So I went to a porn store with my buddy Otter today.

I also went a saltwater fish store, which is lust of a different sort (when people start buying art again, I am so starting up a tank…but not ’til then…) We were actually looking for a Target, so we picked a direction in Durham and drove randomly. Surprisingly, this did not result in a Target, but we did see an Adam & Eve, probably because Otter’s pornsense was tingling or something.

I love going to porn stores because no matter how often I go, human ingenuity massively outstrips me. I can go to a porn store twice in a week (and in fact, I have this week) and there is STILL new stuff that I have never seen before, never imagined before, and in many cases, have very little concept how it works.

Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I don’t know what orifice most of the stuff goes in, and whether it’s for men and women. Sometimes I think they invent new orifices just to screw with me. I bought a device awhile ago that seems to work fine for my purposes, and only later–AFTER Kevin explained–realized that the one bit I couldn’t figure out was supposed to be massaging my prostate and that weird flange at the end was so you could strap it into a harness and dude, I was totally not using it for any of those things, even if I HAD owned a harness, or for that matter, a prostate. Christ. Then I felt weird, as if I might somehow be making the sex toy unhappy by using it wrong, as if I was running one of those awful fundy re-education camps where they jesus the gay out of you, only for brightly colored silicone appliances.

I know some people feel guilty over using sex toys, but I suspect they’re guilting on a different level.

Even when I know exactly where you put it, often I can’t figure out why. The bunny cockring with the vibrator bullet stuck through its head like one of those arrow-through-the-skull gags, say. It looked like it had been hopping innocently by the vibrator factory and then there had been a horrible explosion. It was not friendly and sexy. I would not put it on my penis, if I had one, nor on any penis which I am allowed occasional use of. I would take it to the vet, or possibly out back with a shovel.

There was this one thing with spikes. I don’t mean a collar. The spines weren’t like bumps, they were like…drops of rubber pulled to a hair-like point. It was a vibrator covered in bright neon pink and black spines, like a punk hedgehog that had fallen on hard times and been forced to sell its body. The only use I could see for it was if you had a REALLY hard to reach itch, and I don’t mean that as a euphemism.

And then there’s the "tropical fantasy" line of vibrators, which seemed to involve a giant green…unknown…thing (perhaps a festive tropical zucchini!) with an attached clitoral stimulator shaped like a pineapple.

"That’s always been my fantasy," said Otter, with the deadpan delivery that allows her to drive (for example) while I am doubled over in the passenger seat whooping hysterically. "Spiky…tropical…fruit."

I looked at her, and at the vibrating pinapple, and back again.

"You know that sometimes I can hear you composing the blog posts in your head?"

"Look! They have a vibrating conch shell!" I tried.

Otter’s eyes narrowed. As an aquarium keeper, she battles conches which occasional sneak in and eat her clams. "Do they know those things are poisonous?"

I gave up on tropical fantasies.

The other point I’ll make is simply to ask when people making porn stopped trying with the names. I mean, there’s a kind of covenant with porno titles. You try to make a pun, or a parody on an existing movie, or you try to make it sexy, or if you absolutely positively cannot come up with anything else, you alliterate. "Tailgunner: How We Won The War Through The Back Door" was terrible, but it was an acceptable level of porno terrible.  "Amazing Anal Antics," not so impressive, but hey, at least you got all those A’s working for you.

"Fucked in the Pooper" though? No. No, no, a thousand times NO. This is NOT acceptable, people! You are breaking the covenant here! That there are like eight volumes in this series does not forgive you. You could hire an English major for a week for what it costs for like a tenth of an on-screen erection and come up with something infinitely better, possibly involving James Joyce. 

(I was glad when the one trio of ladies moved on so that I could get to the non-anal porn, although I have to admit, the titles weren’t any better. No, I didn’t buy any. Porn for me is a rather painful exercise, in that I tend to find myself screaming "WHY DOES THE DEMURE SEXUALLY INEXPERIENCED LIBRARIAN HAVE A HOOD PIERCING, GODDAMNIT!?" My suspension of disbelief, so keen for kung fu movies and anything involving Vin Diesel, malfunctions when I am expected to believe in roving gangs of hung pizza boys and the ability of supposed virgins to deep throat things the size of a knockwurst.) 

The other problem about going to this sort of store is that I eye all of the clothing with one question in mind–"Can I wear it to a con?" (The corset-backed hot-pink beater was tempting, I admit…) Sometimes the answer is no, sometimes yes, sometimes it’s a little more ambiguous…

"Do you think I could wear this to a con?"

Otter gazed at it thoughtfully. "Yes. But then Kevin and I couldn’t leave you alone. You’d ask us to go get you a drink,and we’d have to say no. "

"But why not?"

She leveled a finger at an imaginary horde circling an equally imaginary table. "Because…of…them…"

I put it back.

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