Thank You for the Judgmental Stare: One Gal’s Story of Buying Emergency Contraceptives

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short essay about my experience buying emergency contraception and how it shaped my view of adulthood.

Submitted: April 24, 2017

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Submitted: April 24, 2017



After living here for a year, I have to come to realize how truly expensive it is to live in a city like DC. I have also come to realize how truly expensive it is to be a sexually active adult. It’s nice to get fucked, but only if you can afford it. Condoms, bikini waxes, late-night Uber rides, and sexy underwear that don’t have period stains in the crotch; these are only some of the things I have had to pay for in pursuit of an orgasm. One of the most expensive costs of getting it on is the unfortunate moment when the condom breaks, or when there wasn’t a condom at all, and you have to make the uncomfortable trip to Rite Aid to buy an emergency contraceptive. It’s an inevitable purchase if you’re having sex.

When my time came to invest in some Plan B, I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed. I was more concerned with the hefty price tag. It was hard for me to comprehend how I was about to spend the last sixty dollars in my checking account on one single pill. At the time, I was extremely broke. I was living off of meal swipes and had about seventy dollars in my account for things like cigarettes, tampons, and other necessities. I had not made room in my budget for an accidental pregnancy.

The sexual encounter that led to my dilemma occurred one Sunday night during my first semester in college. I had gone out with yet another Tinder connection who I would eventually end up ghosting after three dates. He took me to a hookah bar in Adams Morgan where I had quite a few cocktails. We stumbled our way into an Uber around midnight and headed towards his apartment in Arlington. He lived in a very swanky building, which was a nice change from the shitty apartments the guys I dated usually resided in.

The sex was pretty good and I ended up spending the night, only to wake up in a panic at 6am when I remembered I had class in two hours. My head was pounding, I was nauseous beyond belief, and I couldn’t find my underwear in the darkness of his bedroom. I grabbed my shoes, whispered “goodbye,” and found my way to the lobby.

On the ride back to campus, I started to piece together memories from the night before. Everything was fuzzy in my hangover-addled brain, but I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I walked through the events of the previous evening in my head, from our flirtatious chats at the bar to the drive to his apartment to the sex itself. As soon as I arrived at my residence hall, I walked towards the designated campus smoking area to have a cigarette and clear my head.

I opened my purse to retrieve a cigarette and noticed the yellow wrapper of a Trojan condom sticking out of my makeup bag. I audibly gasped, suddenly realizing that in my drunken stupor, I had engaged in unprotected sex. I lit my cigarette and started sobbing.  

I forced myself to go to class that morning, but I was hopelessly distracted the entire time. I came back to my dorm and cried some more.I needed a pregnancy like I needed a fucking hole in my head. When my roommate arrived back from her morning class, I told her everything. She advised me not to panic because this thing happens to everyone, herself included. She then said two magic words: “Plan B.”

The first thing I did was google "does Plan B actually work?" Almost every website, Reddit page, and blog post recommended Plan B as the way to go. I was so relieved. All I needed was one little pill and I would be able to nip this issue in the bud. My relief quickly washed away when I noticed how much that one little pill cost. My reckless decision making was going to cost me sixty dollars and I wasn’t pleased.

I didn’t want to spend the money, but I figured that buying Plan B would be much cheaper than the abortion I would have to get if I did become pregnant. I won’t apologize for being blunt about the fact that if I were to get pregnant, I would have an abortion. I want an education, a career, world travel, a string of handsome lovers; these are all things a baby would get in the way of. I respect women who choose motherhood, but it's not for me.

Not wanting to risk flushing my hopes and dreams away, I decided that Plan B was a necessary purchase. I grabbed my wallet and began the short walk from campus to the Rite Aid around the corner. I texted my best friend and updated her on the fucked-up situation I had found myself in. She didn’t judge me or scold me for my stupidity. She told me to get the pill inside of me as soon as possible and joked that I should have the baby because she had a feeling it was triplets.

I entered Rite Aid and bee-lined towards the pharmacy. Sitting next to a row of condoms and lube was the box of Plan B. It was sealed in a plastic covering with a lock, presumably to keep it from the thieving hands of bad girls who have casual sex. Avoiding the long line in the front of the store, I decided to check out at the pharmacy counter. As soon as I got in line, I could feel someone staring at me. I turned around and noticed an older woman with a perm and a small white dog in her arms. She had a scowl on her face and was glaring at me and the box in my hands. 

I approached the counter and slid the box towards the checkout girl. She avoided eye contact with me as she unlocked the plastic cover and scanned the barcode at the bottom of the box. As I reached for my bag and receipt, I made sure to use my loudest, cheeriest voice to say “Thank you! Have a great day!” I flashed a smile at the bitch with the dog and exited the store.

As soon as I got back into my dorm room, I opened the blister pack containing the pill and washed it down with some orange soda. My roommate warned me I might get some cramps after taking it, but I didn’t care about the side effects as long as it did the job of stopping my ovary from releasing an egg.

I went to the rest of my classes that day, proud of myself for handling the situation like an adult. Thankfully the Plan B worked its magic and I never got pregnant. It scared the shit out of me though and I am now exremely careful about condom usage. 

So that was my Plan B story. Most women have their own, or a few. The one thing I will emphasize is that I never felt ashamed of what had happened. I admit it was my fault, but I have never claimed to be perfect. It was a mistake and in this case, I was able to handle it on my own. I didn’t need help from anyone else to resolve the issue and for the first time ever, I felt like a real adult. My advice is to try leave room in your budget for emergencies, always wear a condom, and don’t feel embarrassed if you find yourself needing some Plan B. 

Finally, to the state legislators who are trying to adopt restrictions on emergency contraception, fuck you.



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