By, Tuned In Turned On?
by Mad Dog
The first thing I
noticed at Erotica 2000 was that the people attending looked, well,
normal. I didn't see any raincoats draped over laps, popcorn boxes
without bottoms, or unidentifiable stains on the carpet.
I've seen the future of sex and it was all I could do
to stay awake. It was Erotica USA 2000, a traveling exhibition that's
billed as "The World's Largest Erotic Consumer and Trade
Show." It was hip. It was risqué. But above all it was a reminder
that if the experts think size matters enough that they brag about it
then I'm in big trouble.
All in all it was pretty
much like any trade show except you could buy sex toys, erotic art,
latex clothing, autographed photos of Hustler centerfolds, jewelry for
your piercings, adult videos, and XXXtreme Vacations instead of
thimbles, Beanie Babies, or semi-automatic rifles. They say the show
sold out in London and New York but it sure didn't here in San
Francisco; the crowd was so sparse you could have swung a cat
o'nine-tails without hitting anyone. This says a lot about the Bay Area,
since last week Ikea opened a store just outside the city and people
camped out overnight to be the first ones inside. That's Ikea we're
talking about, a place where the furniture comes unassembled so if
there's any screwing to be seen it won't be in the store.
The first thing I noticed
at Erotica 2000 was that the people attending looked, well, normal. In
fact, precious few of them looked sexy or erotic. It's like the first
time you go to a nude beach and you're worried about becoming aroused.
Once you get there you realize you have nothing to worry about since
it's hard to get excited when you're surrounded by pot bellies, stretch
marks, and sagging breasts. Unless, of course, you're into that sort of
thing, in which case you should have been at Booth 124. On the other
hand, I didn't see any raincoats draped over laps, popcorn boxes without
bottoms, or unidentifiable stains on the carpet either.
It was fun to watch but,
honestly, she couldn't have gotten a pint of Cherry Garcia hard. Emeril
has nothing to worry about.
The second thing I noticed was that the so-called eroticism wasn't very
erotic, it was actually quite sterile. Looking over an array of sex toys
on a cloth-covered table doesn't feel any different than checking out
Hummel figures at a flea market. Except, of course, nothing at Erotica
2000 was used. I hope.
The truth is, I've gotten
more aroused at a food show. Of course I didn't get to eat any samples
at Erotica 2000 either. That's not to say there weren't plenty of things
being handed out, mostly condoms. Everyone was giving them away. I could
have picked up enough free condoms to last the rest of my life, which
sounds good until you realize you'd need to load up on a lot of them to
make up the $20 entry fee. And use them before they dry rot in the glove
Actually, there was food
at the show. It was on the stage. The one live performance I saw was Angel
rolling around the stage spraying whipped cream all over her body.
Disappointingly it was the yucky kind that comes from a can. She
followed that up with condensed milk, chocolate syrup, a banana,
cherries, and strawberry syrup. The only thing this Angel sundae lacked
was nuts, though I'm sure most of the guys in the audience would gladly
have offered theirs. It was fun to watch but, honestly, she couldn't
have gotten a pint of Cherry Garcia hard. Emeril has nothing to worry
Do I sound jaded? I could
be. But actually I think it has more to do with the numbing down of
America than anything personal. Where kinky sex, bondage, and S&M
were once whispered about-if known at all-now you can see it daily on
the Jerry Springer Show. That's not to say the show's not educational.
If not for Jerry we wouldn't know that most dominatrixes used to be guys
who don't regret having slept with their husband's brother's dog one
I can't exactly figure out from
their brochure how you use this but I do know that it makes me a little
nervous seeing the back page filled with a nine-point list labeled
"Use at your own risk."
You can become inured to anything. A couple of years ago I was
researching sex web sites for a search engine which originally swore
they wouldn't include such things. They changed their minds when it
dawned on them that people searching for pony rides weren't looking to
take the kids out for a Saturday afternoon jaunt. My job was to find and
describe 300 sites a week that sold sex merchandise. For the first hour
it was like being in Oz: "Dildos and butt plugs and vibes, oh
my!", but by hour two it had turned into, "I'm going to have
to buy a lot of coffee if I'm going to get through this without dozing
off and spending the rest of my day with keyboard imprints on my
Another example is San
Francisco's Folsom Street
Fair, an annual festival that attracts several hundred thousand
people to celebrate, or at least ogle, fetishism. It doesn't take long
before you stop noticing the naked guys being led around by a leash
attached to their genitals and start focusing on whether you're more in
the mood for a sausage sandwich or a taco, a decision which, contrary to
what you're thinking, has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
But that's not to say
there weren't some interesting discoveries to be made at Erotica USA
2000. There was the remote butt plug which I assume is for people with
short arms. I don't know about you, but my buns are never but so far
from my hands. Then there were the soft rubber dildos from Divine
Interventions which are shaped like Buddha, Death, Satan, Moses
(holding the Ten Commandments), Jesus, and Mary. Oh yeah, there's a baby
Jesus butt plug too.
Before you start thinking
that butt plugs were the official theme of the show, bouncing actually
was. First, there were the porn stars who made personal appearances, and
I can think of few other people whose appearances are that personal.
Then there was the Bungee Sexperience,
which is a harness attached to a bungee cord. They say it lets you have
"weightless sex" which should make Rosie and Louis Anderson
very happy. Not that they'd ever use it together. Think of it as a baby
jumper for big babies.
Good Vibrations was passing out pamphlets for the Second
Annual Masturbate-a-thon, which is on May 7th in honor of National
Masturbation Day. This is much like a Walk-a-thon except in this case
you let your fingers do the walking.
On the other side of the hall was the JoyRider,
a toilet seat which is suspended from a steel pipe frame by springs. I
can't exactly figure out from their brochure how you use this but I do
know that it makes me a little nervous seeing the back page filled with
a nine-point list labeled "Use at your own risk." Happily,
none of them says not to use it while operating heavy machinery.
The women working the
booths weren't the only nice things to look at. There was also the
Natural Contours line of beautifully designed vibrators-I mean,
massagers. They look like they were designed in Italy and would
definitely make you say, "Mama mia!" Oddly, these weren't
featured in Time's recent article about Americans getting into good
design. Maybe next time when they write about getting good design into
Not everything at the
show was for sale, one booth actually promoted charity, and I don't mean
the star of Saving Ryan's Privates. Good
Vibrations was passing out pamphlets for the Second Annual
Masturbate-a-thon, which is on May 7th in honor of National Masturbation
Day. This is much like a Walk-a-thon except in this case you let your
fingers do the walking. People sponsor you, paying based on how many
minutes you masturbate that day. And the money goes to charity. Right,
as if masturbation's not normally for a good cause.
Erotica 2000 may be
coming to a city near you. It will be in New York City June 15-18 and
Los Angeles November 9-12. You can find out more at their website www.whatissexy.com.
But don't expect nasty pictures. And don't look for live chats with
Mistress Kat. Whatever you do, don't be disappointed if you're not
turned on. I'm referring to the exhibition and the web site. But you
©2000 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them practicing for the Masurbate-a-thon.