Purchasing things like contraception and sexual safety gear (such as condoms) can be very difficult. It normally shouldn’t be but in a society that presupposes that nobody ever has sex and that children most probably fall from heaven, it is. To attempt to purchase a condom is to admit that you are planning to have sex soon, and this insults the moral sensibilities of any good Nigerian. Everyone is a walking embodiment of chastity. Best not to break the illusion.
But people, many of them, do have sex. A lot of young unmarried people indulge in this feast of flesh. You would expect that married people indulge in sex too, but what you mustn’t expect, or speculate about, is whom they indulge with. Therefore, acquiring protection becomes an issue, sometimes very big. How do I keep the illusion of chastity intact and yet still get the deed done? A lot of people ignore this problem and a few months later find out that one of pregnancy or infection has occurred. Of course, some get lucky and avoid these two complications. For those who are less trusting (and wish to avoid foreseen consequences), a condom, or condoms, become an absolute must.
Therefore, that illusion of innocence must dissolve into nothingness like a mirage. You must be able to relegate to the periphery, the way in which chaste Nigeria will now view you – through latex-tinted goggles. Those done, you must walk with confidence, false or real, to wherever the condoms are sold. Curiously, you will find that in the bigger stores, you are more likely to encounter a female salesperson. In this case, you must surmount the urge to bolt. You must clear your throat and look her in the eye (it’s suicidal to look anywhere else) and find a way – any way – to get out these words:
“I want to buy condoms.”
The innocent people around you, people who have only come to purchase such harmless things as blood tonics and Paracetamol, shift away from you uncomfortably. Now that they know you want to have sex, they treat you like you have just released a particularly noisome and noxious fart. You assure with a look and add on a slight smile for effect. It’s only for my brother, you see.
God help you that you are being served by a mischievous girl or that you simply only mumbled through your first attempt at declaring your intent. She will then invite you to be clearer. Your confidence falters a trifle (you’ve been skimping on the Macleans), but your pitch must gain some much-needed verve. “I want to buy condoms”, you repeat. Any of a rueful smile or a blank expression may follow as she points the condoms out to you. So you want to have sex? I wonder who you’ll have it with. She mulls these questions beneath the cast of her outward demeanour. Which do you want – Trojan, Durex, Dr Jones, Gold Circle? Your pocket and the quality of the recipient must now judge. She also judges you based on the choice you have just made.
But there are a few ways to avoid mischievous salesgirls. There’s the devout Muslim Hausa guy with the little roofing sheet kiosk somewhere in your area. He wouldn’t dare it where he’s from but he sells condoms, albeit the cheap sort. You shouldn’t care what he thinks; after all, he’s a stranger in these parts. He sells condoms but once you ask for it, you can literally see with how much fervour his heart pumps the blood now. This time, he’s the one with the shivers, not you.
You may also pray to whichever deity you serve to provide you with a friend who works at an NGO into sex and the likes. Those ones hand out copious amounts of latex to their employees and the largesse can’t miss you. Pray that your girlfriend (or whoever is going to be on the other end of your “man business” is the bold sort and will go out on a limb for you. Pray for a generous, wayward neighbour who appears to have a never-depleting reservoir of condoms so that you can just pop over whenever you need one.
In conclusion, perhaps someone should make life easier by developing a home delivery option, like Jumia for instance. This way, you can slip the deliverer money under the door and ask him or her to drop it in front of the door. When you’re satisfied they’ve disappeared, you’ll come out and get your stash. Better still, it could all be paid for already with an online payment option. This way, you will preserve your illusory innocence and yet indulge in those slimy depths of iniquity. Problem? Solved!
P.S: Always save for rainy days – literally or metaphorically. Acquire plenty in one shopping run.