rubber rainbow 

Laying new rubber in Whistler Most physicians in Whistler will tell you that the community has one of the highest incidences of sexually transmitted diseases in Canada. Bill Role, owner of Whistler's Rubber Rainbow Co., intends to put a wrap on those growing statistics. "I just want to be involved in the awareness," says Role, who recently moved back to Whistler to open the rubber room at the Timberline Lodge. "I'm not in it for the money, I just want to see a happy, healthy community." The concept of a retail outlet entirely dedicated to the sale of condoms was borrowed from Nanaimo. Through discussion with that community's Rubber Rainbow Co. Role concluded there could be no better place to duplicate the concept than Whistler. "I didn't want to open another T-shirt shop... I wanted to give something and provide something to the community," he says. Although his store has been open less than two weeks, Role says it has attracted the interest of several parents who have toured their sons and daughters through the store and its complete assortment of rubber. For some, it's a lot easier than relating the typical birds and bees story. "For a lot of parents I think it's difficult, so by sauntering in here you can make a bit of fun about it and once it's on the table it's easier to talk about it," he says. The store will eventually feature as many as 250 types of condoms, from ribbed protective latex from Japan and traditional Ramses lubricated models, to chocolate flavoured sheathes and novelty glow-in-the-dark rubbers. All condoms, aside from the two or three novelty models, are guaranteed to provide optimum protection. Or, at least, as much protection as a condom has proven to offer. And anyone purchasing a novelty item won't leave the store without true protection. Role will provide the shopper a real condom just in case. Women are snapping up these protective devices at a rate faster than men. Role has an explanation. "I think it comes back to the point that women usually end up getting stuck with the responsibility. And I think they are more comfortable dealing with this sort of thing. Men are the ones who have a hard time talking about sexuality issues."

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