“where I’m from, if someone has something
caught in their cootch, you offer to help. .”
A few years ago I was dating a girl, and though we were monogamous, she wasn’t on the pill so we had to use condoms during sex. One night, after we finished, I pulled out and the condom was gone. Sometimes you’ll find it clinging to the tip and saying “Good thing you got me out of there, I couldn’t have held on much longer,” but in this case it was missing completely. It had vanished.
Like an idiot, I start looking around the room, as if it might have shot off somewhere. I check under the covers, over the side of the bed, on the night stand. Of course, I find nothing. My girlfriend asks, “What are you doing?”
“The condom’s gone.” “What do you mean? Where is it?” I nod at her crotch and whisper, “I think it’s in there.” It was at this point that she got mad.
“What do you mean it’s in there? You didn’t feel it come off? How could it just come off? It can’t just disappear.”
She stared at me, looking for an answer. I don’t know why, it must have been the word “disappeared” that cued it, but I said. “Ta-Da.” That was not the right thing to say. She pushed me out of the way and ran to the bathroom. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s never a good feeling when someone flees the location of your sexual encounter. I thought, “Oh, this is probably how rapists feel.”I sat on the bed listening to her try to remove the condom, which is apperantly harder than you might think. She’s struggled, kind of grunting. “Ah, almost got it. Eh. Damn it. I had it and then I lost it right at the end.” It was like she was playing the claw game where you try to get a stuffed animal – and she really wanted that teddy bear.
“Need a hand?” I called out. As soon as I said it I knew it was too casual. “Need a hand?” is what you say to someone carrying too many groceries, not trying to prevent a pregnancy.
“What are you going to do?” She yelled back. And she was right, what was I going to do? Hold a flash light for her? Get some tongs? I didn’t know. But where I’m from, if someone has something caught in their cootch, you offer to help. That’s just good manners.
Finally she got it out and came back to bed and the only thing she said to me was “you need to get smaller condoms.” Ouch. Not much you can say to that. The only come back I could think of was “Or maybe you should lay off the Kegel exercises!” But saying that only would have made things worse, so I stayed silent.
The next morning I said, “I’m really sorry about what happened last night. I guess we should go to Planned Parenthood and get you a morning after pill.”
“Um…I don’t really want to,” she said. A moment passed. “Pardon?”
“I’ve heard they give you a bad stomach ache.” Another beat. “Do you know what else might make your stomach hurt? Having a baby inside it for 9 months!”
“I know, I just don’t want to take it. I don’t think I’ll get pregnant. I’m pretty sure I got it all out.” I didn’t know what to say to this. How could she possible know she “got it all out”? Did she count, because there’s like a million of them in there. Semen is like sand – you think you got it all, but a week after you went to the beach you find some in your belly button.
But what could I do? It was “her body, her choice”, as they say. So instead of going to Planned Parenthood, we went to brunch. And that was annoying because she actually ate too much and got indigestion. She wasn’t willing to endure a little discomfort to prevent the conception of our bastard child, but for blueberry pancakes, she can take it. But, it’s “her body, her pancakes” as they say.
We figured out that she was supposed to get her period in a week. During that time I did some research on the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. And I focused mostly on the don’ts. “You know what we’ve never done? Gone bungee jumping.” “Hey, how about a pub crawl! Drink up, it’s on me!” Have a swim in three shots of Jamison you fetus bastard.
The week went by and her period didn’t come so we picked up a home pregnancy test. When she went into the bathroom to pee on the stick I shouted “Need a hand?” I thought it was a pretty clever call back, but I don’t think she got it.
Pregnancy tests take ten minutes to show results, and that is a long ten minutes. There are not many moments when your whole life could change in an instant, but this was one of them. We sat on the couch, waiting for the time to pass. An episode of Everybody Loves Raymond was on the TV - not as funny when you might be a father in a few minutes.
After a bit of awkward silence I thought, “I should say something.” I really did care for this girl, so I took her hand and said, “No matter what happens we’re in this together. We’ll figure it out and it will be okay. No matter what, it will be okay.” She said thank you and we shared a nice moment.
Time was up. We walked to the bathroom. The test was sitting on the sink. Just before she picked it up, we locked eyes, and I said again, “It will be okay.”
She turned over the test - negative. She wasn’t pregnant. And I reacted like this: “Thank the fucking lord because it would NOT have been okay. When I said it would be okay, that was a lie. It would not have been okay.”
The two of us celebrated there in the bathroom, doing a “We ain’t havin’ no baby” dance. A little tip: If you’re ever in this situation, don’t celebrate longer than the girl. They don’t like that. Be happy she’s not pregnant, but not TOO happy.
And like that, it was over. We threw the test away and I wasn’t going to be a dad. But the weird thing was, throwing away that pregnancy test was like throwing away an alternative universe where I would be a dad. I’d prepared all week for the possibility of being a father and in ten minutes that entire future was gone. I looked down at the test, sitting there on top of tissues and other garbage and a little part of me was kind of sad. But that passed pretty quickly because the rest of me was THRILLED I wouldn’t be a father. And that part of me pulled the test out of the trash every 20 minutes for the rest of the night to make sure it still said “negative”.