Sunday, April 11, 2004

Condoms and Classics 

Safer sex for all Latinists! Or, rather, a reference to posts in the new blog, The Virtual Tophet (not to be outdone by The Virtual Stoa in either virtuality or archaic references). Being entirely uneducated, the name first reminded me not of ancient Jewish custom but of the little sweets once called Toffets, since changed to Toffee Poppets - indeed, perhaps the name change occurred when they realised the sacrificial implications. But the idea of virtual toffee floating through cyberspace was quite appealing, anyway...

Josephine's post with regard to the ABC approach to safer sex - Abstinence, Be faithful, Condom use - reminded me of other misguided pieces of sex advice we've given to people over the years, including leaflets still floating around in some health centres, which tell their readers that the cap can help protect you against HIV/AIDS. I was also reminded of a bizarre conversation I had about 'back ender' condoms, when I was approached, as an 'LGBT expert', by the new welfare representative here a while back. I was asked if I knew where to get these 'gay condoms', as he'd been asked by straight people he knew to get them so they could have anal sex too. As far as I know, and I think it's on pretty good information, not only is there no such thing, but recent evidence suggests that you don't even need an extra strong condom for anal intercourse. So it's good to know such people are in charge of our protection advice...

And regarding classics, I agree with her completely that it shouldn't be taught in schools, despite also being surrounded by people who bemoan its decline. I was put off doing classics at university because I thought I'd never get anywhere in comparison to the people who already knew Latin and Greek, and I believe in my case I was right, or at least was right to choose politics, as it's in many ways changed my life. But there were others I've known who would have done fine and unhappily opted for other subjects not truly their vocation, just from fear of this. So yes, down with classics! (Keep It) Up with condoms!

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