If you’ve ever shopped at an Adult Bookstore - and you know you have - you might’ve noticed there’s a real shortage of books. I didn’t see any. I wasn’t necessarily seeking out reading material, though. Good thing. because I was only there to get a good gander at the film titles for my novel. I swear.
I didn’t know much about porn shops before I started writing The Last Day for Rob Rhino. As every good writer bee knows, you’ve gotta understand your characters' environments. It’s called research. You must do it. I didn’t make the rules, I just follow them. So off I went with hubby and notepad in tow.
Image: Eric Mollena via Flickr
My husband Ed has long suffered for my art. Something about letting his wife trot off to a store full of dildos and blow up dolls alone didn’t sit right. He agreed to accompany me. Someone had to do it.
We had to park the care in the back. A porn shop anomaly-- there is no front.
We snuck in.
The first things we passed in the long, dark entry hall were booths with black curtains. They were just like confessionals. only different. The bad seventies Superfly music didn’t quite cover up the, oh baby oh baby, groans. I stopped. Ed pushed me along. “What’s going on in there?” I whispered. “We don’t want to know.” He kept pushing. We moved toward the light and sex kitsch heaven.
It smelled icky, just like you’d think. The guy behind the one small counter looked like a felon, just like you’d think.
“Where do you think the movies are?” I asked from behind my hand like a baseball coach.
Ed looked around, over my head, and shrugged. For once, I took a page out of his book-- Never ask a store clerk where anything is. Ever. If it’s not in the immediate vicinity, leave and say they didn’t have it.
I saw right away they had items I couldn’t leave without examining, though. The pervy motherlode. I figured we wouldd stumble upon the DVDs eventually. Ed manned the notepad, I dictated. We went into total covert mission mode. Our fellow shoppers never looked our way, I noticed.
I didn’t see anyone in a trench coat.
I feared we would get arrested at any second.
I feared we would get kicked out by the felon at the register.
I feared someone we knew would see us.
I'm lying. I really wished we had seen someone we knew. I’m a writer; not much shames me. Word of warning to all: If I ever see you somewhere you don’t want to be seen, I will write about it.
After perusing the vibrators, plugs, slings, ben-wa-whatcha-call-its and strap-ons, we found the films. Ed scribbled furiously and we had a good chuckle.
Come on, Sperms of Endearment is funny.
Gripping our notes, we crept out from where we’d come. The dark, long hall with the quasi-confessionals. The oh baby, oh baby loop still played. Ed pushed me along.
I really did want to know what they were doing in there.
Maybe we would have seen someone we knew.