Monday, January 22, 2007

I Only Got Far Enough To Decide That The Title Should Include A Pun On The Term “Rubber Stamp”

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 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.

– Alex

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.

– John

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 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 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.


Blogger Miss Nines said...

A glorious 5 minutes stolen from my company and given instead to [redacted].

I speculate the following of these condom reviewers:
1. They are all liars.
2. And virgins.
3. Have really, really bad sex, if any.

Universal truth: Good sex does not leave one with time to review condoms.

January 22, 2007 at 2:28:00 PM EST  
Blogger Ki Two said...

I'm no condom gourmet but I agree that if the sex is good, there probably isn't a big desire/need to rave about the condom.

Dude: "So, how was she?"
Other dude: "Who cares about her, the condom was amazing! She's soooo not pregnant!"


January 22, 2007 at 2:52:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What were YOU doing reading condom reviews on How does one happen upon such things if not by intentionally seeking them out? Hmm?

January 22, 2007 at 3:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

What's a condom?

January 22, 2007 at 3:29:00 PM EST  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I can't believe that your problem with Danielle is the emoticon when clearly she is trying to hook up through the online review. I'm surprised she didn't include "Let me help you see for yourself. Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx." And who trusts a girl who relies on online reviews to meet men?

Clearly, the real people who should write these reviews are bored college girls who happened to fill up random free condoms with water and then pretend to have penises. "The shape is so realistic; people actually thought I'd had a sex change!" makes the review SO much more interesting. Less practical, but hey. Whose listening to these people anyways?

January 22, 2007 at 3:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

If people have the need to shout out to the world "I'm having sex" then they are clearly not having sex.

January 22, 2007 at 4:07:00 PM EST  
Blogger [mother] said...

This kind of post keeps me up at night (no pun intended).

I really must take stock of my parenting skills and see where I made sex the be all and end all.

Needless to say, the blow job comment knocked my off of my chair.

January 22, 2007 at 4:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Man On The Street said...

OK, true, writing glowing revues about condoms does pin the needle on the Creep Meter into the red. But wouldn't a whole slew of NEGATIVE reviews for a comdom not only make you sit up and take notice but actually make you want to thank them for taking the time express their opinions. I mean, reading nine or ten reviews along the lines of "These condoms are the WORST! Not only were they NOT "ribbed for her pleasure", but wire-reinforced pleasure ridges nearly destroyed her vaginal wall. And flimsy??? It broke after only two or three good thursts and I believe it actually GAVE me herpes! :("

I would definitely sit up and take notice of a review like that.

January 22, 2007 at 5:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Devylish said...

I love online reviews.. that's how I bought my digital camera and my ibook.. but I would agree that reviews on a condom type/brand have to be there solely for entertainment purposes. Give ppl a chance to put their mark on the internet and they will. Poor saps probably just got bored w/ myspace.

January 22, 2007 at 5:20:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think condom reviews are important.

I know this girl who used African condoms, and she got the HIV.

January 22, 2007 at 5:51:00 PM EST  
Anonymous scott said...

HA! Very funny, Mr. Yuck Yuck. (May I call you Mr. Yuck Yuck? No? Oh, sorry.)

While reading I was reminded of the fact that there are condom stores all over Dallas called "Condoms To Go." Whenever I see them, I always wonder, "Is there ever a time when someone wants a condom but doesn't want it 'To Go?'" "I'll just take it for here, thanks." Creepy.

Thanks for the laugh.

Hello, Dan.

January 22, 2007 at 5:52:00 PM EST  
Blogger Respective Minority said...

By the time I am done having sex, I have totally forgotten about the condom. Which is why my friends are always finding them under their (now broken) futons/couches weeks later and asking me about it.

The best condom would be one that self-destructed after use.

January 22, 2007 at 6:03:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, I look forward to reading your blog.

January 22, 2007 at 7:03:00 PM EST  
Blogger Beechball * said...

beautiful, just perfect. You make me laugh out loud literally 4 times, lol good job, you made my day! I like Durex condoms the best ;) J/k - condoms are for suckers! hahaha Great post!

January 22, 2007 at 8:14:00 PM EST  
Blogger My Novelty Organ said...


Very funny post...and well written at that. You are good at this.


January 22, 2007 at 8:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger Shannon said...

You're funny
Thanks for brightening, my otherwise sucky day.

January 22, 2007 at 10:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Ashley said...

How did you even stop laughing long enough to write this post? I can't imagine a) reading these and then b) writing your responses and NOT laughing out loud. Amazing - both the post, and [Mother]'s response.

January 22, 2007 at 10:57:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so happy i decided to stay up and read your post. my first comment on your blog, but seriously...i laughed at the last paragraph.

January 23, 2007 at 12:30:00 AM EST  
Anonymous mc said...

i love you & your blog, but i love your mother even more... hilarious.

January 23, 2007 at 11:03:00 AM EST  
Blogger The Accidental Bitch said...

I stopped trusting customer reviews when they sounded like jokes and like company spies writing reviews on their own products.

But I still read them when I'm deciding between products. I don't think I've ever written one... so I know you like me already.

January 23, 2007 at 11:43:00 AM EST  
Blogger bob said...

I'm a fan of Durex condoms, mainly because whenever I have one on, I'm having sex.

Strictly correlational? I think not.

January 23, 2007 at 11:46:00 AM EST  
Blogger Marc said...

Am I the only one who noticed that "blue" and "doing" don't really rhyme? Maybe you use the A/B/A/B format when bustin' rhymes. I think I need to see the rest before forming an opinion.

January 23, 2007 at 12:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Jew said...

I got here through gawker, that post was really funny but those comments were fucking hillarious... and i don't think it's because im ridiculously hungover at work and wearing the same underwear as yesterday... only now they're inside out.

January 23, 2007 at 12:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Nines said...

Marc, it is slant rhyme.

You must be out of your mind,

Not knowing these things.

January 23, 2007 at 12:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger sleepyrn said...

reminds me of the time I put condoms in the christmas stockings of my, then, 17 year old twin boys. I didn't think to include reviews on the type I chose - maybe I should have.

They must have worked because the boys are A) not fathers and B) not infected with any diseases (that I know of - and, no, I wouldn't WANT to know!!!)

January 23, 2007 at 7:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tammy said...


January 23, 2007 at 9:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jay said...

I like Danielle's cheeky little emoticon wink -- although thinking about it, it is a little disturbing -- you'd never be quite sure what she meant. That would put me right off using them, instead of "enjoying the moment" I'd be worried about what Danielle was winking about.

...or mentally composing my own critical condom review in my head.

January 24, 2007 at 2:07:00 AM EST  
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December 11, 2008 at 2:39:00 AM EST  

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