dimethirwen is a prolific journalizer. She's one of those lj friends that I do not interact with much, but whose entries I always read, and man, I'm glad I read this. |
Lengthy, but delicious. Enjoy.
I Used to Be a Girl Scout. Or, Valentine's Day at the Sex Store
* Feb. 15th, 2008 at 2:35 AM
I am standing behind the glass counter balancing three boxes of programmable vibrators when the thought strikes me. I drop them on the counter and look over at Ayanna.
“I used to be a Girl Scout,” I said.
“Like, Brownies, and stuff?”
“Yeah, except I did the whole thing – Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, and Seniors. I was a Girl Scout until I graduated from high school. I went hiking and earned patches and... I volunteered at a nursing home.” I look back down at the vibrators. “Somewhere, something changed.”
Ayanna looks back down at the basket of batteries in front of her. “Well, we all used to be children,” she says. She roots around for triple A batteries to go into the bullet in front of her.
A woman who has been idling around the counter for ten minutes notices the lapse in conversation and comes as close to me as is humanly possible. “I need,” she says, in a voice that is barely audible, “I need a dildo.”
I drop my voice far below my normal tone. “What kind?”
“What's the biggest one you have?”
I bite my tongue to keep from laughing. When people ask this question, my immediate reaction is to go for the shock factor. And I do this with Bam.
Bam is the largest dildo in Pleasure Place, and a “realistic,” as we call them. At thirteen inches long and eight inches around, he's something of a monster. The box says “You need a thick, long, & massive ebony cock,” but Bam is more than that. He's a work of art. Tender creases, soft bulges, delicate veins running his length and girth... he's like the Mona Lisa. Just... more functional.
I reach into the glass case and pull out the battered green box. It has been opened so many times that the top flap is practically worn through. I set it on the counter with a slam. The woman's eyes widen slightly as I pull Bam out, plopping him suction cup end on the glass surface. I yank the plastic bag off with a flourish.
The woman pulls her arms closer to her body. “Perhaps,” she says, her voice cracking slightly, “something a little smaller.”
I look sadly at the thirteen inch dildo that is slowly rocking back and forth from the motion of his dramatic presentation. Everyone always thinks they want “the biggest dildo in the store” until they see him. I put the plastic bag back on, pull him off the glass with a loud POP, and stick him back in his box. I pat him slightly as I do so. “Don't worry Bam,” I say. “We'll find you a home soon.” Bam doesn't seem perturbed by this latest rejection. Bam and I, we have an understanding.
I have never hated Valentine's Day more than I hate it today. And that's saying something. This isn't the normal Valentine's Day bitterness, either – if I could be home, in my pajamas, reading and eating Girl Scout cookies, I'd be far less bitter. But no, I have a nine hour shift at one of two DC sex stores on Valentine's Day, and I desperately want to impale myself on a riding crop. Or, at the very least, knock one or two really annoying customers upside the head with Bam. Earlier, people were trying to get their last minutes Valentine's shopping in. Now that it's later in the evening, amorous couples are returning from their romantic dinners completely shitfaced and wanting to peruse our selection of butt plugs.
“JIM! JIM! LOOK, JIM!” A woman with platinum blond hair who might be as old as my mother is standing in the bachelorette section, wearing a rhinestone tiara with a bobbing plastic penis projecting from the front. “LOOK JIM. LOOK. LOOK!”
Jim is guffawing over a book entitled “The Art of Japanese Bondage,” but he turns and sees his wife. He laughs loudly, and she laughs louder, and I wonder how long it will take him to realize that there are far fewer pictures in that book than one might think.
As the woman wanders off in search of a huge but not so huge sex toy, I notice my new coworker struggling with a couple near the penis pumps. As I approach, she steps over to me.
“Can you help them?” She asks. “I don't know much about these.”
I step toward them. They are in their early thirties, and so drunk that I can actually identify the liquor (Grey Goose, and in obscene quantities). “Can I help you?”
“Yes. Yes. We'd like...” the woman sways, slightly, “well, you see, I want to fuck him...”
“Yeah,” the man agrees.
“And we'd like... I want his penis... to be... BIGGER.” She lifts her hands up to demonstrate, and nearly falls over. “I mean, it's not BAD, but I want it to be BETTER.”
“I see,” I said. I wonder why, in the name of God, there aren't rules about selling sex toys to people who are visibly intoxicated. “Well, as you can see, these are our pumps. This is a big seller.” I point to a box in front of her. “But I have to warn you, these have to be used properly, or they can cause serious damage to...”
“This one? Why this one? Have you,” she hiccups, and I get a powerful whiff of alcohol, “ have you USED it?”
“Well, no, I've never used a penis pump on a man.”
“Oh, you poor, poor *hic* dear.”
“No, I'm sure...”
“So, THIS one?” She points.
“Yes, that one.” I say. There is no answer except for a suddenly avalanche of boxes. She has just done a faceplant into the display, knocking over all of the boxes that has previously been arranged domino-style. Her husband leans over to help her, and he too loses his balance.
“Oh my, oh my.” She struggles to stand up. I help her, and her husband, to their feet. They shuffle toward the register, where I hand the pump to Ayanna. “This is for them.”
I turn and walk to the back of the store, picking up the pumps (trying to ignore the garish packaging – some of these are just plan awful) and putting them back in order. I look up just in time to see Ayanna sprint past me and run into the shoe section. She grabs the leopard print ottoman that has been placed against the wall and drags it to the front of the store. The intoxicated wife sits down on it, all the while protesting “I'm not that drunk, it's just that I...”
She mistakes the ottoman for a chair, and leans against the air, expecting a back. She topples off, legs in the air, skirt hiking up, stockings askew, and loses a heel. I rush over to help her back onto the ottoman. The husband is paying for the pump, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his wife is spread eagle on the floor of a sex shop while dozens of other couples mill around. I get her back onto the ottoman. She doesn't seem to recognize me. She says that I'm beautiful and lovely. I go and get her a cup of water.
In the back of the store, a couple is examining a pair of red boxers on a mannequin. “Can we have this pair?” they ask.
Sure, I tell them. I walk over to the mannequin – a buff, well toned, head and limb-less being who has the “V” that I love so much – and yank the boxers off with far more relish or force than is really necessary.
The man at the bookshelf is now complaining about the lack of pictures. “It's just a lot of DIAGRAMS,” he complains to his wife, who has removed the tiara and is now putting other things on her head – like the cock shaped ice cube tray.
“LOOK JIM. LOOK. LOOK. JIM. JIM! LOOK!”
Ayanna steps away from the register to help walk the drunk couple out of the store. I take over the register. A young man buys a riding crop with a red heart at the end. I give it a thwack against my calf, for good measure. It's surprisingly... nice? “$19.98 is your total,” I say.
“What?” he says. I realize that he's been drinking, too. Holy geez.
“$19.98. Like... like the year,” I add, unhelpfully.
“Oh.” He hands me a twenty. I am sad to give him back the riding crop.
I go back to the glass counter. A young woman and her boyfriend come over. She is short and curvy and full of smiles. He is slumping and soft, like a comma. “We need a strap on,” she says. “What's your biggest one?”
I pull out Bam.
The boyfriend's eyes widen and he shakes his head.
“What, too big?” the girlfriend says, innocently.
“Too big,” he mumbles.
I pull down some slightly less intimidating strap ons with harnesses, and as they look at them, I put Bam back.
“Not your night tonight, Bam,” I say.
From the other end of the counter, a young woman is waving a green box.
“Are these real police issued handcuffs?” she asks.
“Does it say that on the box?” I ask back.
“But what does that mean?”
“It means that there's no safety latch, so don't lose the key. It you come in here handcuffed to your boyfriend, we will laugh at you.”
“Oh.” She scrunches her nose up. “That doesn't seem like very good customer service.”
“Nevertheless... don't lose the key.”
I go to the leather room and get another riding crop like the guy had bought before. I walk around, whacking it against my leg. It feels really, really nice. It's actually alleviating my stress a bit. I make a mental note. “Riding crop.”
I stand against the mirror in the back of the store and watch people. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.
A man and woman are standing in front of the glass dildo case. The woman is making breathy noises of appreciation. The husband is practically yelling.
“God. One hundred and fifty dollars for that? Who would pay for that?”
I walk over. “Sir, these are hand blown glass dildos. They're works of art.” Thwack.
He snorts. “Sounds like a scam to me.”
I bristle. “Sir, have you ever blown glass? Do you have any idea how much craftsmanship goes into each of these? Not to mention the fact that they can be boiled, frozen, that they absorb body heat, can go in the dishwasher, are completely easy to sanitize, will last a lifetime, and are gorgeous to boot. If I had the money, I'd own ten of these. At least.” Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.
The woman is still cooing over one of the prettiest models in the case. “Can I have that one?”
“NO,” he yells, and I walk away. I can hear him talking as I move to the back of the store. “Can you believe her? What do you think her parents think of her?”
I shoot eye daggers at him until he leaves. Ayanna steps over to me. “Sometimes,” she says, “men get really intimidated by a lot of the women's toys. It hits some kind of nerve.”
My manager steps out from the back. “You girls handling everything all right?”
“Would you mind unpacking this last box of shipment? It's just lube.”
We take the box over to the counter, slit open the top with a razor, and tuck back the flaps. As Ayanna begins to pull out the shiny plastic bottles, I notice a box in the corner. The colors are... oddly familiar. I brace myself for something horrific – Naughty Girl Scout Cookies. But no. Just a normal, purple box of Carmel Delites (or Samoas, as some call them). I slide the box out and walk it back to my manager.
“Should I be weirded out by the fact that there was a box of Girl Scout cookies in the lube shipment?” I ask, handing her the box.
“Nah,” she says. “The supplier, he likes to send treats. Want one?”
“Sure,” I say. I take one. “Did you know I used to be a Girl Scout?”
“Yeah.” I give my leg a firm thwack with the riding crop. “A really, really long time ago.”