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Outside the Lines

By:Emily Goodwin


Should I be ashamed I’m walking into a sex toy store with a wallet full of cash my grandmother sent me for my twenty-fifth birthday? And that I plan to spend said cash on a new vibrator since mine shorted out in the tub? I adjust my purse and pull my dark-blonde hair over my face, surreptitiously concealing my identity in case of major crisis number one happening: seeing someone I know.

I inhale, swallow down any lingering ounce of prude I have in me, and step into the shop. Normally I’d one click this sucker from Amazon, but after two weeks of no B.O.B.—and a year of no-real life boyfriend—I’m desperate. And why pay for next-day shipping when the sex toy shop was on my way home from work?

Someone moans and I freeze. What the fuck? Are people actually trying out the toys? No, that makes no sense. It’s porn. It has to be porn. The same moan fills the store again. And again. It’s rhythmic, like it’s stuck on repeat.

“Come on in, honey, and she’ll stop,” someone calls from the counter, hidden behind a display of glow-in-the-dark condoms. Oh, and a few flavored ones too.

She’ll stop? I blink, my legs still frozen, and then it hits me that instead of a motion-censored bell ringing, a lady in the throes of ecstasy moans. Fitting. Very fitting.

I step inside and look around. I’ve never been inside a sex shop before, though it’s not because I have anything against them. With the lack of real peen in my life, I’ve come to rely on this sort of thing. But I always order online. What’s the anonymity of the internet for, anyway?

“Can I help you find anything?” the woman at the counter asks. Her name tag lets me know she goes by “Vixen.” That has to be a fake sex store worker name, right? She’s short and plump with shoulder-length hair that’s dyed in various shades of red. I stare at it a little too long before diverting my eyes. I like it. But my boss would have a bitch fit if I showed up to work with colorful hair.

“I’m just looking,” I say and remind myself not to feel embarrassed. The woman works at the Adult Toybox, after all. She’s seen it all and then some. Still, there’s something about a single woman walking alone into one of these places that makes you feel like society is pointing their finger at you.

Well, fuck you and your social norms, society.

I walk forward and turn to the left, going down an aisle of games for lovers. Games that require two people. Or three … or four or more, as the front of that box says. I peruse down the aisle, curiosity replacing embarrassment, and whimsically think of a day when I can come in here with a boyfriend and buy something kinky for the night.

Edible undies?

Nah, too predictable and probably too sticky.

Butt plugs?

My cheeks clench at the thought. Nope. Definite no.

Handcuff, blindfolds, and a flogger?

Still predicable, but something I’m willing to try.

I pass through a display of lingerie, stifling a laugh at a male thong with an elephant truck to hold the shaft, and find what I am looking for. I actually smile when I see the shelves full of dildos and vibrators. I pick them up, looking at the boxes for … I really don’t know. Details? I just need something waterproof.

“That’s a good one,” Vixen says, startling me. The woman is like a cat. I didn’t hear her coming. “I have it and love it.”

“Oh, that’s good to know,” I mumble.

“My husband likes to use it on me too. You can charge it on the wall and it’s super quiet, so the kids won’t hear even if they’re in the next room.”

I know my eyes are as big as saucers right now. I can’t turn and look at her just yet. I blink, having to say something to break the tension.

“Is it waterproof?” I blurt.

“You betcha. And it has multiple settings. Want me to show you how it works?”

She takes the demo off the shelf and for one horrified second I think she’s going to hike her skirt and literally show me. My heart settles back into my chest when she holds it out and pushes a button, then turns up a dial.

“Hear that? Barely anything.”

“That is nice,” I say. “I’ll take it.”

She smiles. “I’ll put it by the register so you can keep looking.”

“Nah, I’m good with just that today.”

“All right.” She turns and we walk to the counter together in awkward silence. She slips behind the register and I dig my hand into my purse, feeling for my wallet. I have a moment of panic when I realize I didn’t look at the price tag of the Silent Knight vibrator and hope I have enough cash to cover it. I could use the cash I had then put the rest on my card, but I’m close to maxing out that card—as well as my other one—and need to minimize expenses until payday at the end of the week.