WARNING: frank sex toy talk ahead…
Adrian was checking out hotels for a feature for The Times in Bath and I went along for the ride because, as he pointed out (again) I really needed to stop wandering around the astral and start wandering around something real, like shops. I pointed out that nothing is real and the astral is a lot cheaper and he pointed out that that was exactly why I should go to Bath and that I still had a few vouchers left. I said he had a point and so off we went.
Anyhow, I was looking at Twitter on my iPhone (cos, stone the crows, it works in Bath!) and there was a tweet from @trailerbride saying simply, apropos of feck knows what, *Vibrators and chainsaws*. And I looked up and there, right in front of me, was Ann Summers, the sex shop. And I remembered, with a sudden flash of guilt, that I had promised (months back) that I would pop in sometime and get a vibrator for a friend of mine who refuses point blank (lot of points in this blog eh?) to walk inside one (the shop, not the vibrator). I had pointed out that she could order online but hey…
So in I walked, wincing at the ticky-tacky lingerie, stifling the urge to scratch my tits at the thought of all that nylon lace. Last time I’d been in Ann Summers they had the sex stuff tucked away in a room behind a curtain but now it had its own little carousel in the middle. Times change eh?
‘Can I help you?’ I nearly jumped out of my skin. Why do shop assistants have to pounce like that?
‘Yeah..well…I was just looking at the vibrators,’ I said. Self-evidently, as I had one in my hand.
And off she went, telling me about G-spot stimulation and so on, waving something that looked like a languistine at me. I couldn’t help wincing. ‘No, no, no,’ I said. ‘It’s not for me…it’s for a friend.’ And then promptly snorted as I realised that she must hear that line about fifty times a day. And fought the urge to explain but realised that would make it worse.
‘I mean…it’s not terribly aesthetic, is it?’
She gave me a puzzled frown. Oh god, what is the matter with me? It’s a vibrator, for pity’s sake and I’m worrying about how it looks? But, see, design matters to me.
‘Well, there’s this one,’ she said, with the furrow still between her brows. Take it off, love, you’ll need Botox if you’re not careful.
‘It’s pink,’ I said.
‘Well, yes. Most of them are. I suppose they think women like pink.’
Let’s just be clear here, we’re not talking skin tone, we’re talking bubble-gum, candyfloss, Barbie. Jeez, we spend an entire childhood swathed in pink and the torture continues when we’re grown-up, in the bedroom even?
‘She hates pink.’ Oh god, there we go again, the pitying look.
‘Er…does she like leopard print?’
‘Feck no! She’s not Bet Lynch. Oh look, that one has little diamantes round the bottom! But no…it looks like Mr Blobby.’
The assistant looked a bit faint. ‘However…she does like blue.’
I reached over and picked up another. Blue, blue, electric blue.
‘Yup, that’ll do.’
She looked vaguely disappointed in me. That I’d gone for something so…minimal. Design over function.
‘It isn’t multi-speed, you know,’ she tried gamely. ‘And it isn’t flexible. For example, this one …’ She brandished a thing that was waving two fingers and came with a control panel that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Enterprise. ‘… has four pulse patterns, three thrusting modes and three rotation speeds…and it’s waterproof. Maybe she’d like that?’
Feck! Does it make the tea afterwards as well?
‘Nah,’ I shook my head. ‘She just wants something…straightforward.’
And she does. She’d freak out over all the waving fronds. We got to the counter and I reached for my credit card. But we weren’t done.
‘Would she like some Buzz Fresh?’
‘I beg your pardon?’
Seems you need a particular specialist cleansing wipe for your sex toys. Bloody hell, it’s like when you buy shoes and they try to flog you the polish. Except, shit, this lot really have you in a bind, don’t they? You can hardly say, “Nah, it’s okay…I’ll just rinse it off” or “Nah, you’re alright, love, I’ve already got tons left over from the last one.”
‘Okay, bung it in...’ I said, to coin a phrase.
‘We have the bullet on special offer…’ She said, clearly knowing she’d got me now.
And, oh my… A teeny tiny vibrator that looks for all the world like a lipstick. Now that is clever.
‘They’re on special offer with other purchases.’
‘Go on then. I’ll have one of those…for myself.’ Because the idea of having a dildo in my handbag just amuses the hell out of me.
She looked triumphant. ‘Gold, black, blue or pink?’
'Sorry. We sold out.'
Anyhow. I walked out with a bag full of vibrators…and cleaning gunk...and a catalogue and feck knows what. The catalogue will be...interesting...because, see, I’m not really up to speed on this stuff anymore. Having tested them all out years ago, I found that electronic stimulation (while certainly a quick route to orgasm) results in (for me anyway) a slightly…what’s the word?... tinny experience. It’s a bit crude. As in there’s no subtlety about it. And yes, I know that sounds a bit pretentious but while I’m not terribly connoisseurish about food, I’m a bit gourmet-ish about orgasms. I mean, much as you might like steak and chips, you wouldn’t want it every day, would you? Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a nice bog standard sandwich or even, if you’re in a hurry, a Big Mac. But then again sometimes you crave something a bit more challenging, or even esoteric. Ah, it’s complicated. In fact, I’ve half-written two books on sex and maybe it’s time to go back to finishing them.. Maybe, come (sorry) to think about it, I should road-test the new models...
Adrian roared with laughter when I told him and we were still laughing as we got out the car and bumped into our next-door neighbour.
‘What’ve you two been up to then?’ he said jovially.
‘Oh, we're just back from Bath,’ said Adrian. ‘I was checking out hotels. Jane was shopping.’
He looked meaningfully at my one single (no logo) bag and winked at Adrian.
‘Wow…you got off lightly,’ he said.
Why do men of a certain age always assume that women don’t buy their own stuff eh? But that’s another post entirely.
‘Good things come in small packages,’ I said brightly, waving my bag, praying the damn things wouldn’t start off on their own accord.
‘Gold eh?’ he said. How did he know? And then the cracker...
‘Have fun, kids.’
Adrian and I just about made it inside before... dissolving into hysterical laughter.