March 3, 2010

#124: Visit the Sex Store In the Commons

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In high school, I went on a spur-of-the-moment trip with my friend to a store called Lover’s Package. It was like a was like an adult Toys “R” Us  — the store advertised on TV, did promotions on the radio, used colorful glossy signage, and had 20 different locations. Since everything felt so sterile and organized, going into the store was an extremely odd experience. Take my word for it — it’s extremely disconcerting to see dildos displayed as if they’re lollipops at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

The sex shop in the Commons (#124 on the Big Red Ambition list) is a little more modest and a lot less garish. It’s hidden away on State Street next to the Chanticleer bar, and I probably would have missed it entirely if my friend C. had not shown me the way.

The florescent lighting and cramped interior are definitely “classic sex shop,” if such a thing exists.

When we arrived at the door, we were promptly and carefully ID’d to make sure we were over 18, which, since I am easily offended when it comes to incorrect guesses of my age, I found slightly ridiculous.

Nothing more than a cursory glance would have been needed to discern that we were (a few years more than) barely legal, but I was actually afraid we would be questioned.Last year I forgot my driver’s license at an R-rated movie and the usher did not want to let me in. I almost punched her. This was almost as bad.

Inside, the store was separated into three aisles — videos and magazines, costumes and games / bachelorette party fare and sex toys. The employees were friendly, but unlike the people at Lover’s Package, none were scarily overbearing. Shopping for a vibrator isn’t really an “are you looking for something particular? We just marked down our best-seller, would you like to see it? Can I help you with that? Is this a gift or a purchase for you?” type of thing.

None of the merchandise was particularly shocking, and some of the costumes could barely be called slutty. I interned at an entertainment law firm last summer that did some adult entertainment work, and I was hoping to see one of the women who had come into the office for meetings or to sign paperwork on the cover of a video. Sadly, or perhaps luckily, there were no familiar faces.

The toy selection was pretty standard, except for a few weird body parts, including a scarily realistic-looking hand and a $300 vibrating butt. Talk about sticker shock. C. seemed to think the 25-percent-off sign made it acceptable, but I’m still having trouble figuring out who spends $225 on a plastic ass.

Since it was certainly out of my price range, I decided to purchase something a little more modest as a gift for my roommates. I headed to the game section, and debated between penis straws — only four to a package — and I knew my six-person apartment would fight over them, and light-up penis shot glasses (not long-lasting—they’d run out of batteries) until finally settling on a “pecker toss” game. It’s like ring toss, but so much better — especially when played as a drinking game.

My trip to the sex store wasn’t exactly epic, but it was fun, and I don’t know where else in Ithaca one can find both beginner and advanced dominatrix kits. Despite the sex store’s seemingly shabby décor, worn down carpeting and old shelves, its merchandise makes a trip there a superior sex shopping experience — I certainly didn’t see a single life-size butt at Lover’s Package.

Original Author: Jenni Warne