Wives Gone Wild and the Unfortunate Moonshine Incident
The business world understands that women are generally team players and cooperative supporters. The psychology behind sales tries to capitalize on those traits. For instance, home based parties were borne from the body of believers in the direct sales industry. They know that women are highly relational, therefore they created a direct sales platform that markets almost exclusively to women, leveraging her connections to create an ongoing customer base. The plastic giant Tupperware is a good example.
If you think about it, reframing a sales demonstration with a captive audience as a "party" is ingenious. All a sales rep has to do is convince a woman to "host" a party in her home and invite all her nearest and dearest. As a token of appreciation, the hostess will receive free products, discounts, and other perks. The more the party attendees buy, the greater the spoils heaped on the hostess, which is an attractive incentive...attractive enough to make one lure all her female friends into an evening of sales pitching.
Don't get me wrong, I typically enjoy these parties. I'm always lucky enough to find shit I never knew I needed or wanted, then have it conveniently shipped to my house. Additionally, I get to hang out with my friends, as well as meet new people I'll never see again. And, unless the hostess is a proper Baptist or a recovering alcoholic, there is usually wine.
It has been my experience that alcohol is the key ingredient for any successful product party. Not only does it make your internment as an audience member more enjoyable, it serves as a conduit to a happy place where you forget the unpleasantries of life...like your upcoming mortgage payment or lagging retirement fund. I haven't seen any formal studies, but I imagine sales must rise at least ten fold if party goers are loosened up with booze. Needless to say, the expectation when walking into any of these home parties is that alcohol will be served.
I've been to numerous parties hosted by friends over the years. Been there, done that, and I have lots of cute (and sometimes useful) things to show for it. When one of my friends (let's call her Erin) invited me to a Pure Romance party though, I hadn't even heard of the company. Plus I was in a contentious divorce at the time, so any items sold under the banner of "romance" were inapplicable to me and my new station in life. Romance? Bleh.
I called Erin to ask what sort of party it was going to be, hoping to get a sweet reprieve, because obviously everyone understands that the dissolution of marriage sucks the humanity out of you, let alone any romantic desires. Surely my invite was a mistake. Erin had difficulty explaining to me the nature of the product line, instead she kept explaining that she was only doing the party as a favor to somebody for some reason, yada, yada, yada. But I had stopped listening once I had gotten in front of my computer and googled the company.
"Are you having a sex toy party?" I asked, astonished.
You see, out of all my female friends, Erin is the one who never wants to talk about sex. Maybe she's normal, and the rest of us are nymphos, I don't know. I only know that she was the last person I would have expected to welcome into her home a sex toy hawker with a bag full of vibrators. That being said, it was hilarious to me that, instead of "sex toys," Erin kept referring to the company's excellent line of candles, lotions, and perfume. And candles. She was really overselling the candles to me. Those must have been some really good candles.
On the evening of the party, I brought a bottle of champagne and a bottle of St. Germain, so I could mix simple cocktails. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with how St. Germain affects me, ask me to explain to you why I had to miss the Grateful Dead concert.) My plan for the party was to mix one drink for myself and share the remainder with the ladies. The problem with that plan was that I arrived late (of course) and by that time everyone already had a drink in their hand, not to mention that the kitchen counter was overflowing with choices, as it appeared most attendees must have brought their own booze. (I made a mental note right then and there to get to know as many of those strangers as possible, because, if I ever needed a new set of friends, those people had just made my short list.)
I poured myself a champagne drink and squeezed into a chair alongside Erin, who happened to be to the immediate right of the sex toy lady, which meant that I got to see all the wares up close and personal as sex toy lady was talking about them. And sex toy lady did talk about them. She talked and talked and talked...without nary a smile, giggle, or hint of embarrassment. Obviously, she was much more mature than me. Sex toy lady was the consummate professional, and she didn't lose her composure once as she brought out a wide variety of unmentionables. Nope, she talked about things going here and there and everywhere with the clinical detachment of a high school science teacher. She was so dispassionate in her delivery, I wasn't sure what I felt more towards her - admiration or fear.
Sex toy lady stood in the family room in front of the fireplace and delivered her presentation, while the attendees formed a half circle around her, seated on every available piece of furniture. It was a big group, maybe upwards of 15-20 women, with most being wives. Sex toy lady would reach into her bag of tricks, pull out a new item, then try to sell us on why we should buy it, before she passed it around the room for quality inspection. (I must admit, they do sell top quality naughty.)
I only noticed two women who seemed mortified throughout the evening. Considering Kentucky is part of the Bible Belt, two out of twenty ain't bad. Hopefully those two are married to men with Victorian Era predilections.
The other party attendees were a lively group, and didn't hesitate to try out the lotions and potions that were passed around the room, in addition to the parade of vibrators that they fondled and examined. Of course, it was all in lighthearted fun, except for one woman who appeared to be taking notes. She seemed hellbent on making prudent consumer choices. I can't fault her though. We should all be that studiously selective when buying our gadgets.
Sex toy lady told us she saved the best for last in the lineup of solo wands, the piece de resistance of vibrators. It even had its own official sounding title, "The Executive"or something like that...and it was touted as being able to change a woman's world. After sex toy lady built up this earthquake of a plaything as if it were a gift from the heavens, someone asked the price. If memory serves, the cost was around $200-$300. Hmm. Can the Executive take out the trash or mow the lawn? No? Okay then, I'll pass for now and continue saving for a real humanoid robot or a mail order husband, whichever I can afford first. Besides, I'm a cerebral type of girl, so I'll never be impressed sexually by anything that can't engage me on all levels. Truth be told, I prefer a shock and awe campaign in the bedroom. You can't get shock and awe from Duracell.
At some point early in the night, I had a second (and possibly third) champagne cocktail, since no one else seemed to be drinking it and those sparkling bubbles wait on no woman. Soon thereafter, Jello shots made with vodka were passed to me. Now, somewhere around that time, my judgment possibly waned. I remember getting scolded by sex toy lady -- possibly over inappropriate comments, possibly for inciting laughter, possibly for being too fun. Seeing sex toy lady exasperated made me try harder to behave and keep quiet. I wasn't trying to stress out the nice sex toy lady. So I tried to focus all my attention on her and her presentation. Then she brought out the butt plug.
Let me just say that my scope of consideration had not included anal toys. On that subject, I was gratefully ignorant. But because I had been trying really hard to behave and keep quiet, I was zoomed in on everything sex toy lady was saying, and that's when the butt plug made its debut, followed by anal beads. Being the nerd that I am, I began tossing out questions: What's the purpose? Why would someone do that? Why? Why? Why???
I kid you not, sex toy lady then quoted statistics on the percentage of Americans who like this or that, including the subset percentage who had nerve endings in certain places where others did not. At that point, I ceased caring about the purpose of tail toys. I recognized that I would never understand the purpose, because I'm not a butt plug sort of girl, and, I daresay, I don't want butt plug sort of people in my life.
Shortly after the anal discourse, sex toy lady concluded her spiel and announced that she would be meeting one on one with any attendee who wanted to place an order. I turned around and a line had already formed. Since I had some time to kill, I wandered into the kitchen.
In retrospect, it was that brief walk to the kitchen that led to the turning point of the night, in addition to proving that either 1). I have no guardian angel, or 2). my guardian angel drinks heavily.
Once in the kitchen, I mingled. Someone flashed her thonged backside, but I don't remember why. Clearly, bad decisions were on the rise. Then, out of the blue, someone picked up off the counter a Mason jar full of a clear liquid with (what appeared to be) a decaying pear inside. Was it one of the kid's school projects? Someone spoke up and said, "No, it's moonshine. C brought it."
Perhaps it was the stress of my never ending divorce, or perhaps it was the undue influence of champagne, St. Germain, and vodka, but in that moment it seemed like a good idea for me to try moonshine for the first time in my life. Yep, I thought imbibing moonshine at a sex toy party would somehow work out for me in the end.
Either moonshine has no taste, or it has the ability to burn off all tastebuds upon first contact with one's tongue. Since that first swig left me wondering where the taste was, I decided to take another gulp for research purposes. Soon thereafter, I realized that I couldn't feel my tongue or lips. I looked at the two women who had also taken a swig and I told them that my lips were numb.
"Oh, that's normal," they replied.
"Now I can't feel my face," I said nervously, as I patted my anesthetized cheeks.
"Yeah, that's normal," they assured me again.
At that moment it occurred to me that I was accepting reassurance from two strangers. Maybe their normal is not my normal. Maybe they're batshit crazy. Maybe they're way drunker than I am. Maybe I'm dying and they think that's normal too.
Then I entered into the part of the night where time failed. It just stopped working properly. Unfortunately, it was during the time warp stage that I placed my order with sex toy lady. I mean, you know you really have your shit together when you're a middle-aged woman who accidentally rufi's herself on a weeknight and then orders an embarrassing amount of merchandise from a sex toy lady.
It was a weeknight. FML.
The next morning was a brutal awakening. Fuck. How could life be so painful? Fuck. Am I dead? No, I can't be dead, because I'm in too much pain. Fuck me.
Somehow I made it into the office by nine, but it was three o'clock in the afternoon before I realized that I didn't have my contacts in...because I had obviously just accepted that life was forevermore going to hurt and be blurry, so I didn't notice my missing contacts and/or my inability to see the world around me.
A few days later, I received a call from sex toy lady. Lo and behold, I had ordered so much shit that sex toy lady had to hand deliver it. No discreet USPS box for me! Then she began talking about a sex swing and how she's bringing it with her and how she would be happy to demonstrate it for me. Huh? A sex swing? She informed me that I had inquired about a sex swing the night of the party, but she didn't have one with her, but she will when she drops off my order. Oh. My. God. I obviously need an adult around who is better at this adulting thing than I am. Fuck. How much is a fucking sex swing going to cost me. Who the fuck orders a sex swing when they're alone and celibate. FML.
The day sex toy lady delivered my boxes, I still had no idea what I had ordered. (I had avoided looking at her emailed receipt, because, I admit, sometimes I like to hide from reality.) I met her in the parking lot at my office and I was taken aback by how happy she was to see me. Evidently, moonshine carved out some new friendships for me. Well, good for you, moonshine. I felt hungover for days, lost my earrings, lost my keys, but at least you know how to bond with the sex toy lady. Fucking A, moonshine, fucking A.
The best thing I received from sex toy lady that day was the news that I didn't actually order a sex swing, I had only inquired about a sex swing. There is no commitment to buy when one is just inquiring. Inquiring is free.
Since sex toy lady had parked her minivan directly by the door to my office building, I just took the unopened boxes into my office. I went back to work and forgot they were there until one of my female coworkers came in and asked, "What's in the box?"
"Sex toys. And whatever else moonshine spent my money on."
"No, you're kidding me."
I then took a pair of scissors and opened the boxes. As it turned out, I was just as surprised as my coworker. Moonshine is not only a big spender, but it's also quite the diverse shopper:
- a riding crop
- a book entitled Ride'em Cowgirl: Sex Position Secrets for Better Bucking
- a whole entire bed bondage system
- pink, fur-lined handcuffs
- a blindfold
- a crotchless fishnet full body stocking
- various sex card games
- various edible lubricants (because moonshine must have been hungry)
- various creams and lotions
- and so on and so forth
Moonshine spent hundreds of dollars and bought just about everything in the catalog, except for one of those damn candles. FML.
In conclusion, I highly recommend that you refrain from moonshine, especially at any direct sales event. If you should find yourself at a home sales party with moonshine, for your sake, I hope it's a Tupperware party. I don't think moonshine would get as excited and spendthrifty over Tupperware as it might sex toys. And you'll find the Tupperware just as useful whether you're single or married.