So, a man walks into a sex toy party…

by Brian Clarey

‘“Holy crap,’” says the young brunette with a look on her face that is a cross between astonishment and wonder. In her manicured hand she holds a rotating, blinking, slightly exaggerated phallus. ‘“Look,’” she shows her bare arm to a friend standing next to her. ‘“I’m getting chills.’”

The device is named the Decadent Indulgence, the Cadillac of what I’m choosing to call ‘personal internal massage tools’ in favor of a somewhat more guttural term that rhymes with ‘Cabildo’ and, in a rare moment of good taste, I’ve deemed unprintable. It’s got eight levels of vibration, hyperrealistic length and girth and a rotating cuff on the shaft studded with ball bearings. It makes a sound like a power screwdriver and retails for about a hundred and fifty bucks, approximately the same amount as a payment on an 8-year-old Honda, and according to Sylvia Avondet it is an extremely popular item.

‘“I’ve had people spend their tax checks on these,’” she says.

We’re all together at the Passion Parties event that kicks off the Next Door Tavern’s late-summer effort to entice singles to mingle on early weekday evenings.

‘“We’ll have singles night every Monday,’” says bar owner Lee Moore, ‘“from five until whenever.’”

He’s got some plans in the works: speed dating, casino night, Bingo and an intriguing exercise in innuendo called a ‘nut and bolt party’ whereby men and women are handed different sized nuts or bolts at the door. When two of them come together with compatible parts they can’… well’… screw.

This event is a bit more explicit.

Sylvia, the Greensboro rep for the Passion Party company, says that she usually hosts events like these in people’s homes and that the attendees are generally married women looking to spice things up in the bedroom.

‘“It’s like a girls’ night out,’” she explains. ‘“They feel a little giddy, a little naughty.’”

It’s like a Tupperware party, except the merchandise is a bit more’… specialized ‘— creams, lotions and oils designed for application to bare skin; edible body dust and lickable gels; feather ticklers and leather snappers; books and tapes on coupling and arousal; translucent lingerie; erotic board games and playing cards and rings that are way too big to ever grace a finger.

And then there are the toys’….

She totes them to the gigs in a nondescript suitcase and keeps them covered by a towel on the presentation table at the beginning of her spiel. She’ll take orders for them in a separate room at the house parties she hosts. ‘“Nobody has to know that you ordered the biggest one,’” she tells people.

We gather around her tables, about ten of us including two young couples, one of the hetero and one of the homo variety, a few curious women and a few smirking guys,

She starts off her demo with a powdery aerosol spray meant to be applied to bedsheets.

‘“The men come in and buy two of these,’” she says, ‘“one for their truck.’”

She moves through ribbed massage gloves, glow-in-the-dark body cream (‘“You can draw a map!’”), pheremone-infused potions and lotions, fur-lined handcuffs and sexual enhancement products with names like ‘Tighten Up’ (for women) and ‘Pure Satisfaction’ (which is applied to the inside of the male organ and, Sylvia says, is effective if your man is a ‘“Johnny-be-quick.’” Her words, not mine).

She displays a lotion called ‘Slippery Stuff,’ and extols some of its virtues in her quaint Southern accent.

‘“Men love when you rub your boobies on their private parts with this stuff,’” she says.

Then she moves on to the big guns, reaching under the towel and pulling out the toys one at a time: the Jackrabbit, made famous by an episode of ‘“Sex in the City,’” the Nubby G, the Clitopatra, the Bathing Buddy, the Magic Monarch and, perhaps the most disturbing, the Mini Tongue, an incredibly lifelike slab of silicone which, at six inches, makes the men in the room feel inadequate in a whole new way.

After the demo we gather around the tables for a hands-on look at the gear.

The young brunette picks up a stout plug and turns it in her hands.

‘“Someone’s gonna have to riddle me this she says,’” and we all laugh.

‘“That’s why she keeps this stuff covered,’” the brunette says, ‘“so you guys won’t laugh.’”

She folds back the towel and lifts another item from the arsenal, the Chocolate Thriller, and nobody’s laughing now.