This entry's a bit off topic, but what the hell.
I was out with some friends this week attending the antique book fair at the Hynes Convention center. Although I'm not a collector of old and rare books, I do like to look at them. Having collected comics, I know how anal retentive hobbyists can be about their stuff.
At least, I thought I did.
An ugly incident occurred at the show where three of us (all male) were looking at the hardcover edition of the works of Dali. I had read this book in my high school art classes and I was reeling in the years. I believe our little group was laughing or something equally anarchic when the old biddy that ran the booth came over and curtly said "the price is one the front cover!". That's salesmanship. At almost thirty years old, I'm not all that comfortable being yelled at for laughing. Especially for reading an art book. That was only $135! Expensive? A bit, but you must understand that books at this fair often carry price tags in the thousands or dozens of thousands of dollars. This book was not a centerpiece item and IT WAS OUTSIDE ANY PROTECTIVE CASE! Oh well, my bad.
Later in the evening, we all headed out to an S&M Leather shop in the South End. What else is there to do after a book fair? Now, I admit that I had never been to a Sex shop before, since I was raised in Purtain country, but I'm an open-minded guy of the twenty first century. What could be so bad about leather nun outfits and studded dog collars?
Aggressive sex shop salespeople.
As my little group wandered though the store, we gandered at the inventory: feathers, leather masks, butt plugs, anal starter kits (which naturally begs for the follow-up product: anal kit pro) and anatomically optimistic dildos. The problem came when three of us (again, all male) stopped in front of the selection of lubricants, all water based of course. There scented lubs, fruity lubs, course lubs and smooth lubs. Fine. Unfortunately just as I was ready to move on, one of the saleswomen can over and started pushing the product. From personal experience, she recommended one particular lub as being the most satisfying.
At that point, a couple of things came to mind.
First, I'm used to sex selling cars, laundry detergent, hell, even life insurance, but sex being used to sell sex threw me. Perhaps new synapses are being creating in my brain as I write this.
Second, I'm not used to sales people talking about their sex lives. Ok, I know she was probably just reciting the marketing material. I'm sure the lub ombudsman detailed the top three most effective sales pitches for the product, but it was still disquieting. It's one thing for a car salesman to say 'Can you feel the suspension on this beauty? It's like riding on air". It's another entirely to hear "Feel how slippery this is? I love it."
Third, although I always take the free samples of chicken teriaki at Sakios in the Prudential Food Court, I wasn't prepared to have goo squirted in my hand. The only way to move product may be to get the customer involved, but this level of interactivity was unanticipated. But now, I think this shop is really missing some opportunities here. Why not organize lub parties along the lines of tupperware parties? I can see Sally StayAtHome inviting all her neighbors over to her house. An assortment of provocatively shaped tubes are arrayed on her low glass table. After passing around carrots and dip, she begins "I can't tell you how much these products mean to me. They saved my marriage."
Although the lub incident caused the most psychic damage, the most fascinating items for sale were old dentistry tools. Strange shiny metal clamps, forceps and a metal gag that boasted improved comfort. Included in that case were items for which I, despite years of avid pornography watching and bachelorhood, was unable to divine a sexual use. Apparently, there are more things in heaven and earth than are conceived of in my philosophy. Go figure.