We all know that New Yorkers have a reputation of being pushy, cynical, and-gasp!-sometimes even downright mean. But I’d say in the overall scheme of things, much of that rep is undeserved. There are a lot of really nice New Yorkers out there, and I definitely try to be one of them. I like being nice. It makes me feel good and gets me good karma points. I also try to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that just because you screw something up once doesn’t mean you’ll keep doing it forever. I’m cool with second chances. Why not, right? Yet I have to admit, when it comes to mustering up fuzzy feelings of forgiveness, I can’t seem to do it for Charlie Sheen. When I hear his attempt at redemption by being a pitchman and proponent of condom use, the New Yorker in me raises a cynical eyebrow and says, fuhgeddaboudit.
Know what I mean?
Let me back up a bit and tell you where this is coming from. I was trolling the web recently and came across an article about a new kind of condom, the first major condom innovation in 70 years, at least according to the promo material. Ooooh goody! methinks, and as your intrepid Lady Smutter, I dive right in to see what it’s all about. The condom, called Hex, has been developed by luxury sex-toy maker Lelo. Their approach was to change not the condom material but rather its structure. Taking inspiration from nature, designers incorporated a hexagon structure into the condom to make it both incredibly lightweight and incredibly strong, thus increasing sensation for the wearer while minimizing fears of rips or tears. So far, so good. But wait! There’s more.
The reason Lelo wanted to launch a new kind of condom is two-fold. One, apart from abstinence (not happenin’ for the vast majority of us), there’s no better way to safeguard against unwanted pregnancies and STDs than via a condom. And therein lies the second reason: less and less people want to actually use them. As Lelo’s promo pitch states, “the condom is out of date.” So they set out to change that, and Hex condom is the result.
The new condom’s launch is imminent, so to drum up excitement Lelo decided it needed a pitchman. Enter, Charlie Sheen. Yeah, you know. The one with the “tiger’s blood” who’s “on a drug called Charlie Sheen.” Here’s a guy who isn’t afraid to talk. Self-proclaimed lover of adult film stars who once shared his home with two “goddesses,” Sheen’s also a guy who enjoys sex. Which is cool. But on the dark side, he knows the consequences of having unprotected sex when he admitted last year to being HIV positive.
So now he’s Lelo’s new condom pitchman since, as Lelo states, “there is arguably no other person who can so personally and actively drive conversations on sexual health.” When he admitted his HIV diagnosis to Matt Lauer and the world on the Today show last year, Sheen stated, “I’m not going to be the poster man for this, but I will not shun away from responsibilities and opportunities that drive me to helping others.” Well, you know, that all sounds positive and I’d sure like to get behind ol’ Charlie and pat him on the back for learning from his mistakes and all that…but there’s a problem. Even after receiving his HIV-positive diagnosis, Sheen admittedly, more than once, had unprotected sex with women. Nary a condom in sight.
When I watched the Lelo promo ad featuring Sheen, he tries to come through as sincere. As earnest. As a man whose life has been altered by foolish behavior and who wants others to learn from his mistakes. All that is a good thing, and I think part of him probably means it. And maybe it’s just the way the ad is shot, but Sheen’s over-the-top sincerity, for me, just makes him look like a fake. It’s not him wanting to promote responsible sexual behavior, it’s him wanting to look amazingly awesome. As he states at the end of the video, “people still want to be like me or experience my life.” For a guy with an ego as big as Sheen’s, there’s no other conclusion he could draw. If lots of people wanted to be like Sheen, no new condom in the world is going to protect us.
What do you think? Below is the ad. Have a look and share your reaction. And follow us at Lady Smut, where we’ll always be pitching our thoughts.