I’ve finally moved to purchasing condoms online, just because it expands the options available.  I have particular needs, and the selection isn’t always available in brick-and-mortar stores.  In particular, drug stores tend to have small selections and inflated prices.

Protip: condoms at Target cost a third what they do at other US shops, and there are many more varieties than most.

In any event, I’ve been aware of Rip ‘n’ Roll for a long time, but hadn’t really used them.  The web design is a little irritating, as is the Maxim ad, but they have basic-but-thorough HTML navigation on the left through various brands and varieties.  Ordering twelve condoms gets you a free gift, one selection of which is twelve more condoms, so at ~$10 they’re competitive with Target’s pricing once shipping is added.  I thought I’d received the wrong order, and contacted their support, who explained that the packaging wasn’t quite what I saw online but we confirmed that I’d gotten the right order.  They’re also sending another bonus twelve because I can’t use the first pack.

I occasionally ponder more permanent forms of birth control, but haven’t gone for them yet.  The gel system and the male pill are still unconscionably far off, so my primary option here is a vasectomy, and despite the low risk of complications I’m still sufficiently squeamish about surgery on my junk to want to avoid that.  Condoms it is, and whatever measures my partners are willing to take.  These seem thus far to be sufficient, provided they’re used religiously, which they are.

I’m told there is such a thing as a “dental dam”, but I have never seen one in the wild.

Edit: I promise I’m not being paid by Rip ‘n’ Roll.

Edit2: I have been informed that at least one friend does use dental dams, so apparently they exist if he is to be trusted.

How to craft a message on OkCupid

I wrote this as a comment on reddit in response to someone’s asking, and thought it might be useful here.  I don’t use this (or any) formula every time, but for someone who looks at a blank text-entry box and can’t come up with something, here’s an outline:

First, find something in the profile that is a mutual interest. If there is nothing, then don’t write to that person because you don’t actually want to date them, you just think they’re hot. Also, try to pick something that isn’t normal geek fare, because the fact that you’re both into Star Wars means nothing. Everyone is into Star Wars because Star Wars is good, if you pretend episodes I-III didn’t happen.

Now, write a paragraph and no more about the mutual interest. Describe why and how it’s an interest for you, and mention something specific about it. Maybe you like Michael Pollan’s writing but think he’s kind of a douche, or you’re into robotics specifically because you competed in a robotics competition in high school.

Consider repeating the above for a second mutual interest, but no more than that.

Now, ask a question about something interesting the other person said but didn’t expand on. Like, if they say they want to be a Mythbuster, ask what myth they’d bust first. Responding to this gives them an opening to reply and saves them from having to compose a message from nothing.

Now, proofread, and send.

Do not, in the first message:

  • compliment their appearance
  • give any off site contact info
  • suggest a meeting
  • make any sexual remarks whatsoever