There’s a store here in town that specializes in erotic books, videos, and all kinds of sexual goodies. There used to be a Radio Shack next to it, and I would always joke about how the people who wanted to visit that other store would always stop in Radio Shack first for a couple of batteries. That way, if anyone claimed that they saw their car parked in front of Boulevard Books, they could always truthfully say that they were at Radio Shack.
But Radio Shack is long gone…at least from our area…I was actually surprised to see one in Denver last year. Now anyone who wants “plausible deniability” has to go to the nursing uniform store that’s in its place. And let’s face it, people are less likely to need a set of scrub tops than a couple of CR 2032 batteries. But this got me thinking…why does it even have to be this way in the first place?
The old song lyric goes, “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it”, so why do we pretend…or feel we have to pretend that adults don’t have sex? Or at least, why do we have to pretend that adults don’t want anything that you might find in a store like Boulevard Books.
Perhaps the question is why do we have to pretend that “respectable” adults wouldn’t want anything that you might find in a store like Boulevard Books…and why might you be embarrassed to run into someone you knew while you were shopping there?
I’ll tell you, it was embarrassing enough running into one of my 9th grade students in the lingerie section of Target a few years back. We stumbled into each other, pretended not to see each other, turned around, and kept on shopping. But still…why can’t we admit that 9th grade girls want nice underwear and that I might be shopping for my wife (yes, I know what some of you are thinking, and let’s just not go there right now, thank you very much). Had we run into each other in the sporting goods department, we might strike up a conversation, but because we were both in lingerie, we officially didn't see each other and it was something that was never to be spoken of…ever.
But going back to the original question, why is it considered a huge social embarrassment to be seen in, or even have your car seen next to a store that specializes in supplies for things that everyone knows that everyone does? Why can’t going to Boulevard Books be seen as no different than going to the local Ace Hardware?
And even if you decide to go the more “discreet” route, and do all your shopping online, why do those companies make a big deal out of promising to send your package in “plain brown wrapping”, with a return address and line on your credit card bill that doesn’t reveal anything?
Why the f*** can’t we admit that people f***, and might want a few items to go along with the experience?
There seems to be no stigma to buying certain items in the “sexual wellness” section of the local Walgreen’s, and putting them on the counter with your tissues, vitamins, and potato chips. There also seems to be no stigma to grabbing those items from the “personal needs” section of the local supermarket, and putting them on the conveyor with your cucumbers, sausage, and Naked Juice.
And holy crap, the stuff they have in the back of Spencer’s at the mall! But no one will give you a second look if you say you want to shop there. After all, maybe you’re looking for a lava lamp.
But still…a store that’s obviously dedicated to erotic books, videos, and sex toys? For some reason we still feel a need to make sure that no one sees us entering or leaving that place. And how silly is that?
So yes…I’ll admit to having visited Boulevard Books. But I’ve also bought batteries at Radio Shack many times.
And let’s not go there either.