From Natalie Jordan
I've spent my fair share of time in sex shops over the years, both as a customer and (very briefly) as the person behind the counter, and I've come to one pretty undeniable conclusion: there's almost no one who knows how to visit a sex shop in a casual, natural way. And let me assure you, no matter how carefree they act or how little interest they pretend to show in your purchases, retail workers at sex shops are judging the shit out of you. It's only natural, really. At any rate, given my experience as a frequent customer (I'm not ashamed) and an industry worker (that sounds worse than it is), I thought I'd compile five handy tips for how to shop for sex toys.
OK, so this doesn't happen that often, but I have seen it and it's pretty ridiculous. Throw aside, for as second, the fact that magazines like Cosmo and its ongoing production of infamously ridiculous sex tips tend to deal more with household items (you know, peanut butter and whipped cream) and actions than actual toys. Instead, they focus on the fact that you should be relying on the selection in front of you rather than one written up in a sex advice column. You may not want to linger at the shelves in a sex shop—particularly if it's one of those super seedy ones that looks like a weekend skateboarding hotspot outside and a post-zombie apocalypse VHS shop inside—but there are product descriptions. You'll look a lot less awkward. Also, you'll probably get a better stash of goodies if you browse the store rather than a magazine.
Alright, I've been on both sides of this one, so I understand: you don't want to run into anyone you know at a sex shop, so you throw up a hood, put on a hat, wear big sunglasses, etc.... I get it. But when you flip it around and put yourself in the store operator's shoes, dark and shady disguises are nothing short of creepy and alarming. Granted, there are now some pretty clean cut sex shop chains out there, with some Adam and Eve locations looking more like high-end fashion boutiques than sex shops. However, generally speaking, stores like these are seedy, dark, and off the beaten path—you don't want to add to the creepiness factor by lurking around in a hoodie and oversized shades. Plus, think of it this way: if you run into someone you know, they're probably as embarrassed as you are, so no harm done.
This is a pretty daring move for a lot of sex store shoppers, but if you can swing it mentally, try to think about it as nothing more than an ordinary retail experience. You can ask the person behind the counter for advice or opinions, and in all likelihood he or she will have something for you, even if it's just a recommendation based on sales. Think about the last time someone at Footlocker told you something like "Yeah, no one's really going for the Shox, but the new Jordans are flying off the shelves." Replace "Shox" and "Jordans" with sex shop items, and that's more or less what you can expect. No one trying to sell you a product is going to laugh at you for asking about said product, at least not to your face.
I borrowed this tip from AskMen, but it's a handy one. The idea may seem to conflict slightly with my first tip, in which I told you to focus on the shelves rather than other product lists, but shopping around online can at least give you the edge of understanding the selection you're going to encounter. Cosmo will poison your mind with ridiculous ideas, but some harmless online browsing can help you to gain legitimate knowledge on products and give you a few things to look for once you're at the store. This will probably help you to make better selections. Also, for those embarrassed to be spending time in the sex shop in the first place, it will almost certainly make things go more quickly, as you won't be starting from scratch.
For any retail employee, there's nothing more annoying than seeing customers browsing the shelves and laughing at products. It's just obnoxious, and anyone behind the counter is going to adopt a "how 'bout you just get out of my store" attitude in this situation. Well, when browsing through sex toys—particularly if you're with friends—it's easy to find yourself giggling and exclaiming at certain things you see. Try to contain yourself if you're prone to such issues. One tip, as noted by the AskMen article, too, is to shop with a member of the opposite sex, rather than your buddies, if you're determined not to shop alone. You'll have more to actually talk about and compare, and possibly less inclination to point and giggle.
Take advantage of these tips and you should be able to make shopping in a sex store as natural and productive as possible!
Natalie Jordan is a part-time blogger and freelance writer, she enjoys writing on topics related to sex, relationships, and anything else she finds intriguing. Most of all, Natalie hopes to start conversation with her work.
Whack-A-BITCH: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN IRRITATING CUSTY PLAYS THE GAME
Jackass Custys are (Totally) the New Black
As it happens on occasion, whilst working within the realms of Retail Hell, we meet a particularly egregious offender of the common good and perpetuator of the extreme Custy Asshole-ness gene. Someone, who if they met Dante Alighieri would have inspired extra rings to his Inferno. I'm sure I am far from alone in this affliction, in fact.
My most recent addition to the night-terrors that are my regular spate of custys is - charitably - a NAT and Discount Rat hybrid ... a new(?) breed of horrors: a DNAT(?). In the interest of fairness [and the lack of typing out her full series of iritatation-inducing-titles which would put any European royalty to shame in length and bredth], we shall simply refer to her as OHMIGAWDDTHATBITCH.
To best describe OHMIGAWDDTHATBITCH one should start with her Crystal-Meth face; now, I'm not saying I assume she does it, I'm just saying her face looks like you dumped her in a Meth Lab and she made sure there was nothing left. Her hair is so strung out it makes hay bales look deep-conditioned. Her smoker's mouth wrinkles make her under-40 look almost-60. And, look, I'm not one to comment on anyone's addictions to caffeine [many an ode to my love of my bitter, bitter black coffee can be found on my web-page], but dayumn, gurrl practically has a Starbucks tattoo (which would go with her bevy of truckstop hooker-style tattoos which even the hardiest Hipster would scoff at).
In other words: bitch be ratchet.
Surprisingly, OHMIGAWDDTHATBITCH didn't initially appear as a full-scale NAT-attack.
When she first began to stay at our property she was humorous. She was fun and funny to have pop by the Front Desk. She would come out with the most engaging little stories from her Retail Hell job (waitress). She was entertaining and accomodating. She paid her bills on the regular. She was all-things that one delights in in a customer [I loathe calling ANYONE a guest ... don't ask, long story]. She was ERMEHGERDDOHTHATLADY. And we all had fun with her - from my Front Desk staff all the way through to my Housekeepers.
But, every silver lining has a grey cloud full of Custy Hate Hail.
The first clue that the winter of my discontent was on the horizon was when she quit her job at the restaurant up the hill from my property (within walking distance, what with her having no car). She did so with no notice and all the while bitching and moaning over how the staff there was a "Fucking clicque".
When you join a team already-in-operation OF COURSE there are relationships already in-play and friendships formed. That's just basic, common knowledge. It's how you handle these preexisting relationships that defines how your role will play out.
Of course, when you're an entitled and self-obsessed [which is different from my raging narcissism] Custy Asshat this situation will not be an option or challenge on how to win friends and influence people ... no ... this will be the Red Flag of Doom issuing forth a challenge worthy of gauntlets and Medieval times.
So, she quit her job - she and her boyfriend-du-jour both hold retail, barely-above-minium-wage jobs - and then began slipping on her payments.
So, what with the boyfriend-du-jour now being the only job-holder, their room payments began to decline. Her conversations with myself and my GM began to be peppered with promises of "money down the line" and "don't worry, I'll pay". Her debt began to build up (and even with her massive "extended stay" discount, that adds up fast). It wasn't long until this situation caught the notice of our District Manager [whenever a guest's outstanding bill exceeds over $500 the computer flags it in her reports] who began breathing down our necks.
She soon thereafter began to refuse to answer her room phone and cell-phone. Our attempts to lock her out of her room met with failure, what with her not leaving the room unattended (by herself or one of her children [three teens all from different fathers]). We were stymied by her refusals and incommunicative actions ... that is ... until one afternoon I caught her as she snuck out to get her caffeine fix.
I politely brought her into the dining area of our lobby where she refused to meet my GM's eyes or mine as we tried to hammer out her payment plan and a way for this to be pleasantly resolved.
To best describe the 'pleasantness' that emanated from her during this conversation I would suggest imagining your 'favorite' Discount Rat's reaction to being denied their favorite discount treat.
Now multiply that by ten.
And add a make-up meltdown max factor of twelve and you may just get the extreme bullshittery that spewed from her pie-hole. After an uncomfortable half-hour of whining, cringing and catty remarks, promises were made on her end that were supposed to be enforcable.
Cut to a week later when of the promised 4 payments of $200 (one every two days) to stem the massive financial hemmhoraging has not appeared in the ledger. Cut to my complete and utter shock at this. Cut to my ... wait, I wasn't shocked. I wasn't even mildly surprised. What I was was annoyed. And as the Assistant General Manager it was on me to enforce the rules and agreements in situations like this [oh Happy Happy Joy Joy].
I'll admit, what I did to get her attention? Wasn't the nicest. It probably wasn't even kosher. But it worked:
I told the housekeepers that they were UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES allowed to give her anything/clean her room until she came down to speak to me.
I know. I know. [I know]
But, again, it worked.
The very next day OHMIGAWDDTHATBITCH was down at the front desk - right before we had a deluge of teen-agers due in from a series of buses (playing host to a muscical competition! Ka-ching! Ker-ching!) - and haranguing me; peppering her caffeine-and-PBR-fueled soliloquiy with words like "harrassment", "illegal" and "bullshitting liar" all directed at me. Now, to paraphrase Joan Crawford [Mommie Dearest], 'this isn't my first time at the rodeo ... don't fuck with me', so I was well and prepared for the usual level of vitriol spat upon me from an irate and insipid custy. Sadly, I seemed to underestimate the sheer batshittery capable of being plumbed by OHMIGAWDDTHATBITCH and her intense desire to personally piss me off.
[She actually set out purposefully to piss me off and push me from some perverse custy asshole-centric line of thinking; I learned from her bragging about this to my staff.]
Between her causing a scene in front of guests, her repeatedly (and purposefully) cutting me off with condescension and insulting comments and her calling me a liar my temper was fraying. I'll admit it. I'm not perfect. I come from a long line of 'That's Enough I Can Only Take So Much'. So when she called me a "bull-fucking-shit liar" for saying that YES I HAD DONE THE COMPUTER RECORD PAYMENT AND REVERSAL ... OH AND HERE'S PROOF LOOK AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN my last ounce of give-a-fuck was used up as she slapped my hand and told me to shut up.
The camel's back? Broken.
Pulling in the snarl as I watched her face light up with NAT and Discount Rat glee [are we still musing on DNAT?] at seeing me finally get fed up I turned away from her and stormed into my office. Pulled the fire door shut. And proceeded to make the most painful mistake I've had a temper-loss to be ...
I punched the door.
Now, anyone with common sense knows that 1) losing your temper and hitting ANYTHING (inanimate or animate) is WRONG 2) self control is for situations like that annoying/insulting/horrible custy and 3) hitting your knuckles against a METAL DOOR hurts.
Like, really hurts.
That was almost 3 weeks ago now and having won her personal victory over causing me to lose my cool and pretense at give-a-fuck-ery with her I am now Persona Non Grata to OHMIGAWDDTHATBITCH ... and honestly? That's fine with me. Whether I like or dislike a custy is neither here nor there - whether they pay their bills to me/us ON TIME and IN FULL matters.
Yikes. I won't be buying one! What about you RHU?
From Huff Po:
An electric condom in early stages of development just might take safe sex from analog to digital.
Last March, Bill and Melinda Gates challenged innovators worldwide to invent the "Next Generation Condom" -- one that wouldn't diminish the quality of sensations felt during sex. Notable entries included a condom made from collagen derived from beef tendon claiming to approximate human skin, and a condom that actually tightens during intercourse. But none of these really give the jolt some may be looking for.
Last week, Georgia Tech students Firaz Peer and Andrew Quitmeyer introduced their "Electric Eel" condom on IndieGogo, which they describe as an "open-source digital condom prototype using electrodes and soft-circuitry." In laymen's terms, it supplies mild vibrations -- a "digital" rather than "physical" enhancement to the standard condom, as the creators put it.
While battery-operated devices can be a woman's best friend, the words "voltage," circuitry" and "electricity" are rather terrifying to anyone with a vulva. But for men, the threadlike electrodes running throughout the condom, concentrated in the underside of the shaft, provide the type of stimulation condom-less sex can't.
The condom is still in very early stages of development, and Quitmeyer and Peer are performing most tests on a cloth-sheath version, pictured above, which potential users can try out to get a feel for the sensations. The electric currents are manipulated by a microcontroller connected to the condom and operated by the user, or by "various Internet APIs" accessed from a mobile device. Start brainstorming ways to explain your CondomApp.
Despite considerable anecdotal evidence to the contrary, the commonly-held assumption that sex without condoms is more pleasurable often prevents their use. But with STDs being an increasingly global concern, eschewing safe sex for perceived better sex is an alarming trend. Can a dubiously realized electric condom inspire a worldwide shift in attitudes about safe sex? Not necessarily. But the degree to which talented innovators have taken up the condom-improvement mantle is encouraging, and getting some latex in Silicon Valley could give safe sex an upgrade.
We look forward to seeing which condom earns the Gates Foundation's $1 million prize. If indeed it is the "Electric Eel," may we recommend a lubricated version, "Electric Slide"?
From Asia One:
CHINA - A company in China rewarded its best employee with a night with a Japan adult video actress at its appreciation dinner recently, Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported.
The company in Shanghai invited the actress to appear as the special guest at the dinner, which attracted a lot of her fans to take photographs with her, it reported.
It caused a stir among the employees when an announcement was made that the best employee of the year would spend a night with the actress.
When the news broke, some netizens slammed the company for such a reward and questioned the company's stand on morality.
It is a common occurrence for some established companies in China to dole out cash and cars to its outstanding workers during appreciation dinners.
I work in a small independent adult store so I'm not required to ass-kiss presumptuous or rude customers. There's no corporate manual to follow etc.
A guy comes in to my shop and buys a bottle of massage oil that costs $17.95. He brings it back an hour later wanting a refund. I point to the sign that clearly states that "all purchases are final."
Him: "How much did I pay again?"
Me: *checks records* "$17.95"
Him: "But I can get it for $12.95 at the chemist."
("Please compensate me for my lack of foresight," is all I hear.)
Me: *laughs* "That's not my problem, what do you want me to do about it?"
Him: "You could refund me $5"
Me: *laughs more* "Yeah, it doesn't work like that. Get out." *points to door*
He was gone an hour so I hate to think how far he traveled back to save a measly $5.00 AU.
A real life Fru T. Bunn baker who specialises in making edible gingerbread sex objects has agreed to pay compensation for sexual harassment to two young female workers after he gave them gingerbread penises topped with whipped cream.
The biscuits - designed to look like erect manhoods - were finished off with dollops of icing sugar, which was supposed to simulate ejaculation, a court in Salzburg, Austria, was told.
Two assistants at the bakery claimed the cookies were intended to sexually intimidate them and demanded 2,000 GBP each in compensation.
The baker, 47, claims he was simply showing the assistants a new product so they would know how to promote it to the shop's customers.
"We have a very different clientele, these cakes are really popular with stag nights and hen nights and other similar events. These clients like our sexy products and they use them in their own lives as a bit of fun. It's no place for prudes," he explained.
"This item has gone on to become one of our very best sellers," he added.
Judges at the Salzburg labour court adjourned the case after being told of there out of court settlement.
The pair agreed to take the payment, but the court heard that they have since been fired from their jobs.