D.C.'s Condom Quiz

Government Site Matches Condoms to Personalities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 12: Pictured are a selection of condoms, in boston, Ma., March 12, 2004. The Bush administration is considering requiring warning labels on condom packages noting that the contraceptive devices do not protect users from all sexually transmitted diseases. (Photo by William B. Plowman/Getty Images)

    If you were a prophylactic, what kind of prophylactic would you be?

    It may sound like a bizarre Barbara Walters interview question, but it’s actually a strange part of the otherwise-laudable "Rubber Revolution D.C." project sponsored by the District Department of Health.

    In a city with a 3.2 percent HIV rate -- higher than that of West Africa -- any effort to promote safe sex is worthwhile. The "Rubber Revolution" website offers useful information on obtaining and using condoms, and on practicing safe sex in general.

    But the website has a weird '70s funk vibe to it -- you expect to hear Curtis Mayfield in the background when you open the page -- and even the use of the dated term "rubber" feels a bit off.

    By far the weirdest thing on the site is the "What Kind of Condom Are You?" quiz, which like all those loathed but pervasive Facebook quizzes, uses a few superficial questions to lead to an ostensibly whimsical result. Do you like cheeseburgers and fries? You might be a latex condom. Reality TV fans could be flavored condoms. If you like being in charge at work, you’re a magnum. (The quiz tells me that my "no-frills personality is suited for the standard latex condom." Gee, thanks, D.C. government.)

    Despite this misfire, the site has its uses. Free condoms can be obtained from the city through a discreet web form -- "mailed in a plain envelope" -- or, if you’re less shy, you can just "call 311 and tell the customer service representative that you want to order free condoms."

    Regardless of your quiz result, you’ll be getting magnums. In May, the Department of Health switched to distribution of the super-sized sheaths – because every man likes to imagine he needs one.

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC