Bored one night at age 16, I came up with a brilliantly scandalous idea: to go check out one of the local sex shops with a couple of my friends. And by check out, I actually mean ooooh and aaaah at all of the Kama Sutra brand massage oils that, get this, actually cool and tingle when you blow on them! (How sexy!) and giggle at everything penis shaped.
In this particular store, there was a separate section in the back, I think it had an 18+ warning sign but honestly can’t remember, where they hid all of the intense stuff, like dildos, vibrators, and all of the secrets of sex and everything mysterious in the world. My friend Nathan went back there, and when he told me there were flavored condoms, I knew I had to get some. I mean come on, they were flavored. Flavored things that wrap around penises. I was on a mission.
I told Nathan to go get some from the back so I could buy them. So he went back there again all nonchalant, came back out, handed me the condoms, and I strolled up to the checkout counter ready to go home and brag to all my friends about my new fancy chocolate, banana, and strawberry rubbers.
In my mind I figured it wouldn’t be that big a deal. Were they really paying attention to who went back to that room to get what? I didn’t need to be 18 to buy condoms, right? It’s not like I was trying to buy a vibrator or something crazy, they were just condoms, and I’d already bought some myself at Target before.
“I’m gonna need to see your ID,” said the punky looking sex store lady with spiked hair, aka my new-found enemy/anti-safe-flavored-sex witch.
“Oh, I forgot mine, but my friend has his,” I said, trying to look cool and about two years older.
Nathan, looking embarrassed already, started to pull out his, when punky sex store lady, louder this time, said, “I need to see your ID, or you can’t buy those.”
“I don’t have it,” I muttered, my teenybopper anger bubbling.
I walked away from the counter, still clutching the condoms, to convene with my friends in the far corner of the store to decide on a new strategy. There was no way I was going to not buy those condoms. What was the big fucking deal anyways? They were just condoms, with some added flavor. I could probably slather some banana mush on a regular condom and make my own (don’t actually try that), but at this point it was about the principle of the thing. I was a sexually active free person, and I deserved to have protection, flavored or not!
We weighed the possibilities. I asked Nathan to buy them for me, but he didn’t have any money. My friend Mary who was with us wasn’t 18 either. I could just give Nathan cash, but I didn’t have any. Things were not looking good. The only thing I could think of was to give Nathan my debit card and hope the punky sex shop lady would either not notice or let it slide that it wasn’t his card.
But the only things she let slide were all of my hopes and dignity.
“You can’t use her card, she doesn’t have an ID,” mean sex store lady said with a smirk. It might have been the teen rage, but I swear even her nose ring seemed to taunt me.
“Come on, I just want to practice safe sex!” I whined.
“I’m sorry, but I could lose my job,” she said with an attitude.
Then she got that look on her face like she was about to kick us out, but I wasn’t about to let her have the satisfaction.
“Fine, but I am getting those condoms somehow!” I screeched as I pivoted away from the counter, embarrassed and defeated, “let’s go!” I said, as if my friends needed that confirmation.
Outside, I grumbled and complained about how she was the meanest sex store lady ever and how unfair it was that I couldn’t buy the condoms I wanted. It’s as if she wanted me to have boring, latex flavored sex, or even worse, regular sex with STD and BABY flavor.
What if my teenage hormones, which we all known are practically uncontrollable, decided to take over my body at that moment, and I grabbed Nathan and had sex with him right there in the parking lot, and thanks to her, without a banana condom? I would definitely leave the bastard child on her doorstep, along with some flavored condoms (so she’d know it was my baby, of course.)
Luckily I was irrationally afraid of babies and not that attracted to Nathan, so my revenge plan was unnecessary. Regardless, my life was miserable. I was humiliated.
I did get those condoms, eventually. I think I had Nathan or someone else go back and get them. And sadly, they weren’t everything I thought they’d be. In fact, I can’t even remember if I ever used them. But still, it was the principle of the thing.
Fast forward 6 regular years and about 100 maturity years later, and I’m the mean, punky looking sex store lady. Except not at all punky looking, and more like the blonde girl next door in a v-neck t-shirt sex store lady.
I probably should have known not to work in a sex toy store after I’d given off that bad bratty sex shop karma. But I did, and although I didn’t have to deal with 16 year olds since we didn’t let them in, I had to deal with plenty of other annoying shit. Like grown women laughing like hyenas at the big veiny dildos and penis shaped lollicocks. Or creepy men asking me which toy’s I’ve tried. Or drunk people. Or penis pump guy. But I’ll save those fun stories for another time.
For now, my point if that if time warp were possible, and somehow both my 16 and 22 year old selves were in the same universe, and I was the sex shop lady dealing with my 16 year old self, I probably would have slapped myself in the face. I was being a brat, and it wasn’t the sex store lady’s fault.
But then I probably would have felt bad about it and slipped myself some flavored condoms. Because even though my 16 year old self was quite irritating, I still think you should be able to buy or have access to condoms, flavored or not, at whatever age it is that you start having sex.
—Stay tuned for part 2, in which I describe my first time of legal age in a sex shop.
*I wrote this story to support the Superhero Sex Shop Tour Indigogo campaign*