On condoms

“Why,” I thought as I pulled a cucumber from the salad drawer this morning, “is it that cucumbers always wear condoms?”

Tears 2

This is something that’s puzzled me for about twenty years now, ever since one Saturday morning about twenty years ago. I’d gone to the farmshop round the corner from my parents’ house to pick up some eggs and other goodies, including a cucumber. The farmer giggled as he rang up the cucumber, “It’s wearing a condom.”

Sure, other fruit and vegetables come shrink-wrapped, but you can also get them without plastic; bare-backed if you like. I can see that it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense to individually wrap each banana in a bunch. But I have never seen, for example, courgettes similarly clad. And, since that fateful Saturday morning, I have never seen a cucumber on sale without its plastic protection.

This morning, I tweeted it:

Of all the fruit and veg you can buy, why is it that only cucumbers wear condoms?

So far, I’ve had three answers:

  • @IanRobinson: It’s boasting to make the bananas feel inadequate.
  • @SmallCasserole: they drew the short straw in the “who’s going to be the standard demo vegetable for putting on a condom?” trial
  • @Alex_Davenport: You dont want lots of baby cucumbers because unlike baby carrots and baby sweetcorn, they dont go well in a stir fry

Which means I have to ask: can you do any better?

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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11 Responses to On condoms

  1. They’re not. Most avocado pears are sprayed with latex to give them longer shelf lives. Which makes me allergic to avocado pears!

  2. Frank says:

    It’s something to do with having to avoid the peel.

  3. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    That cucumber mosaic virus is no laughing matter…

  4. Steve Caplan says:

    Because it is busy with all its cucumbines…

  5. rpg says:

    Richard, is that so? It would probably explain why it’s nearly impossible to find a ripe avocado. But it’s not quite the same as all cucumbers (*all!*) being wrapped up.

    What’s in appealing about peel, Frank?

    Steve, that’s truly terrible.

  6. Frank says:

    Richard – it needs an Italian or Latino accent. “If you have to avoid the peel then you should use a condom or you will get pregnant”.

  7. CHF says:

    You’ll find it’s in Google predictive search, which means it’s a common question, and there are many answers, along the same lines: to stop them drying out and going floppy(!), given they aren’t usually waxed. The ones with thick, bitter skins are not wrapped but are probably waxed. I don’t think I’ve seen them much in the UK, but they are common in America, where properly edible cucumbers are called “English” cucumbers (apparently in AU/NZ they are called “telegraph cucumbers”).

  8. rpg says:

    But that’s silly.

    Frank, that’s also very very silly.

  9. rehana says:

    Where do you live? I almost never see that. (I live in Seattle, but I don’t remember it in Pittsburgh either.)

  10. ricardipus says:

    I think CHF’s got it. “English Cucumbers” here come shrink-wrapped, and will definitely go floppy if left unprotected (you can make up your own joke if you like). “Cucumbers” are the North American kind, with thick skins that are usually peeled before eating. I never buy the latter kind.

  11. cromercrox says:

    I suspect it’s to stop them drying out, as they famously consist of 96% water. The smaller ridge cucumbers that one can easily grow on one’s allotment have thick, spiny skins and are a lot less fussy, but you have to peel them before use.

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