Like mints, take one. Take two. Just take.
I’d prefer these horny teenagers save it for someone who matters, someone who will love them inside and out, to their very core and soul, and not just until the parents get home.
But it’s been proven that such perspective takes time, and often much trial and error, and while that maturation percolates, I want the teens to have all the facts about STIs, pregnancy, responsibility, compassion, accountability – and free and easy access to condoms. Because the only thing safer than a condom is abstinence and well, that preacher done gone home for the day.
The condom brigade began when my kid’s very gorgeous friend had girls drooling over him: smart, ripped, cuter ‘n cute, funny, and every parent in town loved him. Us included. Way too short for my daughter (says she, not me), so since kindergarten, they were buds. Just buds.
Which is how I found out about the Purity Promise Card.
“This,” he said confidently, taking out his promise card from his wallet and proudly showing me. His promise to wait to have sex until marriage. Signed by the priest and himself. Said it right there, signed on the dotted line. Looked a little like this:
This boy. This young, naive boy whom I’ve known since kindergarten, who still climbed trees and play manhunt in our yard. He was quickly becoming a smokin’ hot teenager who in 9th grade already had upperclassman jockeying for prom dibs. And only a cheesy piece of oaktag to protect him. His brain hadn’t caught up to his brawn – yet – but when it did, that card wasn’t gonna help and I knew it.
“Listen, I want to give you something. Just in case, ya know? I’ll be right back,” I said, and bounded up the stairs. I hadn’t a moment to lose. The weekend was fast approaching!
“Mommmmmm. Mom-mom-mom-mom. MOMMMMMMY!!! DON’T …. ” Kid’s disgust started as a low warning growl, quickly escalated into an emergency broadcast system alerting the boy to the approaching sex-ed tornado coming in. Fast. Take cover.
Which is exactly what I wanted him to do. TAKE COVER.
“Put this in your wallet, because all due respect, but some hot summer night in the back of your parent’s minivan, that Promise Card is gonna get you in a whole lotta trouble, and this, this here might just save your night. And your life. Keep it? Please? Just in case, you never know. Maybe you’ll never need it, but take it. Promises are good, but condoms are a smart back-up plan just in case your promise card gets dry rot or something.”
The story got out around town, teasing ensued, then it wasn’t long before they started stopping by, just to say hi. Or pick up a forgotten book. Or cleats. Teenagers. Team mates. Friends. Not-so-much-friends. Boys. Girls. Slowly but surely, the box began emptying. Not all in one weekend, but over the course of high school, clearly somebody was getting something. Safely, thank you very much.
By her senior year, most of her peers knew where to go when promises made might be broken. “Seriously, Mom. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is that everyone comes to me for condoms, and I’m, I’m, I’m still a VIRGIN? Agggghhhh. It’s pathetic.”
“Oh honey,” I told her. “Patience. I promise it won’t be forever. You’re going to college, I’ll get you your own Costco box to take with you. It’ll be worth the wait, I promise. Do you want me to make you a card?”