with suction. I think that would be pretty cool. Almost artistic.

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