Why do bowling alleys have condom machines? (and other mysteries).


My spirits are lifted by the sea, the hills, a big expanse of open sky. Sometimes though to keep the children happy in the holidays, I have to go to places I’d really rather not. Two places I will happily wave goodbye to as they grow up: soft play centres (jungle gyms) and bowling alleys.

I do not know any parent who loves soft play. My local centre has its own Facebook page. This is possibly not their best advertising strategy seeing as the half term post they left ‘thanking everyone for coming to play and hoping they’d had a lovely half term’ was followed by no fewer than ten complaints and not one positive comment. It is a place where you go out of desperation, if you’re parenting alone at the weekend and the rain is coming down in sheets. The coffee is terrible. Whilst stories of used syringes being found at the bottom of ball pits are (I-am-hoping-to-God) just an urban myth, if you want the certainty of your children catching an unpleasant virus that they will take a week to recover from, soft play centres are ideal. On a busy day, if you could bottle the ‘essence of toddlers with nappies so full they are hanging round their ankles’ that permeates every corner of the place and sell it to take home and ward off burglars, you’d make a fortune. Still, your children will come home worn out, you don’t get wet and if you take ear plugs to drown out the screams of yet another child who has lost a front tooth coming down the giant slide, you’ll be absolutely fine.

So on to bowling alleys. I am scarily competitive with my children, but will write about that another day. Throwing balls at skittles though, whilst wearing clown shoes, in a place lit by neon lighting and dark enough to wipe out all sense that it could still be the daytime, does not float my boat. Then there is the sensory overload from the hundred television screens all showing different music videos (*can I still say music videos?) turned up to a volume that only people living in the next actual town could not still hear, combined with the overwhelming stench of carpets soaked in stale beer. The one I had the pleasure of attending last week also involving the staff playing mind games with us at reception. The conversation went something like this: ‘So it’s Ā£8.99 each but we’ve got a special deal on at Ā£6.99 with food’. ‘Oh, we don’t want the food, can we just get the deal and not have the food?’ (lunchtime was an hour ago). Cue receptionist looking really confused. ‘Um no, to get the deal you have to have the food.’ It ended up that we got the food as my friend and I didn’t want to be responsible for a member of staff having to leave work early with stress induced anxiety.

Last but not least, I fail to understand why bowling alleys feature condom machines in the toilets. Forgive me for saying so, but I’ve never been overcome with amourousness while subject to any of the above conditions. I have never, not once, felt the urge to shout ‘take me now husband, that shiny hard floor looks just right to lie down on and I’d really like to hear the word ‘STRIKE’ while watching a bit of Justin Bieber during the act’ that would require the emergency purchase of a strawberry ribbed one to avoid the obvious pregnancy that would follow. This is lucky, as otherwise I feel it could take the whole ’embarrassing mother thing’ that I usually enjoy playing on, a step too far. I would also have to give my children a lot more information than they’ve required on the act of human reproduction up until now.

There are many other things I question the need for in life. Don’t get me started on the existence of the baby wipe warmer, any item of clothing made in beige polyester or on Truman Show style holiday parks. Before I think of others, I had better ask if there is anything you won’t miss as life moves on and I will go off to calm down in the Spring sunshine while it lasts.

17 thoughts on “Why do bowling alleys have condom machines? (and other mysteries).

  1. This really made me laugh! I was thinking exactly the same thing about condom machines the other day. I can’t remember where I was but I had the option of buying a tampon or some condoms!

  2. “if you want the certainty of your children catching an unpleasant virus that they will take a week to recover from, soft play centres are ideal.”

    The last time I took my kids to one of these places *I* even got sick- with a fever, which never happens. I try to control my germ-phobia but these kind of places gross me out. I have four kids with a big age gap between the older and younger two, so by the time my younger ones came along I just said no to lots of things. Now they are 7 and 11 and they don’t care any more.

    I also made the mistake one time of saying something unflattering about bowling alleys (dark, smelly places) to a woman whose father owned one. She never really like me after that:(

    • You aren’t the only one – my 4 year old got the flu after last time which he then kindly passed on to me and his brother.
      As for the bowling alley comment, I think it’s pretty much impossible to go through life without putting your foot in it at least once!

  3. Things I don’t miss from being a step-mother: movies with furry creatures I would have never seen, amusement parks of any kind, bad soccer and lacrosse games and having to provide snacks for the team afterward, kid friendly restaurants. Mercifully, they never begged for the bowling alley. Your post was very funny

    • Yes I’ve seen plenty of talking animal films …. wondering when that phase is going to end. I am also the bacon sandwich rota organiser for my eldest’s soccer team so I’m with you there too.
      Glad you enjoyed the humour, I’m feeling the pressure of being funny but it definitely goes down better than the navel gazing šŸ˜‰

  4. Dropping by from Susie Lindau’s blog party. You’re right….that’s a strange place for a condom machine. Maybe the owner watched that old ’80’s movie “Reckless” with Aidan Quinn and thought every person has that kind of bathroom sex?

  5. This is so funny! I don’t know why they put condom machines there either!
    Thanks so much for coming to the party! It is never too late to click on a few links and say hello!

    • Thanks for coming over Susie. I am going to go back and look at a few more myself. I seem to be subscribing to more blogs than I can cope with now though!

      • I am in the same place…I try to get to the ones that stop by mine consistently first, but sometimes when the weather is nice, I just have to step away from the computer and start fresh later!

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