Condom couture: rubber meets the runway

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A cavalcade of feisty exotic animals, anthropomorphic fruit, and some five variations of a walking American flag hit the runway this past weekend as part of the 4th Annual Latex and Lace Condom Fashion Show.

An event that attracts thousands of students jockeying to see student-designed fashions and costumes that incorporate condoms, packaged or unrolled, as a central element, Latex and Lace is produced by Montana State University Health Promotion. The event offers free admission to the public.

Biff’s Condom PSA

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This year, the Latex and Lace show featured a runway that extended luxuriously through all three SUB Ballrooms, a live music set piloted by DJ Missy O’Malley, a full-wall projection of various condom factoids and a panel of celebrity judges, including ASMSU President Kiah Abbey and Billy McWilliams, owner of Bozeman’s Erotique Adult Botique. Over 36 student models presented, representing groups as broad as MSU’s Women’s Center and as small as Hannon Hall’s Sophomore floor.

As rubbery peacocks, fairies, butterflies and spectres of Mardi Gras pranced down the stage to the cheers of row after row of students, MC Levi Barbao cooed, clucked and added an overtly saucy angle to the night’s proceedings. As Barbao commented personally on each model’s display, judges kept tallies for special awards and students weighed in on a People’s Choice Award selection. Although a latex rendition of the Spice Girls was a heavy contender for the coveted title, the award ultimately went to a group identified as “The Heavy Petting Zoo,” whose members included a “Cum-meleon” and a “Spread-Eagle.”

During an intermission, a vibrant yellow latex-covered podium was hefted onstage by two suited and sunglassed men. From behind the podium, the MSU Exponent’s mascot, Biff the Bobcat, who is also a puppet, announced his candidacy for the upcoming campus student senate elections, promising to “lubricate the financial aid process” and provide a “climax” for each student’s college career.

Amongst smiles, laughter, and, when prompted, a stunning roar of the crowd, each attendee left with, the event organizers hoped, a better understanding of the exhilaration of safe sex. “I don’t want any kid to be ashamed of condoms,” said coordinator Cassandra Theis, who saw the show as promoting “honest, open communication” about sexual activities.

Perhaps Missy O’ Malley put it most concisely when students rose from their seats after the show. As attendees trickled out of the ballrooms, she exhorted over the P.A. system: “Cover your stump before you hump!”