“Sexy Time: Splitting The Bill On Plan B” Response

22 05 2009

plan-b-1

I’m not typically one to respond to many things (phone calls included), but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a debate rage like the one over on CollegeCandy’s “Sexy Time: Splitting The Bill On Plan B.” It seems pretty split down the middle: many agree with Lena, while the other half is of the complete opposite opinion. So what exactly is causing so much of a fuss?

In Lena’s own summary, she describes the situation as “Guy meets Girl. Guy buys Girl many, many rounds of drinks. “Where are your condoms?” Drunk Guy asks. Drunk Girl thinks. Drunk Girl thinks some more. Meanwhile, Drunk Guy performs a couple warning thrusts. Several thrusts later, Drunk Guy’s endurance reverts to that of a 12-year-old boy. Girl, no longer drunk, is not pleased.” Both parties then agree that Plan B is the best option; however, at $50 for the pill, the Guy flakes and offers that the two go halfsies.

At first glance, I was with Lena: this Guy is a total flake. Her friend didn’t have a job, and was rightfully insulted by the Guy’s stingyness. However, upon rereading it, and thinking, I’ve come to another conclusion: if you can’t afford the potential consequences, you can’t afford sex.

Allow me to explain. my first point: Lena’s friend was in a one-night stand. Perhaps she didn’t know that she would be going home with some dude that night, but one thing’s for certain, it pays to be prepared. The Guy was not prepared – no condom – and that’s a tick off of his score. However, the Girl didn’t bring any of her own condoms, and wasn’t taking birth control – a tick from her side.

Some might say that it wasn’t her responsibility to bring a condom, and that the guy should have handled it. To this I say, yes, he should have, however it was her responsibility to do so if she even thought she might go home with someone that night. Maybe it’s not on her list (“lipstick, cell phone, OH! Condoms!”) but not only can unprotected sex get you pregnant, but there was another hidden risk: he could have had a nasty STI.

If she wasn’t going to bring a condom, then she should have been on birth control, health permitting. Now, Lena mentions that the Girl isn’t very well off right now, so perhaps the Girl couldn’t afford birth control. But that should be another warning sign: if you can’t afford to be prepared, you can’t afford sex.

Next, as the commenter Jamie points out, the article seems to imply that the method of pulling out would be sufficient for the Girl and Guy. Sure, at that point, it probably would have been better than nothing, but the fact is is that pulling out is hardly effective – a 27% failure rate with a near-perfect execution. That means that 1 in 4 girls will become pregnant with using the withdrawal method alone. So, when the Guy told the Girl that he didn’t have a condom, she could have stopped right there – it’s a lot of self-control, and maybe more than any intoxicated person could have, but there was the choice, and she didn’t make it.

On that note, it would also seem, from Lena and the commenters, that the usual time guys pay for contraception is in a committed relationship, when the guy is your boyfriend. As I said – the Girl didn’t know the Guy. Why should he pay for her, when she agreed to casual sex, and didn’t walk away when they didn’t have protection? She made her choice, he made his, and then they both agreed to use Plan B. She was equally at fault for this conundrum, as much as it hurts to admit it – why shouldn’t she pay her half?

So, my next question is what would the Girl have done, had the guy not even offered to split the cost? The Girl cannot afford (or doesn’t want) birth control – could she have afforded the $50 Plan B on her own? The Guy could have left the morning after, or outright refused to help pay for the emergency contraception at all. Sure, it’s half his fault, but it takes two to tango; it’s half her fault as well. So yes, $50 is a small price to pay versus the alternative of a kid, but the Girl didn’t know him – she’s lucky he paid at all.

Now, Lena and the “pro” commenters mention a few other things. First off, many equate this situation to a broken condom, which it most definitely is not. A broken condom is chance – choosing to have sex without a condom is choice. A broken condom is (most likely) not either party’s fault – not using a condom at all is both’s fault. Also, Lena mentions the fact that “pregnancy [is] an inherently unequal burden.” I am not debating the validity of this fact. However, the statement that the guy should pay for the Plan B because otherwise the girl would have to carry the baby while he got off scott-free is weak, insinuating that because a guy wouldn’t have to lug around a kid for 9 months, he should have to cover all the bases to prevent it. This is false: a girl should prepare herself for situations, not rely on a one-night stand to do it for her.

This is a stark example of what could happen to any girl, and, in my opinion, Lena’s friend was lucky. While in a perfect world, the guy would foot the bill completely, that’s not how the world works most of the time. My guess is the guy was thinking like most of us would: he thought of all the drinks last night, and saw the cost of the Pill, and balked. Which brings one last question: was the Guy even fully aware of the Girl’s monetary situation, since they had just met the night before? Another factor in the equation.

My verdict? The Guy, while a total loser for not having condoms, was perfectly reasonable in asking her to split the cost of Plan B. He figured it was as much her fault as his – and it was. She didn’t come prepared (and neither did he), she didn’t say “no” (and neither did he), and she wanted Plan B (and so did he). It all boils down to this:  she couldn’t afford sex. So, while her financial situation is definitely a factor, she still chose to have unprotected sex – a much more costly choice than birth control or emergency controception.

Again, Lena Chen’s original article can be found here. Her blog can be found here. I take no credit for her original story or argument, only my opinions on it.

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3 responses

22 05 2009
Anna

Overall, I agree on this one – they both screwed up (didn’t have condoms – had sex anyway), and so the cost split is fair.

What I disagree with is the girl “not being on birth control” – mostly because the pill can have some wacky side effects, and a lot of people not in committed relationships won’t choose to take it anyway, because it doesn’t prevent against that nasty STI at all either. So while I think you can /definitely/ fault both of them for being unprepared and not having condoms and then having sex anyway, I don’t think her “not being on birth control” is really a factor here. For the STI issue, if nothing else!

22 05 2009
vivalafrosh

I would agree with that – however, I figured it was worth mentioning, if only from a bare-minimum “pregnancy prevention” point of view, as BC pills are so widespread nowadays and also the most effective method of birth control.

23 05 2009
Waitaminute

What were they buying their booze with, coconuts?

I’m baffled here, when the objective was inebriation and fornication, the money was there. When the objective was not being pregnant, suddenly money’s tight?

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