I Hate Condoms, And I Hate Masks.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Yet whenever I don’t want to put on a condom or a mask, I remember something I told my daughter – a philosophy that’s only gotten truer with each passing year:

Being a grownup is largely defined by your ability to do things that you don’t want to do.

It’s true. Filling out my taxes? I don’t wanna do that. Getting up at 8:00 every morning to work out, so my heart doesn’t clog up again? I don’t wanna do that. Having awkward conversations with lovers and friends about problems that will blow up if we don’t discuss ’em? I definitely don’t wanna do that.

But it turns out that learning to do things you don’t want to do makes your life a lot better.

Seriously. If there’s an overpowered skill in the game of life, it’s that. Pouring all your points into “Doing things you don’t want to do” will have you leveling up faster than everyone else. Your car registration will be taken care of, that novel you’ve been meaning to write will get done, you’ll be well-rested because you put yourself to bed at a reasonable hour.

But to get those benefits, you have to abandon the idea that “I don’t wanna” is a good reason not to do something.

So yeah. I’m not gonna bullshit you; sex is slightly less enjoyable for penis-owners with the condom on, and the masks are itchy and hot in the summer. But at the same time, you get to have a lot more, and safer, sex with the condom on, and you don’t risk infecting innocent people with hard-to-detect diseases with your mask and your condom on. (Though hopefully not worn in the same place, that’d be awkward.)

But to get that, you have to get to the point of being a grownup where you realize that “I can’t have everything I want” isn’t the same as “Then it’s not worth doing.” Sex is less enjoyable with a condom, but it’s still insanely fun. Mini-golf with a mask on isn’t as fun as mini-golf without the mask, but on the other hand you don’t have to worry about the putt-putt course being closed down due to a COVID outbreak.

Leave behind this idea that everything must a steady stream of perfectly maximized fun, and take on some goddamn responsibilities. Stop trying to sneak that condom off, or the mask off. Look at the bigger picture than your next shot of joy, and mitigate the risks both for you and for the people around you.

Be a grownup. It’s got benefits. Promise.


  1. Anonymous Alex
    Jul 14, 2020

    I had braces as an adult. When you first get them on, they give you a list of things you’re not supposed to eat or drink, and one of the items on the list was soda. So I tried to ask whether the issue was the sugar or if it referred to all sodas, and the answer I got back was this kind of tentative, well, you should do your best to limit how much you have.

    To which my reaction was, OK, I’m an adult. If you’re telling me I shouldn’t drink soda, I’ll just not do it. I don’t know if the reaction was because they were used to dealing with teenagers, but on reflection I’m thinking a lot of their patients who were my age weren’t actually adults.


    P.S. The correct answer is all sodas, because they’re acidic.

  2. Doug S.
    Jul 15, 2020

    Holding down the “do something useful you’d rather not be doing” button too long can cause burnout. :/

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