PVV – looking to buy a bridal shower gift in a retail sex store …and failure

A girlfriend of mine is getting married this month; and, in the midst of everything else holiday this December, we all recently threw her a bridal shower. And though Ms. Sassypants didn’t want a Magic Mike-type dildo lollypop party, far be it from me to refrain from incorporating *any raunch at all* into her very ladylike brunch.

So I went walking out in my neighborhood to a sex shop located very prominently on a mega-shopping/tourist boulevard… Adventure!!

First, two points of clarification:

1. I’ve been in a ton of sex shops, brick-and-mortar storefronts that run the gamut. From the exquisite Hustler store on Sunset to the quirkiest little retro place in St. Pete Beach, from neon emporiums to literally sticky “stores” located off the 35 in Central Texas, I’ve got a pretty decent grasp on what’s out there.

2. My friend, Ms. Sassypants, is an interesting mix of brassy bold and very austere. She runs one third of an extremely large and successful corporation, she’s a yoga monkey, and she’s open to every new person and experience… but she also does some very specific things in very specific ways.

So when I went to the sex shop in search of a gift, I was looking for something a little fun and sexy, but also classy… maybe something therapeutic and organic… you know.

I thought this would be a no brainer at my neighborhood sex shop. Like I said, it’s located right in the middle of a very prominent, well-trafficked shopping area with a lot of high-end stores. I had visions of a gift certificate (…because I wasn’t going to pick out a toy for her, come on!! besides, that would be a fun adventure for her and her soon-to-be-spouse) placed in the middle of some sexy soy candles and lavender/pheromone/sensation-based lubes and massage oils etc. A beautiful gift basket!!

But it was not to be.

Putting it kindly, the store was definitely on the seedier end of the sex shop spectrum. Putting it less kindly, the entire place was a disaster!! It was dirty and disorganized, the walls were jam-packed with product but the store still felt empty due to very little use of floor space, and – in a particularly genius move – things like higher-end lubes and whatnot were placed right next to harder toys… like a stack of Fuck Me Silly products. No. Joke. And the DVD selection, the one that was in the basement and lit by buzzing neon lights? Yikes!! Depressing.

shunga-secret

(pictured: something like these Shunga products…)

timthumb.php

(pictured: …located near something like this Pipedream product – hmmmm)

Now, I’m no fung shui display expert; I don’t know anything about running a brick-and-mortar store of any kind; and aside from a summer stint working in the Kids and Shoe Departments at Target when I was 18, I’ve never worked anything even sort of retail. But I’m a pretty experienced consumer (hey, I live in the US – it’s what we do), and I’m fairly well-versed in sex-related products. I didn’t mind taking it all in…

…and I was shocked at this store – I couldn’t imagine a set-up that would be less conducive to the enticing the (apparent) type of shoppers milling the streets outside. I couldn’t imagine a person popping in for some lube after a fancy lunch and some retail therapy… well, actually I could imagine it… I just couldn’t imagine it happening at this store. And I couldn’t imagine my Sassypants friend having an enjoyable experience with her partner in this place. The Hustler store maybe (shoulda gone to Hollywood…), but not here.

Maybe I’m wrong – my neighborhood sex shop was obviously existing, but the entire experience bummed me out. I wanted to support adult retail, and I wanted to support my local economy. Alas…

In the end, I got some dumb gift card from some dumb chain store. Bummer.

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