This could be uncomfortable for all of us

Midlife Sentence | Sex toys

I have a story for you guys, but first, it’s only fair to warn you. You may think you’re visiting what seems like a mild-mannered, sometimes goofy lifestyle/parenting/whatever-it-is blog, but you could be unwittingly putting yourself in the middle of some company you might normally avoid.

Or maybe not. Maybe you do keep this kind of company but just on the down low. I don’t know. I’m not judging, just giving you a heads up.

A few months ago, I noticed that one of my posts in particular was getting a decent amount of daily attention, and I couldn’t figure out why. It’s an okay piece, worth a chuckle, I guess, but not any more special than anything else you’ll find here.

I wrote it three years ago when my neighbor invited us to an open house and I noticed the little postcard invitation had a pineapple on it, which reminded me about a local urban legend about the neighborhood just over the hill, rumored to be popular with swingers. As the story goes, if you’re interested in a swinging evening, you look for the house (or maybe houses, I don’t know how many folks are into this, maybe you have a choice) with the pineapple on the porch.

I’m not sure what you do once you find the pineapple, if there’s any protocol for announcing yourself or what, which I guess was the point of the story – that and wondering if the neighbors were swingers, which I never found out.

So that post started to get some daily attention after a few years of none at all, which usually means someone with more traffic was driving that. After a little sleuthing, we found out who. The post has been picked up by a couple of aggregators – sites that pull content from all over the internet that fit a theme.

Which is how my blog seems to have become a popular search result for people looking for porn.

Yup. Porn. You can see for yourself if you do a search on the first paragraph in that blog – which is something I would quite strenuously advise against, unless you enjoy feeling like you should bleach your whole, dang brain. You might want to after a gander at some of the headlines of the other articles that have been pulled into those sites. Blech.

All of this is a way of saying you’re probably staring at the same content right now as someone who has recently googled “granny porn,” or something just as weird, and I’m sorry you’re in such company, but I’m also going to ask you the favor of NOT LEAVING ME ALONE WITH THESE PEOPLE, okay?

That’s actually not the point of this post, although the story I have to tell you is likely going to get me another slot on one of those aggregators and so I had to think long and hard about whether to tell you at all.

I kid. You probably know I didn’t actually think too long or hard because a good story is worth my getting myself into a little bit of trouble. I’m also going to assume the best of you (i.e. you’re not here for granny porn), so here goes:

A friend asked me to help her out recently. She manages a small event center and needed someone to serve beer and wine at a private party that had been scheduled at the same time she had to be somewhere else. I owe this person a gazillion favors and also happened to be free, so, sure.

I was coming directly from a superhero-themed conference (don’t I have all the fun?), and thus appropriately dressed in my favorite Thundercats t-shirt. My friend thought that was fine for the event, and I didn’t have time to go home and change anyway.

The event was a VIP reception for a conference on love and relationships, but my friend kept calling it a “sex toy party” for short, probably because that’s just fun to say. She showed me where I’d be serving from, which was a bar placed between a booth displaying padded wrist restraints and lotions and all kinds of stuff I didn’t recognize, and a table where a woman dressed like Stevie Nicks with a massive head of dreadlocks was giving some sort of tantric astrology advice on romance.

I love people-watching and wondered who might be coming to anything that could be construed as a sex toy party, and of course there was the bondage couple and Stevie Nicks to keep track of, so I thought this wouldn’t be a bad way to spend a couple of hours. The room started filling up with couples and a few single folks and groups of women. A lot of the gals were dressed up in cocktail attire, with heels and sequined gowns. Some were a little more casual. There were a number of guys there, too. A few wore jackets. Most were more informally dressed than the ladies.

The bar was hosted so I thought I’d get a lot of traffic, but it turned out to be manageable. A few people chatted with me and complemented my Thundercats shirt. One woman asked if I thought Sprite would go better with white or red wine. I really didn’t have an opinion, so she took one of each and promised to report back.

I received enough comments on my t-shirt, I started to wonder if I was inadvertently making some sort of statement. The couple in the bondage-and-lotions booth was giving a demonstration on some hand-held device that was purple and lumpy and I started sweating and feeling flushed. I just focused on pouring wine and trying not to look.

Then I wondered if I would run into anyone I knew, and the room started to feel really warm. I started rearranging beer bottles in the ice bucket so I’d have a reason not to survey the crowd.

About an hour into the evening the organizers called everyone together for a panel discussion.

“Now I want everyone to look to your left and your right and give a little nod,” she said. “Let’s all agree this is a safe space. These people are experts and I want you to feel comfortable asking anything you want.”

I didn’t know if that nodding thing included me, you guys, and that kind of freaked me out. I hadn’t signed up for anything requiring a safe space, and my Thundercats shirt wasn’t intended to mean anything in particular, and, my lord why was it so hot in here?

I tried to find something I could do behind the bar to look too busy to nod at Stevie Nicks or the handcuff couple. I was sure they should feel safe around me, but I was really sweating now and sure my face was all kinds of shades of red and purple. What the hell, you guys? I was just supposed to be handing out the Heineken. I wondered if it would be rude of me to just leave the room.

I should probably let you know (if you haven’t already guessed), that I really appreciate not knowing anything about anyone else’s sex life, and – warning: this is probably more than you need to know about mine – for the last 20 years or so, any bow-chicka-wow-wow around here has consisted of whatever could happen in those rare moments when neither of us is too tired, too busy, or too stressed, and we’re fairly certain to be free of interruption for at least 15 solid minutes. There’s never a lot of need for creativity or time for costumes or toys or anything requiring batteries around here. It’s pretty vanilla.

And by the way I’M NOT JUDGING if things are any different for you. This is just my way of saying I’m really unfamiliar with these types of conferences and prone to overthinking things like how I haven’t invested a lot of time into pondering the tantric cosmos or whatever, and apparently neither has my husband and I guess that works for both of us because we’re still together after 27 years.

In any case, I needn’t have worried about plugging my ears and singing la-la-la during the panel. All the questions had to do with knowing whether you have a special connection with someone else or not, or being able to move on after infidelity, or what to do if you keep attracting jerks. I guess any of these questions could be sore subjects depending upon who you walked in the door with, and nothing, thank God, required me to come to any special understanding with anyone next to me, so it turns out I got all twitter pated for pretty much nothing.

And, by the way, if you ARE here for the granny porn, I can’t please everyone, all of the time and you should know I’m not even really trying very hard most of the time anyway.

… And I’m no wine expert but I’m going to guess Sprite probably shouldn’t go with either white or red anytime, ever, but the woman never reported back, so I’ll never know for sure.

… And Thundercats is just a cartoon and doesn’t have any special meaning as far as I’m concerned even though Chetara is probably kind of sexy in a cartoony-superhero kind of way.

Pineapples, on the other hand, could mean all sorts of different things, and I’m not even going there. That’s a whole other post.

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