Valentine's Day is about more than candy, flowers and romantic dinners, as could be seen this week at UC Berkeley's busy Sproul Plaza.
In case her costume wasn't self-evident, a young woman wearing a pale pinkish-colored shealth shaped like male reproductive organs stood in the middle of the plaza and called out:
"Come on, come on! I'm a penis – you know you want to take a picture with me! How often do you see a walking penis on Sproul?"
The woman – Cal senior Avry Schellenbagh – explained to Patch, "We're a bunch of students who got together for National Condom Week." National Condom Week is held each year to coincide with Valentine's Day.
Another student carried a basket of condoms handing them to passers-by, at least those who would take them. A colleague joined her, calling out, "Free condoms? Free condoms?"
Other students staffed an information table on the Sproul Steps landing, which also featured a photo-op board with a condom painted on the front and a hole where you could have your face photographed as the head of the condom. Another board was labed "Instructive Condom Toss," a game where you could toss surrogate condoms into orifices surrounded by drawings and labels of body parts.
The event – taking place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday through today, Valentine's Day – is presented by the Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) in commemoration of National Condom Week, which is timed to coincide with Valentine's Day.
The program is sponsored by University Health Services, also known as the Tang Center. The condom giveaway is the biggest of several SHEP events each year, according to the Health Services website.
According to a Facebook page for National Condom Week in 2010 from Planned Parenthood Action, the annual event originated at UC Berkeley in the 1970s.