Something for the weekend

Pssst. I don't know if you've noticed but things have changed in the trouser department (nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean, say no more, say no more). That warhorse of contraception, that touchstone of virility, that 'something for the weekend sir?' lucky charm, the Durex Fetherlite, is no more.

It's been rebranded, upgraded, given a good polish (ooh err). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 'Thin Feel: thin for greater sensitivity.' Doesn't quite have the same ring about it (fnarr fnarr), even if it does seem to imply that vistas of hitherto unexperienced pleasure await my purchase.

The Durex logo has also been given a tweak (now then!) to look like an inviting and very-clickable app, and they've added the words love sex. Is this an exhortation to enjoy sex in the context of a loving relationship, or permission to enjoy buying condoms with none of the traditional stigma attached? Those cunning marketing men seem to have both bases covered (matron!). Either way, I can proudly display my wares (steady!) as a lifestyle choice. See everyone, I love sex! Don't you?

As a child, my mother used to take me to a traditional barber for a monthly haircut. I'm sure you remember the kind of place. Pneumatic chairs, brylcreamed men in nylon jackets, glasses of disinfectant to clean the scissors in-between clients (eugh!), the use of combs to bend back the ears (ow!), and surreptitious boxes of Durex stacked below the mirrors.

Once I asked rather loudly, 'Mum...what's Durex?'

The shop went quiet. Buttocks clenched. The barber stopped and swallowed. Even Simon Bates on the radio seemed to draw breath.

'I'll tell you on the way home.' The relief was palpable.

She never did. I'm not even sure how I found out. That was the point. You either knew or you didn't. No one was going to talk about it.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating a return to the 'no sex please we're British' 1970s. Buying condoms always used to be a furtive, purse-lipped, rather embarrassing affair. It's so much easier now, chucking them in the trolley with all the other groceries of the weekly supermarket shop.

But I'm allowing myself just a moment's nostalgia for the lost Carry On! world of prophylactics, French letters, rubber johnnies, sheaths, Coney Island Whitefish (no really), helmets, raincoats, socks, durex and fetherlites; for the world where knowing what a condom was was a mark of initiation, a sign that you were a man not a boy.

Now as the checkout girl wrests the Thin-Feels from the security box she barely suppresses a yawn.


  1. On a day very short on laughs this made me guffaw.

    Thank you.



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