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THE WIDOW MADDERA'S GUIDE TO SAFE SEX

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THE WIDOW MADDERA'S GUIDE TO SAFE SEX

Cindy Maddera

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One snowed-in Friday night, I got a phone call from my friend Heather. The first thing she said was "I'm drunk." So I told her to give me a minute and I'll catch up. We then proceeded to have a long drunken conversation that may or may not have ended with us both declaring undying love for each other. Somewhere in the middle of that conversation we started talking about dating and sex and I asked her if I should have condoms for just in case situations (there has never been a just in case situation). Heather replied "Oh, yeah...you need to go get you some of those." My next question was "how do you know what size to buy?". She told me to just buy the average size and that if a guy needed ex-large, he needed to bring his own. Well...huh. The next day I was in Walgreens, picking up my birth control pills, when I remembered that conversation. I walked over to the "family planning" aisle pretending to be a confident mature woman and that's when I remembered that I have never purchased condoms. If there was a situation where a condom was needed, Chris took care of that. I kind of put condoms in the same category as socks and underwear or deodorant. He was the one wearing them therefor he was the one to pick them out. When's the last time you checked out the selection in the "family planning" aisle? I had no idea there were that many varieties and combinations (yes, combinations) of condoms. It is mind boggling. There's a stimulations kind, pleasures, her pleasures, ENZ...I don't even know what that is...sensitivity, Supra...which I can only imagine translates to super great sex. I stood there for a good five minutes trying to figure out something to buy.

Finally I made a selection and carried it, along with a bag of ice melt ('cause that's sexy), back to the pharmacy to pay for all of the things at once. I set my things on the counter and told the pharmacy tech I was there to pick up my prescription. He's usually pretty bored when dealing with customers. I'm pretty sure I've seen him roll his eyes while reaching back to grab someone's refill. But something changed when I set that box of condoms down on the counter. That pharmacy tech smiled and got chatty and when I noticed that my bag of ice melt had sprung a leak (heh), he was all "oh no! let me ring that up and then you pick up a new bag on your way out!". I swear to God, I batted my eyelashes and smiled demurely and said "why, thank you!".

It's quite possible that many of you are "oooh...Cindy bought condoms!". Gasp. Yes, yes I purchased condoms. I don't even have any intentions of putting myself in a just in case situation right now. That's not the point. There was something empowering in that purchase. Buying those condoms was about owning my sexuality and owning it responsibly. I will never forget the day Katrina sat Janell and I down in her living room and warned us about the dangers of unprotected sex. That warning had nothing to do with unwanted pregnancies. It was all about sexually transmitted diseases with AIDS playing the staring role. AIDS hasn't disappeared just because we've stopped talking about it and AIDS is not a gay disease. According to amfAR, women account for one in four new diagnoses and deaths caused by AIDS. AIDS is an every person disease.

And that is why I walk.

*Thanks so much to those of you have donated to my AIDS Walk fundraiser page! I love you guys. I almost think I should have set that goal a little higher.