Wednesday 18 June 2008

Good Vibrations

I wanted to blog today but those rebellious brain cells have erected barricades across my neural pathways. I suppose it's just as well - does blogland need another post on David Davis saying the same thing as everyone else? Instead I've had a rummage in my worm-ridden archives and have retrieved this little gem. My review of Ann Summer's(!) first saw the light of day five years ago in Move magazine, a self-styled free guide for cool Stokie people, just like me ;) It was a bit of a strange publication, combining culture, arts and gig reviews with neoliberal propaganda for regeneration, but that's a whole other story. This article is short, work safe and a vacuous waste of your 30 seconds. But hey, it will do as blog filler.

When you mention the name Ann Summers, you tend to think of saucy parties and giggling housewives. So I didn’t quite know what to expect when I first went into their new store in Hanley.

I must confess it wasn’t my first time in a sex shop. I have nipped into two other outlets of ill repute in Stoke in the past (in a hunt for novelty gift items, honest!) Both times demanded a good deal of psyching up before stepping over the threshold. Seedy and foreboding outside, the interiors were not much better. Walls covered in posters, racks upon racks of magazines (and in one case, Mills and Boon books!) and a middle-aged bloke shifting uneasily on his stool does not make for the most welcoming of atmospheres.

Contrast this with Ann Summers. Situated in a prime location opposite McDonalds and next door to Waterstones, it is bright, well lit, and inviting. The shady looking chap of the traditional sex shop is nowhere to be found. Staff instead appeared to be cheery, and greeted me on my way in. I was almost dazzled by the cleanliness. Grease, damp, and dull paint jobs give way to pastel shades and shiny surfaces.

Despite the immaculate impression, my brain was telling me that I was in a sex shop, and I appeared to be loitering around the underwear section in full view of the street. My feet quickly carried me away, to the rear of the store toward the “toy department”. Here stood two display arrangements; the first carried a bewildering variety of battery-operated products, while the other seemed tailored toward the more "specialist" movie buffs among us.

Little did I realise that one of the assistants had followed me into this section. Imagine my horror when he began recommending certain items to me, describing their effects on his partners. Call me slightly prudish, but normally these matters are discussed only with close friends. But slowly, I got over the initial shock and started seeing the conversation like any other sales pitch. Having listened to the literal ins and outs of the most popular models, I eventually decided on a “safe” novelty item – a racy birthday card.

I couldn’t fault the checkout. The service was friendly and chatty, but having paid for it she gave me a branded bag to carry it in! Ann Summers may outclass the traditional sex shop, but give me an old skool brown paper bag any time.


Foxessa said...

You made me laugh!

Love, C.

thinkingdifference said...

indeed, a funny 30 secs procrastinating break ;)

steven rix said...

A few years ago, I went into a sex shop with my g/f and we were checking the dildos and the plastic dicks. I remember I laughed, it was more like a lesbian store, and the girls were talking about their experience with dildos.

Talking about s3x, in Texas, we have a porn store here, and just before the store, there is a huge religious sign about Jesus and sex LOL The sign is so huge that I'm pretty sure most people don't even know about this porn store. They've done it on purpose to decredibilize the porn store. We are in the "Bible Belt" here so we don't have sex until we get married lol

Anonymous said...

I haven't visited Ann Summers for ages. Have to say the sex shops catering for women like Sh! And you get good friendly service (men can go in the shop as long as accompanied by a woman...)

A niche in the capitalist market commodifying women's sexuality and desires.....