The Phest Tests the Condom Kingdom

Editor's note: The following Phun Phest is rated PG-13. Go figure.

Before things get going this week, Ed and D. would like to admit that because the subject of this PPP is condoms, it might seem like we've sold out, going for the adulation of that huge, sexually-fixated, Shout! magazine kind of audience. Well, that may be so. But you gotta realize, there's one big difference between us and the other titillation-meisters out there in the pseudo-journalistic community: We bring you the TRUTH. Do you think that DTH [
Daily Tar Heel] guy who wrote that recent "article" on sperm donation actually did all that stuff? Hell, no. What you're about to read, though, is all real. We shoot it to you straight and look you in the eye. And it's all because we love you.

Let the Phest begin.

You know, folks, even in the modern age of liberated condom awareness, the general public still clings to that age-old embarrassment when buying the darn things. From working at a convenience store last summer, D. knows first-hand that the condom consumer is more interested in getting quietly back out to the parking lot than carefully selecting the brand that's right for him (or her). And we think that's a dangerous state of affairs. It's not enough to just have condoms out in the open -- we need to get acquainted with them as well, to learn their subtle distinctions and various features, indeed, to make them our friends.

To do our part toward the growth of prophylactic intimacy, we decided to conduct a test. Ideally, we would have let every brand on the market participate in our examination, but since we (and not the student-funded Phoenix) were financing the project, this was impossible. Instead, we selected two brands: 1) the first one that came to mind, and 2) the one that impressed us most upon close discrimination at the drug store. In this way, we hoped to show the advantages of levelheaded, scrupulous condom judgment over the quick, imprudent grabbing of a random rubber late Saturday night at Fast Fare.

The Phest Tests the Condom Kingdom The only brand name we could think of before shopping was Trojan, so we got Trojan-ENZ. The second selection was LifeStyles Extra Strength, which, in addition to looking all-around classy, bore a gold seal proclaiming it the "Strongest Condom Made in the U.S." Each was a lubricated model (although the ol' Trojans were much more so than the LifeStyles), and each came in a three-pack costing $1.99. Ed himself experienced that tittery little red-facedness when he bought the two packs (along with the Alka Seltzer, which we'll explain later), while D. opted to hang around outside Kerr Drugs, lest anyone think we planned to use our purchases together. Next, we bought the Ball Park (plump when ya' cook 'em) Knockwurst-sized franks and headed back to Phun Phest Labs at Ed's place to begin the first of our three meticulously-designed tests of stress and endurance.

PHASE I: The Upset-Rubber Alka-Seltzer Explosion Test

The Phest Tests the Condom Kingdom We designed this one to find out how well the "sausage-sheath," as it is commonly called in some social circles, handled rapid expansion and pressure-changes. We wiped off all that yucky lubrication junk (which, in the heat of passion, is unnerving enough, but is downright nasty when you're just standing around fully clothed) and stuffed six Alka-Seltzer tablets into each one. Then, we simultaneously added a pre-measured amount of distilled, Rocky Mountain spring water and tied a knot in each latex sock. Obviously, the cheaper one would bust first, and the Trojan did just that. It was a mere 30 seconds after the reaction began when it blew apart, spraying its contents all over the kitchen, but especially on D. The LifeStyles, on the other hand, is still holding strong as this report is being composed, some 24 hours later. A little air's leaked out, but hey, what do you want? Aluminum siding? The Phun Phest's Pick: LifeStyles Extra Strength.

PHASE II: The Throbbing Hot Dog Test

The Phest Tests the Condom Kingdom Everyone knows a Ball Park Frank plumps when you cook it. Well, similar things can happen on the battleground of love. This test is designed to determine the combat-worthiness of our subjects. It works like this: Take the knockwurst and slip it into its elastic armor (the lubrication was an appreciated boon here). Tie a tight knot just beyond the end of the frank, and pop those "piggies in blankets" into the microwave. That's just what we did, and two minutes after pressing START, the rubbers began to blow up like balloons. The LifeStyles blew up much more quickly than the Trojan and was the first to explode. Apparently, the franks let off their own kooky gasses, or there was condensation or something, and since the LifeStyles was more airtight, it went first. The winner of this trial depends on how you interpret it. Since the knots in the condoms were different, that could account for the LifeStyles holding air better, and this doesn't imply that the Trojan is stronger. The Phun Phest's Pick: Too Tough to Call.

PHASE III: The Truck Winch of Elongated Doom

Different people come in different sizes. The worst thing in the world is for an XL man to get saddled with an XS product. And since these things work on the one-size-fits-all premise, we felt morally obligated to make sure they really do fit all sizes. We weren't sure exactly how strong these things were, and since we wanted to ensure a simultaneous and equal ratio of foot-pound/torque per newton-squared, we decided to use the handy winch on Bessie, Ed's faithful old Ford pickup. We looped a string around a tree and tied off each end to a separate condom.

Then we tied another loop to the other end of each one, and hooked the winch to it. This way, each would experience equal stress at the same time. We started up the winch and watched to see which one snapped first. It turns out that the Trojan again yielded first, at its maximum length of about 18 inches (which we hope would be adequate for most of our readers). The LifeStyles, upon examination, was unbroken on the whole, but it did have one of those "little pin-holes" that your sex-ed teacher always warned you about. This is important, folks, 'cause one tiny opening is all it takes for a sperm or the AIDS virus to sneak through. True, the LifeStyles exhibited this flaw, but only after the most extreme and rigorous abuse, so as long as you don't hook your condom to a truck winch before you use it, you should be OK. The Phun Phest's Pick: LifeStyles Extra Strength.

We realize that these tests might seem a little silly, or perhaps even absurd, but we're doing it to make a point. The point is:

Please use a condom, and use it right.
So you'll have safe lovin' all through the night.
You may not get pregnant, but maybe you might,
And protected from AIDS, you'll surely sleep tight.
'Twixt LifeStyles and Trojans, there's a clear choice,
And loudly we sing it, with pride in our voice.
If you plan to "make whoopee," a condom's the thing,
And out of all rubbers, LifeStyles is king.

So long, and till next week, wrestlin' fans, wrap that rascal!

D. Trull wants something round and crisp and buttery-tastin'. When he wants a cracker, he wants a Ritz.

Ed Davis wants you to remember one simple thing: This is Ford country, buddy! And on a quiet night, you can hear a Chevrolet RUST.

(Originally published in The Phoenix Student Newsweekly, November 17, 1988.)

D. Trull