Ever since the fifth grade, when Richard Velazquez convinced me that if I wanted Jennifer Capobianco to like me I should write a rap song for her, I’ve never been one to take other people’s advice. Unfortunately, I will never forget the first line of the song, which went: “With her hair of golden brown and her eyes of blue / she makes me feel like I know what I’m doing,” which, looking back, is not only brilliant for its deft slant rhymes, but for its irony. If she truly made me know what I was doing, perhaps I would have known that a rap song wasn’t the quickest way to a girl’s heart.
After that, I pledged to myself that I would not rely on other people for advice, opinions or recommendations. I would instead learn by my own mistakes, even if it meant going to the New Kids On The Block concert even though they “weren’t as good live,” or hooking up with the girl who “won’t give you a blowjob, even if you, like, put it right next to her face.” By and large, I have stuck to my resolution, except in rare cases such as my freshman year of college when I got into a conversation with a hot girl wearing a tight shirt who, after seeing me carrying a book, suggested I major in English, so I did.
Lately, though, I have found that the older you get the less room you have for mistakes. When you are 18 and you nearly set fire to your apartment after putting a piece of pizza in the oven and then passing out, you are funny. Then you’re 27 and suddenly you are “irresponsible” and “an alcoholic.” At this point, you are supposed to have gotten over the perceived invincibility of your youth and accepted that it is a folly to dismiss the knowledge and wisdom of the older generations as well as the varying wellsprings of specialized knowledge that your peers have created around you. In short, you learn that it’s OK to ask for help.
No where is this more evident than in the e-commerce marketplace. When you were younger you relied on your parents not only to buy you things but to know what kinds of things to buy you. Somehow, my mom knows that Farberware makes better coffee pots than DeLonghi, and my dad knows that Bosch power tools are better than Craftsman. Eventually, though, technology and progress outstrip gender-specific familial stereotypes and traditional know-how, and when it came time to buy my first computer, the only thing father thought to ask was, “How big is it?” Clearly in this day and age, if you are going to look for advice, it must come from another source. And what better source than someone who has already bought the product, which is why I love online customer reviews. It’s unsolicited advice from anonymous sources, all without having to leave your home or, worse, talk to people. Truly, after porn, online gambling, email, news, fantasy sports, real time stock trading, shopping and amateur porn, this is the best thing the internet has given us.
What bothers me, though, is how websites haven’t learned the natural limits to which we may take this technological breakthrough. Such as Drugstore.com. Never, once in my life, have I gone into a drugstore and needed a professional opinion on something I was buying, unless I was buying Oxycotin, in which case I might ask, “What can I take with this to see pretty colors?” But band aids? Tissues? Toilet bowl cleaner? My position is the only time you should need help deciding between the Swiffer WetJet and the Clorox ReadyMop is if you are blind, but even then only to the extent that you need help picking out anything because you can’t see it.
And I’ll tell you something I definitely don’t want your help picking out. Condoms.
These Lubricated Trojan-Enz condoms have been my favorite since I first tried them almost six years ago. Prior to that I had used a number of different condoms from Trojan and other manufacturers, but found that either the lubricant didn't work well, or on several occasions I had actually broken through the end of the condom. These Lubricated Trojan-Enz always feel good and there are no surprises when I withdraw because my semen is always safely inside the condom.
Not only has Alex confessed to probably impregnating a few women, but something about the tone of the review (I think it was the word “withdraw”) has made me never want to use these, for fear that if I ever run into Alex we might have something in common. Or worse, John:
I used these with my girlfriend and they worked great. The total experience was awesome. I really can't compare these with other condoms because they are the first I've used.
Something about this just screams WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS? John – you just had sex. Probably for the first time. Shouldn’t you be texting a friend? Or doing it again? And not writing a product review for the condom you used?
Likewise, I would not trust Danielle,
These condoms are terrific. You can feel that they are thinner than other condoms by using them. ; )
for using an emoticon; Raymond S.,
My favorite condoms!
for using an exclamation point (and his last initial); or Tim,
The size is good, but why do they have to smell so bad?
for raising more questions than answers.
You see, what retailers like Drugstore.com fail to realize is this: that you most often trust the opinion of a person similar to yourself. And I’m pretty sure that I have stark fundamental differences with anyone who will go out to buy condoms and, after having sex, log on to drugstore.com and type out a review. In fact, I don’t even want to know if you tried a new brand of condom and it turns out the material they used disappears when wet. I would rather find out on my own, and in the following weeks when we run into each other in the pregnancy test aisle, and we see in each other’s eyes the regret of making our own mistakes and dismissing the help of others, just exchange knowing glances, and simultaneously reach for whichever one is on sale.