Several years after I visited the Condom Kingdom, the issue of condoms came up (sic) again. My teen-age son acquired a serious girlfriend, his first. When I mentioned this to friends, they asked whether I had gotten him prepared for safe sex. I pointed out that they were only kids; protested that they'd only been seeing each other a little while; rationalized that I was the mother—this wasn’t my job.
But in the end, I sucked it up and talked to The Boy.
It was hardly our first discussion on the matter. We’d had talks as he grew up, but now it was different. For one thing, it was no longer theoretical--this was for all the marbles. I took a deep breath and brought it up while we were driving to Target. I gave a brief summary of the situation and offered to buy condoms for him, gamely pointing out that I wasn't giving my approval, merely being responsible.
He greeted the idea with snorts of contempt, saying that he wasn't so lame that his mother needed to buy his first condoms for him. I gently suggested that one or two from a vending machine was not what I had in mind. He asked if 20 would be enough.
Swallowing hard, I allowed that it would.
When we got home, I walked upstairs, muttering and shaking my head. From the radio in my room, I heard Dylan singing, "And the times, they are a changing."
It was just too perfect. I laughed till I cried.
Still lost in the Condom Kingdom, after all these years.