https://www.flickr.com/photos/jean_koulev/

My Toy Store Experience

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jean_koulev/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jean_koulev/

I remember the first time I’d ever seen a sex toy…

I was about 12 and we had gone to visit my Mom’s best friend and her family. We’d all grown up together and they had a son and daughter similar ages to my sisters and I. We considered ourselves family. The parents were our Aunty and Uncle and their kids were our cousins.

We had gone on one of the many long walks our Dad’s loved taking us all (even though they were the only ones who enjoyed them!)

Us kids had been going through a phase (that lasted several long years) of wanting to be private detectives and loved every opportunity we had to go on adventures and investigate. Our team of 5 detectives consisted of my older sister Mhissy**, younger sister Kaycee** and cousins Emily** and Lawrence**. Our role models were Mulder and Scully from the X-Files and we were pretty much obsessed with this role-play looking for clues… For what? Nothing in particular, we just loved pretending!

To make this particular walk feel bearable we decided to investigate the woods and see what we could find, the treasures we could collect from the hidden crevices of the woodland.

Aside from weird looking rocks and branches we were determined to “whittle” though we didn’t actually know what whittling was, we hadn’t really had much luck finding any ‘treasure’! Lawrence** decided to climb up a stack of logs and started to rummage in gaps. We heard him shout with excitement. We all rushed to him, our parents were all oblivious to us, pretending to enjoy the walk as if it was the most amazing thing we had done our entire visit.

Lawrence** was cheering; he had something clasped in his hands! Treasure! We all thought. When we reached him, he had the biggest grin on his face, he had his hands wrapped tightly around a bright pink, tube with a slightly slanted end. He passed it around so we could all take a look and after our inspection decided that none of us knew what it was, we decided we should take it home and investigate it further. Being a pink lady myself, I hoped and prayed Lawrence** would let me take it home with me, to my dismay he stuffed it into his pocket and declared it was his…. Selfish…

My fellow investigators and myself eagerly anticipated the moment we would arrive back at home so we could closely inspect our new pink tube.

When we finally got home we all rushed into the living room and sat in a circle whilst we waited as Lawrence** took his time unzipping his jacket and removing the tube from his pocket, he then lay it on the carpet in front of us as if it was sacred and incredibly fragile. Once again we took it in turns picking it up and turning it over. Mhissy** discovered the flat end of the tube was actually a screw top lid; Lawrence** unscrewed it and out fell a couple of batteries. Confusion passed over us all as we tried to think of reasons behind the batteries. Admittedly the only explanation I could come up with was that, much like a Smarties tube, this tube served as a way of hiding things, maybe treats? Or in the original owner’s case, batteries? Lawrence** put the batteries back in the tube and as he screwed the lid back on it began to vibrate. We all stared in amazement and once again we passed it among us, we didn’t need to say it, our faces explained enough… We all knew…

Our toy just got so much cooler!

We’d been sat playing with the vibrating tube for probably 20 minutes when my mother came in, she told us how our silence had alarmed her as she thought we were up to no good. We all argued, as kids do, that we were behaving ourselves and that we were actually just spending some time playing with our new toy… When she asked us what our new toy was, we all refused to tell her; somehow we’d developed some kind of protective connection with it and didn’t want her to share our secret. Then Lawrence** gave in; with it still vibrating in his hand, he opened his palms and revealed our favourite new pink tube. We all grinned and looked at my Mom thinking she’d be as excited as we were. She took one look at it and walked back out, after a few minutes she came back in with my Aunty.

“Hazel**, look what the kids have” she said with a half amused, half angry expression… My Aunty Hazel** looked down at Lawrence’s hand. Her faced twisted into an expression almost unreadable then she let out a long hard laugh and was then unable to control her laughter. My mom looked sternly at us and grabbed our toy from Lawrence**.

“This isn’t for kids.” She said as her and my Aunty Hazel** walked out of the room.

Absolutely devastated Lawrence** ran after them, after another few minutes he came back and cried that our mothers had thrown the tube in the bin.

“But it’s okay” he said assuring us “I’ve got it back again!” He said cheering and holding our toy in his hand.

Then my Aunty Hazel** came back into the room instructed us all to wash our hands (with soap!) and once again took away our source of afternoon “delight”.

It was a good few years before I finally learned that that “pink tube” Lawrence** had found in the woods was actually a vibrator.

I was 11 years old when I first learnt about porn… You’re probably thinking, that’s way too young! But it was completely accidental! During our secret hunt for hidden Christmas presents, Mhissy** and I decided to break the rules and search our parents’ room. One afternoon whilst my Mom was busy with Kaycee** downstairs and my Dad was out, we snuck into the forbidden room and Mhissy** climbed on top of one wardrobe in order to reach the very top of the tallest wardrobe. I stood as a look out, though I was more interested in what my sister was doing than keeping an eye out for my Mother.

She was just tall enough on tiptoes to reach (with her finger tips) the top of the wardrobe but not quite tall enough to see what was up there. She felt a VHS, she relayed this information to me, it was the same year a movie I desperately wanted had come out on video and I was desperate to know if it was for me so I begged her to bring it down, and she did.

The front cover showed a man and woman kissing, it is also important to note that they were naked. Completely undeterred we popped the VHS into a player and that was my first and last experience watching porn with my sister.

The first time I had ever seen condoms or even found out what they were, was when I was 10 years old. It was on one of our annual visit to our Aunty and Uncle’s house again; this was probably when our obsession with becoming private investigators was beginning to heat up. We were obsessed with Indiana Jones and the X-Files and the gang were eager to go on an adventure in the house. You see in our young little minds the many rooms, cupboards and drawers in the house were prime opportunities to hide a “body” or “treasure” and if there was anything hidden then we would find it! During our exploration we wondered into my Aunty and Uncle’s bedroom, we ransacked the room but the best any of us could find were plasters, some necklaces, perfume bottles, you know the usual things you’d find in a vanity table. Mhissy** was running around and slipped, she had grazed her knee and asked Emily** to throw her a plaster, so she did. Mhissy** opened the packet and out fell a “slimy balloon”… Well it didn’t take a genius to figure out that this type of “plaster” was not going to cover her grazed knee unless she wore it as a sock maybe? I mean, it sure was elasticated enough to stretch that far.

Those three occasions were all completely accidental and taught me more about sex than anything school or my parents ever taught me.

School teaches you about how to put a condom on a penis but aside from that there is no guidance. Even so, I’ve been fortunate enough to have friends who were a lot more experienced than me so I didn’t get too lost, and for the questions they couldn’t answer, there was Google. Thank God for Google.

My views on sex are well… not ordinary. I have a healthy sexual curiosity but it wasn’t until I met my partner that I ever even thought about all these toys on offer! Oh God that sounds so bad and he will probably cringe. It isn’t what you think. I lack real experience in serious relationships but something I’ve discovered is when you settle with your soul mate you find keeping things interesting is part of the fun! I mean that with all aspects, not just the secret stuff!

Though we both lead very open lives, often we are brutally honest, ask us a question and we will answer truthfully, when did we last have sex? Last night, where was it? In our bedroom, duh. See. But something we find embarrassing is browsing in toy stores of the sexual kind. We look online if we want to, we don’t make a habit of doing this, but why not?

So the other day I decided I wanted to go to an adult store and buy a bra. It was a Wednesday afternoon and School had just started again so we noticed the mall was quite quiet. In fact the toy store was empty aside from the two Sales Assistant and us. Now if you know me, you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is when Sales Assistants approach me to start a conversation that goes further than, Hi, is there anything I can help you with today?

As we entered the two Sales Assistants greeted us politely, asked us the standard question and let us get on with it. After looking at the bra’s we immaturely egged each other on to enter the 18+ only section where the toys were hidden from full view. As we looked through each section we picked up a few things that interested us, with no particular intention other than it looked like it would be fun if we ever felt adventurous.

Full disclosure, if you don’t want to know what I bought I would stop reading now, but you’ll miss my whole point (spoiler, I don’t have one, just an observation).

So we’d been there for a good 20 minutes, looking at things, considering a few items, when one of the Sales Assistants came up to us and asked us if we needed help with anything. We both declined and instead of walking away and leaving us be, she stood beside us as if we were all shopping together. She pointed to a few dildos and told us they were good, now I can only imagine what Habibi was thinking, I’m sure he probably appreciated the visualisation of the lady with that dildo, but for me… Well I didn’t feel the same way… I felt it was totally inappropriate but I just smiled at her and awkwardly walked to the other aisle.

Well I won’t bore you with the list of things we bought but one of the things we did buy… Wait… Wait… Let me explain first!

Basically I had been obsessed with this Miley Cyrus (I love her) movie ages ago, it’s called ‘So Undercover’ and in the movie, this girl had lost something, eventually someone finds it and she says ‘oh my neck massager!’ For some reason I decided that I needed to have it! So I searched high and low for it but I couldn’t find it. I then described it to Habibi and he told me what it actually was (a vibrator) so when we saw it in the store I knew I wanted it…again with no actual reason or intention other than that I had wanted it for so long and had been curious about it. When we were done browsing we put our items on to the counter ready to pay, a different lady was at the till and had begun to try to hold a conversation with us, we responded politely. Every time she picked up on of our items to wrap and bag it she had an anecdote about it, she then picked up the vibrator and openly said:

“I have one of these, my boyfriend and we like to use it together… Not for the dirty stuff… Well yes for the dirty stuff but also it’s a really good massager.”

Then she continued to pack up our stuff. That little admission had us stunned… I don’t know what adult stores do during their training days but I have a feeling they encourage their staff to share sexual stories as often as they can. I mean I have a lot of customer service experience under my belt, I know the importance of making a customer feel supported and welcome, but in stores like this I think the customers can be a little different than a customer who is shopping in say, Tesco’s? Top Shop? A lot of people who wonder to the back of the store are usually browsing for something private.

When we had finally paid we rushed out. During our car ride home, Habibi suggested something quite extraordinary….

I don’t know if couples are like us out there but though we enjoy each other we don’t often like to share this fact with strangers, maybe there are couples out there who also like to go to an adult store occasionally, to browse or get inspiration, who don’t want to be bothered with intrusive questions or unwanted information.

Habibi suggested that when a customer enters the store they should be able to pick up a sticker or some kind of indicator to say “do not disturb” so that if you are like us, who come in and don’t want to be “customer serviced” then the Sales Assistant will know that if they ignore you, then you won’t take offence… A mutual agreement that you’re still going to enjoy your adult store experience even if the Manager doesn’t hold your hands and walk you through the process of buying condoms.

I feel like if this method was taken on in other adult stores it would save a lot of embarrassment and perhaps even earn them a little bit more money as for me personally I am put off shopping forparticulars with the thought that someone will nose in on my “business” in fact from that experience alone I’d probably just stick to internet shopping, why? Because it’s convenient, it’s almost effortless, there aren’t queues, there’s a huge range of anything I could possibly want, and best of all I don’t have to feel paranoid or embarrassed that someone else can see what I’m buying. I can hear people now saying, “embrace your sexuality” but let’s face it; I can do that in private.

Peace and Love

Jessy x

** – I have changed the names of the people in this story. I reserve my right to share personal stories but I didn’t ask these people for permission to include them so, in case of embarrasment I have given them much cooler names.

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