Last weekend my girlfriend and I went sex toy preview shopping at Babeland on the Lower East Side. That location was the first in N.Y.C. and I still prefer it to the swanky SoHo boutique or the too-small Brooklyn store.
My girlfriend says that somehow on stepping over the threshold of the joint, she regresses to a teenager. She giggles when touching the dildos and is uncomfortable when approached by the pierced and tattooed young non-gendered sales individuals. She attributes this to the first time she visited Babeland in Seattle oh-so-many years ago with her best friend. It was her very first time ever in a sex toy store, let alone one where you could actually touch the merchandise. When she finally got up enough courage to pick up a large vibrating tongue, she turned it on, unsuspecting of its incredible power and it jetted out of her hands, flopping all over the glass countertop like a fish out of water. This prompted the sales clerk to say, “Hey, whoa now,” embarrassing her further until she could catch the tongue and turn it off. Completely mortified she had caused such a scene, she and her friend quickly left the store, pretending to the best of their abilities that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
So, we went into the Lower East Side Babeland, me and my gal, our big bad sex-positive selves and my girlfriend turned to jelly beyond the threshold and I must say I also felt a little silly. I don’t at all have an issue with fondling the dildos or turning on the vibrators. But, we were looking at and touching all the harnesses and discussing which one would work best.
Over came the uber young, non-gender-binary-conforming individual with bright colored hair, random piercings and indeed two sleeves of tattoos to ask us if we needed help. We were suddenly silent, staring at the store clerk like fools. Finally, after a freakishly long awkward pause we said, feigning coolness, “We’re just browsing the harnesses.” The clerk talked about the different models and asked who it was for. We kind of hemmed and hawed and then we both mumbled that it was for my girlfriend, who is much larger than I am. (I already have a harness that fits me and works just fine.) We asked a few questions about the large harness, which the clerk indicated may or may not fit or be able to work with her size combined with my size. So we said okay, we would check it out and we looked closer and felt it. We said we’d come back another day to try it on—who were we kidding? We didn’t have enough money to buy it. But to avoid looking like total loser geeks, we picked out some inexpensive lube samples to purchase and then quickly exited into the cool New York City night air.
We laughed at how ridiculous we had acted. And we both said we were pretty disappointed about the lack of selection of larger harnesses. Humph. Then we caught the train back to Brooklyn.