So I went Googling today. Subject? Alternate uses for condoms. Really, you say? Really. In my current story, I wanted some other reasons my heroine would have for toting around a large box of condoms. No don't ask, but trust me, it was an interesting research project.
Along the way, I read all about the history of the condom... including the condom developed way back when in Japan--using thin sheets of horn or tortoiseshell. It didn't sound like it would be comfortable on a whole lot of levels.
And there were other pitfalls along the way. For much of the seventeenth through the early twentieth century, condoms were illegal. The early feminist movement was opposed to condoms because they gave men the power to make reproductive decisions. Hmmmm. And in what way is this bad?
Anyway, alternate uses for a condom. If you're ever in the wilderness and need a water bottle, whip out that condom in your wallet or back pocket, rinse it out well and fill 'er up. Tie shut. Nestle in crook of arm as you would a baby. One emergency water bottle.
If you find that you have a burning urge to take a picture underwater or if you just want to "water proof" your camera, whip out another of those condoms and slip the camera inside. Tie shut. Ditto for the cell phone. Or other small electronics.
So you're camping and you sense a rainstorm about to descend. Pack your matches and extra tinder in a condom to keep it all right and tight until after the storm. Actually, just keep it in there because that morning dew is also a match killer.
One enterprising young man ran out of clean socks and used condoms instead. Now I'm not sure I would go there except if my shoes were wet, that might not be a bad idea--especially if I had a very thin pair of cotton socks to slip on first. In that same vein, a condom over each glove would keep the hands dry in a snow storm.
A slightly perverted cook used a condom to make a giant boiled egg. Ummm. Well, if you really want to know, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the url. It worked quite well, much to my surprise.
Another young man used condoms to make some seriously funky party lights. Since my book takes place in the wilderness, I didn't particularly find that one useful, but it was interesting.
In one of the smaller African nations, the natives use the lubricated condoms to polish their shoes as shoe polish is far more expensive than condoms. Picture that...
And in India, the sari makers use lubricated condoms on their sewing machines to keep the thread from tangling. They also use them to polish the metallic threads.
The military also has several secret ways that they employ condoms but I suspect it I tell you what they are they'll deploy me someplace really cruddy so we'll just let you use your imagination.
If you thought there was only one reason to have a box of condoms around the house, think again. How about you? Do you have a nifty alternate way to use a condom? Speak up!