Cocoa Condom Coffee Klatsch

(Photo: Sixteen lanyards of chocolate-flavored condoms make for a colorful lay lei.)

When Pastry Chef Chris gave Hoosierella the 18 extra chocolate-flavored condoms in May at our weekly Lido’s Caffé coffee klatsch in Oak Park, no one expected them to come back.

“Actually, there’s 16 of them now,” said Hoosierella last Tuesday, with a sheepish grin. “I figured I’d keep two for me and the hubby to find out whether there’s truth in advertising.”

A month ago, ‘Rella shared among our core coffee threesome her burning desire to find an unusual gag gift for a family wedding. “I just want something they’re going to remember,” she said.

The response from Chris pegged the conversational tenor of our weekly meetups perfectly. “You know, I do have a couple dozen extra chocolate-flavored condoms on rainbow-beaded lanyards out in my trunk.”

Scooby-huh?

To our surprise, Chris overcame our collective look of befuddlement with an actually plausible answer. “They’re leftover from an LGBT fundraiser I staffed for a health clinic at the Crowne Plaza during Bear Pride.”

‘Rella didn’t miss a beat in responding. “I’m in!” she exclaimed. “They’re perfect! I can throw them outside the church instead of rice!”

Last week, though, her tone was far more flaccid. “I couldn’t do it, I just chickened out,” she said. “Although several relatives emailed me thank-yous for not going through with it.”

It’s amazing how foolish a person can feel upon returning a fistful of unused chocolate condoms in a group setting.

“Don’t worry,” said Gay O.J., re-joining our group for the first time in weeks. “We’ve all felt like that.”

I sensed a story coming. Remembering O.J.’s last tale of driving to Wisconsin to cure a license suspension there and then fleeing the local fuzz once spotted behind the wheel (his nickname is what it is for a reason, the month-long felony lockup should happen before summer’s out), I almost pulled out a note pad.

“This year I ran into a guy online who I met in France a decade ago,” he continued. “I was renting house in Paris and met a local who asked me to meet him later at a club on a street I thought I knew. So I went and waited, but he never showed up. Everyone there looked at me like I didn’t belong, and it didn’t make sense until the naked guy walked up from the basement.”

Conversational tenor, your table is ready.

Gay O.J. went on. “So I asked the doorman and it turned out I was in a sex club next door to where I was supposed to be.”

“So was he next door?” asked Chris.

“Oh yeah, we had sex,” said O.J., matter-of-factly. “And that was that until I ran into him online. He was coming to Chicago and I asked if he wanted to get together. He said yes.”

Honestly, none of us saw it coming.

“When he got off the Metra, I told him it was nice to see him again, and he looked at me all puzzled and said, ‘What are you talking about? I’ve never met you before in my life.’”

And…?

“Oh yeah,” said O.J. “We had sex.”

I looked at Chris. “I’d ask you if you had a sex story but I already know you don’t have anything recent to tell.”

“Not after what you put me through,” he snarled.

“Me?” I pouted. “How about that lunatic ex-boyfriend-slash-roommate of yours that you finally got rid of? Speaking of which-”

“Oh no! Here comes the J- word,” said Chris, referring to the real name of my fake physician boyfriend formerly known as Sonny. “And we almost made it through an entire evening at Lido’s without hearing it.”

“No, listen,” I protested, as everyone else’s eyes started to roll back in their heads. “I think I finally figured Doctor Dementia out.”

“What, again?” derided Chris.

“Yeah, I was reading this website,” I said. “Three words: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

“Three more words,” said Chris. “Get over it!”

The banter’s like foreplay for the two of us. A way to navigate through our post-romantic friendship while reminding each other how lucky we both are to still be in each other’s lives.

Hoosierella pulled no punches: “You two are like an old married couple, you know that?”

There was still the question of what to do with 16 chocolate-flavored condoms. “Do they have an expiration date?” asked O.J.

“I dunno,” said Chris. “I guess I’ll just take them back to work and recycle them.”

I shudder to think of the symbol on the side of that recycling container.

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