Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Swedes won’t deliver
love to your door,
but they come close

This column contains some adult-related material so if you have any teens in the house, you should probably have them stand by to explain to you the more complicated aspects of this discussion.

Sweden, one of those countries that, according to just everyone, does everything right and which, we are told, America should emulate in all ways political, social and economic, has begun a new marketing enterprise targeting people who suddenly find themselves getting lucky in the field of romance.

You know how it is, you're sitting around the house with a member of the opposite sex -- whoops, I'm sorry -- any sex (or piece of furniture, for that matter) and against unbelievable odds you're suddenly within striking distance of the "end zone" and you realize that you don't have all the, er, "equipment" you need to "score." (Production note: All sexually related euphemisms, metaphors, etc., will, pointlessly, be surrounded by quotation marks.)

In the past, that situation might have resulted in a sudden cessation of "hoochie koochie" and a trip to the (cold) showers. But in Stockholm all you have to do is dial the sexual equivalent of 911 (fill in your own sexually insinuative digits) and a sort of "condom ambulance" will race to your door with all the accouterments necessary to protect you and your partner from the many unpleasant byproducts of sexual commerce (HIV, herpes, children, etc.)

According to a recent news story, the Swedish Organization for Sexual Education, which, curiously, is known by the initials RFSU, will have four cars loaded with condoms patrolling the streets ready to zoom to any emergency of love.

"With this campaign we believe that the RFSU will reach young people with a humorous twinkle in their eye," said spokesman Carl Osvald.

He didn't say if the humorous twinkle will be in the eye of those receiving the condoms or those delivering them, but apparently, in Sweden, having sex is a fairly funny thing.

MY EXPERIENCE as a single young man long ago was that having sex with a willing partner was not a laughing matter and, in fact, something bordering on tragedy. The only levity came after the 45 minutes of begging, when the proposed objects of my affection roundly dismissed my advances and left the premises guffawing heartily. The sad thing is that, unlike Swedes, I was always fully prepared should Eros smile down on me charitably and, in fact, carried around the same one condom from 1973 to 1977. It's not that 1977 was a breakthrough year for me on the sex front, just that I lost my wallet.

I'm not sure whether the whole "condom ambulance" thing would work in America. It's disturbing enough to see the Orkin Man show up at my neighbor's house every week. I'd be a little put off, not to mention, jealous, to see the Condom Dude pull up in their driveway several times a week. Projecting public responsibility is laudable; claiming insatiability just hurts people's feelings.

And were I single, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable having someone deliver condoms directly to my house, unless he was also bringing pizza. Then, if the evening turned out the way it usually turned out for me as a young man, at least I'd have the pizza to keep me company during the late movie.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail


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