Lifestyle Enhancement Agents — Working at the sex shop
I had the pleasure of working in a sex shop for over a year. It was bigger than your average sex shop. A veritable emporium of goods born of carnal urges. When I worked there I would tell everyone “We have everything you can imagine, and everything that you can’t.”. People thought that because I’m a Brit I would have hang ups and be prudent, but they soon realised other wise and would gladly tell anyone and everyone I’m a dark horse. I won them over on my trial day by making a penis out of blu-tack (very high brow, I know). Colleagues and customers alike would try in vain to shock me and I would revel in their disappointment when I showed them they were wrong.
Lifestyle enhancement agents. Thats the title I bestowed on all of us who worked there because it proved to be such an apt accolade. We knew the differences between sounding rods and Albert wands, nipple clamps and clitoral clips, the BD from the DS from the SM. Sure, there was a short learning curve that some turned into a mountainous trek of sorts but through sharing information we became the experts. Tell us your desires and allow us to cater accordingly.
The range of customers was nothing short of vast. Every walk of life imaginable has been greeted with my patented customer service smile. The old and and the young, male and female, blue collar and white collar, the vanilla and whatever its opposite is, the straight, the gay and every possible other label of the spectrum of sexuality. Being retail, there was also the same challenges just as if it were a supermarket. “No, we do not stock that item.” “No, you cannot have a discount because you saw it cheaper some where else.” “No, you may not return this penis pump if you have used it.” Well, ok, not strictly the same but the similarities were there. (Seriously though, people did try to return things they had used. It boggles the mind.)
But there were several shadier sides to it all. Such as the video booths complete with glory holes - “You have to come before you go!” Yes, brilliant, I haven’t heard that one for at least 24 hours - Such as the questionably legal pharmaceutical products lining the shelves - “Are there any side effects?” Well, I’m not a doctor, but I read this on the internet - Such as the even more questionable legal herbal highs - “Which one is the strongest?” How about I tell you which is the most popular? - Such as the definitely illegal activites of the management - “There’s a line on the shop counter and we open shortly.” Yes you had better do something about that - These aspects were some of the reasons I have to leave it behind.
The video booths were among the worst of it. There was a certain stench to them which would offend the nostrils of the uninitiated, a pungent myriad of any and all bodily fluids. Bins which didn’t get used, or did get used for purposes of excretion. Men of questionable intent and morals lurking in the depths of the dimly lit cavern. Used tissues littering the ground like some twisted snowscape. The stories that would be shared by those who wished to do so would make for many cringe worthy moments.
I understood why they were there. I understood the cruising aspect of it. Merely the satisfaction of urges. But what I didnt get was the infidelity of it all. I lost count of the amount of times I got asked to go out there to join in some activity with someone. It was quite flattering to be honest. But when “No, I have a girlfriend.” is met with “Ah, yeah, so do I.” I couldn’t help but wonder about those people. How could they do that? How could they put so much to risk in chasing a release? How could they not openly pursue their desires and instead live in a shroud of secrecy from those who cared for them? It really made me cynical and I began to dislike those kinds of people a lot. Even to the point where I considered black mailing them, if only to see them squirm, but I could never do that. It was their choice and who was I to interject or place them in jeopardy? The realisation that they were cowards, coupled with my belief in karma, kept me from exacting their sabotage. I wonder if they know just how lucky they are.
To contrast though, there were very touching moments in the job too. And not in a sexual way. One customer in particular, a forty-something gay man visiting from India, told me his story. He had known he was gay for his whole life, but couldn’t really do anything about it for living in fear of persecution for it. All it would take would be to say the wrong thing or give the wrong look to the wrong person and hospital or worse would await. While on vacation he was staying with family, who were unaware of his sexuality, and he would have them believe that he was going to some place nearby so they would drop him off, and then he would come and just hang out in the shop. He had never known such a place, I understand there aren’t many, if any, in India. But what was touching was his needs were more emotional than carnal. He wanted to be somewhere that he could be free to express himself without fear. He wanted someone that he could talk to rather than pursuing an encounter. To be with likeminded people. I felt duty bound to set him straight on the shop. “You won’t meet someone here looking for company or a relationship. They’re just here for hook ups.” In an effort to do right by him, I told him about some LGBT bars and events in the city that he should visit instead. I even primed him with the excuses he could give to his family as to why he was going into the city on his own, and wrote down the details for some of them too. He was so grateful that I almost cried. I could only imagine how it must feel to live in fear of being able to be yourself. To never have had someone to share life with, someone to love, have and hold. It really put into perspective the old adage that, no matter how bad you think you have, someone else out there has it a lot worse.
I’ve ran out of steam now, but then there was never a point to writing this anyway.