GROSS OUT FRIDAYS: No One Told Me About the Used Condom Stuck to My Shoe

I stepped on a used condom that adhered itself to the bottom of my shoe and was now a biohazard flailing around at my heel.
Publish date:
February 20, 2015
gross, condoms, Gross Out Fridays

I like to think I have a relatively high threshold for disgusting experiences. I read Wetlands and was like, meh.

Unlike the main character of the book, I shower and deodorize on the regular, and if I can humble brag for a quick sec, my dental hygiene is IMPECCABLE.

I don’t harbor a pathological desire to seek out unhygienic experiences, but I’m comfortable with the fact that I’m kind of gross. Human bodies can be gross. You have, at one time or another, probably been gross.

I’m usually apathetic toward most everyday disgusting occurrences like the existence of mayonnaise, and I usually have something on my shirt.

I felt something sticky on the bottom of my shoe, but since I have enormous feet that crush everything in their path and tend to forever be stepping in discarded sidewalk gum, I didn’t stop to look at whatever was stuck there. I figured it was generic sidewalk debris. I wasn’t about to stop and pick whatever it was off the bottom of my shoe, so I kept walking, thinking it would flake off somewhere along the way but never that maybe possibly perchance IT WAS A USED CONDOM.

I stepped on a used condom that adhered itself to the bottom of my shoe and was now a biohazard flailing around at my heel.

I went to the ATM. I bought a 12-pack of socks. I spent an entire day unknowingly dusting genetic material across the greater Los Angeles area. If anyone I passed on the street that day noticed, they didn’t say anything.

Although, if I were to pass a stranger trailing a public health concern behind them on their shoe, I’d probably leave them alone and assume they didn’t want to talk about it.

I didn't notice the condom stuck to my shoe until I got to my apartment and managed to drag it across my bedroom floor, where it detached itself. I kicked my shoes off and turned around, where I saw what was clearly a condom crumpled in a sad, dirty pile on the carpet.

This came at a time when my life was basically one giant, endless used condom stuck to the bottom of my shoe, and I stood there for a while, trying to think of how I was going to get rid of this thing.

I felt weirdly interested in investigating the circumstances that had led up to this point. Whatever it was that culminated in the forensics I now had on my carpet must have been a torrid affair done in great haste, risking being caught in public, throwing cares and condoms to the wind! Good for them. Crazy kids.

I wadded up a bunch of paper towels, picked the thing up and tossed it in the trash. I cleaned the carpet and vacuumed every day for a week like I’ve never cleaned or vacuumed before, but it never felt clean enough after that.

The only way I can make sense of this horror is knowing that maybe I accidentally did something nice by accidentally picking up a condom that might have sat there for weeks on the sidewalk.

Want to contribute to this column? Send your gross stories or story ideas to with the subject line "GROSS OUT FRIDAYS."