Ignored by Clerks While Sex Toy Shopping? Don’t Feel Too Bad; It Happens to 50-Somethings, Too.
While there are more adult shops that cater to women than there used to be, if you set foot in some adult stores as a woman — particularly a woman who’s middle aged or older — you’re likely to experience the feeling of being invisible.
Cashiers and attendants at some shops, particularly those accustomed to serving an almost entirely male clientele, seemingly would rather spend their time stacking up 50 pound boxes of dildos all afternoon than answer a single question from a woman about the dildos inside that box.
Now imagine you’re an 83-year-old woman who’s also legally blind — the very sort of customer who truly needs assistance — in an adult shop. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, because it’s an experience Diana de Vegh has written about for the New York Times.
Reading about Diana’s experience brought back memories for Calico, both recent and further back, about her own trips to adult shops, many of which were filled with employees who looked at her like she was some sort of mythical beast come to life. A woman in a porn store? For some folks, it’s like having a unicorn show up to compete in the Kentucky Derby.
Why does this sort of reaction persist? Haven’t we finally gotten past the idea that women are supposed to be demure and sexually modest? And can someone PLEASE come over and answer Calico’s questions about internet-connected vibrators without turning red, staring at the floor and mumbling? Read all about it in Calico’s new post: “Don’t Feel Too Bad; It Happens to 50-Somethings, Too”
– Calico Rudasill, Sssh.com Adult Entertainment Movies and Toys
If I were to be put in charge with finding a photo that captures the essence of the word “uncomfortable,” I’d be tempted to go to an old-school porn shop, approach the young male clerk working the cashier and start asking him questions about their selection of dildos – or better yet, their anal beads – then start snapping pictures of the guy’s face.
For some reason, even here in the 21st century, long after the “Sexual Revolution” was supposed to have broken down walls and eviscerated certain antiquated notions about women’s sexuality, women like me showing up in certain adult video/book stores is still treated like the arrival of a unicorn – albeit a unicorn that can speak and has a tendency to ask questions that make men in their 20s want to hide beneath the sales counter.
Granted, My Questions Weren’t Very Ladylike…
To be fair, in the adult shops I’ve been to which employed women as cashiers and attendants, there have been moments of discomfort, too, but those generally came when I was inquiring whether they stocked certain porn titles, some of which had names like “Cum Guzzling Whores” or “Butt-Banged Bicycle Bitches.” In my defense – if indeed a defense is needed – I was asking about those videos as a professional matter, because I was trying to get placement for video lines distributed by a company for which I worked at the time.
Still, there’s nothing quite like being a woman in a porn shop – even, it turns out, some of the modern adult shops that are designed to cater to female clientele.
The Case of the Invisible Octogenarian
“Why Won’t Anyone Help Me in This Sex Shop?” asks Diana de Vegh in a column for the New York Times, adding that “at 83, and legally blind, I could use some assistance.”
“At 83, I may be a little older than most, and legally blind, but generally speaking, people are pleased to welcome me into their shops and boutiques and promptly move forward to offer assistance,” de Vegh writes. “But here? In this sophisticated SoHo sex store? It was like a parting of the waters, with me marooned on a distant shore. No one was asking if I needed help finding anything. Worse yet, the friend I had invited specifically to review and report on the merchandise seemed to have vanished.”
First of all… WTF, Diana’s friend? You just disappeared on a legally octogenarian in the middle of a Soho sex store? Among other things, that sounds like an excellent way to get yourself scratched off Diana’s list of friends.
As for the clerks and attendants in the shop, ignoring Diana is even more unfathomable. If they did so because she’s a senior, then they need to read up on the sexuality of seniors and realize that older folks like sex just as much as younger folks –maybe even more than younger folks, if reporting on recent trends is to be believed.
33 Years Younger, Just as Ignored
I can’t see why it would make Diana feel any better, but it might make her feel less alone to know that as a woman over 30 years her junior, I often get ignored in adult shops, too – at least until I’m in some young guy’s face asking detailed questions about the various settings on internet-connected ‘smart’ vibrators, or where I can find their selection of pegging videos.
Sadly, I suspect Diana’s disappointment around being ignored in a sex shop is far from the last disappointment she’ll encounter, given her expectations.
“I find prudishness around sex shops baffling,” Diana writes. “I grew up in the 1950s when many of us were in thrall to Dr. Freud’s pronouncements concerning simultaneous vaginal orgasm. In the world of psychoanalytically prescribed correct sex, the use of accouterments would diminish the primacy of the almighty male organ. Out of the question back then. But surely we’re no longer bound by male ego syndrome.”
I realize that Diana has been around a lot longer than I have, but from where I sit, it sure seems that we’ll never reach the point where we’re “no longer bound by male ego syndrome.” Hey, don’t take my word for it; just levy criticism of any kind at the next weirdly orange guy you see and see how he responds.