Saturday, August 16, 2008


We arrived in Montreal to find that it is Gay Pride weekend here. We didn't realize that when we booked the holiday but were pleased to be here for the action. After going to a movie and having lunch we were going to go for an afternoon beer at one of the bars on St. Catherine street. We were quite lucky to find parking just off the pedestrian mall that had been created for the celebrations.

There were several small booths that had been set up on the mall all staffed by young and enthusiastic volunteers. It appeared that the booths had been grouped into various areas and we entered into the health and well being area (if I'm translating correctly) and there were several booths with AIDS information, one of which had several large plastic penises on display. (I've always thought that the plural of penis should be peni - it feels better in the mouth.)

Anyways, as we were leaving to go to the pub a young fellow approached me (ME!!) and handed me a small packet that included both lube and a condom. (ME!!) I looked at him in surprise bordering on shock (ME!!) and said 'Thankyou' then switched immediately to 'Merci' when I remembered where I was. (ME!!) Then we found a shaded patio and struggled up onto it and ordered a beer.

As we waited for the beer to arrive I reminded Joe about two incidents. The first happened many years ago just after the AIDS crisis had hit. We were in San Francisco for Gay Pride with another couple. They were both beauties. During the march they were both handed hundreds of condoms by various people from various groups. Joe didn't do badly in the condom department either. However, me (ME!!), my fat old self, I wasn't handed one. Not one. We were swarmed by condom hander outers but they didn't waste a condom on big ol' me. A year or so later I was in Vancouver, on my own, giving a series of lectures.

On the weekend I went to the bar for a beer and was there when the bar was swarmed by the AIDS network groups and condoms were handed out. Buckets of them. To everyone but me. Fat ol' me didn't register on their radar. (ME!!) Couldn't be seen. Couldn't need a condom. Excluded from the possibility of sexuality because I'm just not, um, pretty. All that really angered me then. Partly because I was waging a battle to ensure that condom training was done for people with disabilities. I felt a kinship because they too had been exerpted from consideration as sexual beings. That kind of prejudice stems from the idea that people who look in particular ways are not as sexual or as human as others. So it angered me.

But here, on a sunny day I'm sitting on a patio with a drink in front of me and a condom packet in my hand.

(ME!!) finally.


Skylex said...

I hope you put it to good use =)

wendy said...

Well, bless that young man for recognizing you as a sexual being! The world needs more like him. Enjoy the condom. If you don't want to use it for the purpose it was intended (given the longevity of your relationship) it would make a nifty water balloon!

All 4 My Gals said...

I'm glad you were given a condom. Funny that in all communities we find preconceived ideas and stereotypes.

Gaina said...

Isn't that ironic? You were deemed less likely to need/want a condom than you are now as a visibly disabled person? It always seems to be the other way round here. Do you think you got more this time because they were being genuine or they had to hand them out to everyone in order to be 'PC'?

The UK charity SCOPE did an 'independent living' survey last year and found that 3-quarters of the people that participated in the survey were unhappy with their intimate lives.

It's funny you should write about this subject now, as I wrote a blog about sex and disability last week if you would like to read it and give me your thoughts.

Have a nice weekend :)

FAB said...

you go stud! We're all sexy and sexual and fabulous, I'm glad you were recognized in this way. No one has ever given me a condom...should I be concerned?

By the way, love your penis comment. A while ago I blogged on "penis envy" and sturred up a whole converstaion on the plural of penis. I like peni better too, though a lovely man I know was concerned with it, felt it made them sound too small...

Anonymous said...

Hi, Dave

(Caution: Word nerdery ahead).

Since "penis" is a 3rd-declension Latin noun (I asked my Latin dictionary to make sure), the Latin plural would be "penes." I'm not sure how to pronounce "penes,"--PAY-nays? PEE-nez?--but I do think "peni" would be prettier/more fun.

(Word nerdery over).

This post reminds me: Did you see the poster for the Learning Disability Sex Campaign in the UK? (It's got people of all colors and sizes).

Anonymous said...

HMMM...I love the words "feels better in the mouth" Here is another word I love...vagiterian!!!

Anonymous said...

Dave, you're close -- as Tera correctly surmised, the technical plural of penis is penes.

It's pronounced pee-neez.

Male snakes have a pair of hemi-penez (two halves that fit together).

Most of the world gets along with "penises", which dictionaries will include from the commonality of the usage. But that pluralisation really does sound dreadfully sibilant.

Enjoy the recipient status! I've never been given a condom either.

andrea, biologist