I went back to visit Bennington this past weekend and had a really fun time. Aside from Leigh house being a lot crazier, the place hasn't changed as much as I was afraid it would (that was comforting). Rather than chronichling the entire weekend, I chose a single funny moment to write about.
I was sitting in the Leigh kitchen with a friend boiling some ramen when Mark marched over to the shelf with a determined look on his face and proceeded to remove all the rubber gloves from the safe sex kit.* I asked him what he was doing and he said that he wasn’t sure. “Isn’t it weird that they keep rubber gloves in the safe sex kit?” he said as he dangled one in front of him. “What do you think they’re for?”
I explained their purpose to him in terms of a baseball euphemism.
“That’s disgusting,” Mark said, still dangling the glove. “What better way to set a romantic mood than by snapping on a rubber glove before pleasuring a woman?”
My friend (strangely enough) was silent during this exchange.
The rest of the bag was filled with condoms, lubricant, and white Durex instruction manuals. Mark unfolded one of the manuals (which appeared suspiciously long until we realized it included multiple languages) and pointed out the comically abstract drawing of a penis in the instruction diagram. “This is ridiculous,” he said, “who in their right mind can’t figure out how to put on a condom?”
“I’m sure some people get confused,” I replied, giving the matter some serious thought. “But then again, don’t most people get shown how to put a condom on a banana in high school?”
“Not a banana,” Mark said, getting excited again. “In my high school we had this Mexican guy who lectured our safe sex class while drinking an Orangina and waving his other hand back and forth. [Mark demonstrated by limply flicking his wrist.] At the end he pulled a condom out of his pocket and put it on over the entire Orangina bottle. Afterwards he told us never to worry about the condom not being big enough.”
“Did he drink out of the Orangina afterwards?”
“I don’t remember,” Mark said. He had gone back to the shelf in the midst of his story and began to carry out some sudden task with uncharacteristic diligence. Amelia and I watched as he tore open a condom, hurled the wrapper towards the garbage but landed it in the hallway instead, and unwrapped the condom over a small, fat olive oil bottle he had grabbed. It took some effort to get the condom around the curve of the bottle, but once past this hurdle he slid it easily down to the base. He admired his handiwork and pointed out that the condom was invisible save for the sperm-catching tip above the bottle’s cap. I told him he should leave it there.
Mark laughed hysterically at this proposition but pulled the condom off the bottle and threw it away. As if it were a natural extension of our conversation, he grabbed an Astroglide packet and squirted thick, gooey wads of lube all along the cap and the sides, then opened another condom and reinserted it over the bottle tighter than before. “You have to get all the air bubbles out,” he said as he ran his hands along the shaft of the bottle, “or else the condom could break.”
I thanked him for the advice and took a bite of ramen.
The condom is probably still there, and I suggest that if you’re in the Leigh kitchen you use the vegetable oil.
*Bennington safe sex kits are always kept in house kitchens, and I have become so used to seeing condoms while I cook that I don’t even make the connection anymore.