We bought ourselves a new toy the other day, after dancing class. We’d had a giggly silly close and warm time, stopping for coffee afterward, and on the way home we pass the “fun toy store”. So, I randomly asked, “Do we need another toy?”
“Sure, if you’d like,” so I pulled into the lot and we went inside.
This place is definitely not Babeland. No, Babelandis clean, and well lit, and the displays are organized, it’s very open and airy, and you get the feeling from the moment you walk in that you’re in a place where sex and sexuality are something to celebrate and enjoy, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that we’re all here for fun and games and being silly and enjoying ourselves.
No, this place is reminiscent of the descriptions I’ve read of the seedy, run-down bordellos and the euphemistically named “massage parlors” of the old novels; this place speaks directly to the fundamentalist, puritan view that sex is bad, we should be ashamed, hang your head and hide your license plate from view. Dark, smoky, (even though New York prohibits smoking in any place of employment), the stunted man behind the counter in his dark glasses looks as furtive as the few other customers.
Browsing, the toys and shelves and DVD’s are much cheaper, both in cost and quality. Plastic imports from China and other labor-inexpensive places, the entrance to the viewing booths ($2.50 for 10 minutes, I wonder if they provide someplace to put all the jizz, or is it ‘clean your own’?).
We laugh a bit, giggling at the monstrous sizes of the dildos, dongs, plastic penises that are ranked like soldiers on the wall. Is there some rhyme or reason to the placement? A vast assortment of colors, materials, vibrating and not, silicone, latex and jelly, firm and squishy, butt plugs and whips, butterflys and nipple clamps. Latex costumes reside next to superman outfits, thigh-highs in various colors and fishnet stockings too.
I watch a couple of the other customers browsing, seeing their obvious discomfort, as they sneak glances around, as clearly as if they speak the hope that no one that they know walks in.
What would they say, should the next door neighbor wander in too? I mean, it’s pretty apparent what draws people to these shops, so why wouldn’t it be universal? Why the difference in knowledge that the neighbor with two kids is going to, oh my goodness, they’re going to have sex!!!! As if you’re not?
Contrary to Babeland, where the feeling is the polar opposite. There were other couples there, for one thing, holding hands, and instead of secretive silence, the customers would overhear one another, and make little jokes- “Wonder what this is?… Here’s a big one!” I overheard, from total strangers to one another.
The sales staff are women, and the stores themselves are owned and run by women, and I think that alone accounts for a great deal of the difference. The atmosphere, the lightness, the much more tidy and tastefully arranged stores; there are books, proclaiming that even literate people can have an exciting and playful sex life.
Overall, I guess, I much prefer the open and accepting attitude of the women of Babeland, and it certainly suits our new-found joy in sex and exploring better. Although, late on a Thursday night, when passing the local toy store, it’s nice to have it around; ‘specially since they had a nicely shaped vibrating butt-plug, suitable for beginners. (Said so, right there on the box).
Yes, we had fun!