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Bad Vibes 

Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby

When a single person, especially a woman, starts buying all the necessities for her first home, it usually involves a trip to Target or Walmart to get the standard things like blenders, toasters, can openers, etc. Other women apparently have a different definition of "necessity." Recently, here in my sexual prime of 33 years, I've discovered that I'm definitely in the slow group in terms of collecting sexual paraphernalia.I've actually made a mental note of this several times in my life while conversing with other women in my peer group. When we get to gaggling about our sex lives, the subject of what we do when we find ourselves without a partner from time to time inevitably comes up. On more than one occasion, when I've thrown out a comment that seems innocent enough, talk around the table has turned into a most uncomfortable silence; all because of my seemingly odd revelation: I don't own a vibrator.

Have vibrators become a must-have sexual appliance? Is this what women have been reduced to in their quest for liberation and independence? I wonder if I stand alone in my opinion that it might be a fun toy if you're married, or have a Boy Toy, or whatever-his-name-is, playing house with you this week, but I just cannot see any need to keep a back-up system in a dresser drawer that requires AA batteries or an extension cord. Hell, I still get nervous using my rechargeable electric razor in the shower. I don't think I'm the type of woman who could bring herself to plug any device into a 110V outlet and insert any part of it inside my body. I just have horrible visions of a faulty gadget causing electrocution, and someone having to call my parents and explain to them how I died. I can't imagine anything more humiliating than having the circumstances surrounding your death be so ludicrous that it makes Bob and Sheri's "Morons in the News."

Nevertheless, I set out to see if I could discover where these little contraptions were sold in Charlotte. I thought it might be time to give myself a remedial lesson in sexual device technology, and bring myself up to speed -- preferably on multiple levels.

Charlotte doesn't exactly have a red-light district where you can easily find a sex-toy shop behind some seedy strip joint. After driving around for an hour, I drove back home when I realized that plopping down a vibrator on a sales counter wasn't going to be my idea of a pleasant shopping experience. I'd rather swallow shards of glass than be forced to watch the salesperson take it out of the box, pop the batteries in, and give it a good whirl to make sure it was working for me. At this point, any sound a vibrator makes in a sex shop full of customers would be as deafening as the launch of the Space Shuttle. Then I'd have to endure the next few agonizing moments while my transaction was rung up; and God forbid they have a question about the price. I can hear the salesperson yelling across the room, "Yo! Joe! Can you give me a price check on the 9-Inch Ultimate Power Thruster in section two?" I came to the conclusion that I just wasn't ready to share a moment like that with a blue-haired kid with a tongue ring and tattoo-covered biceps.

I decided to try surfing the internet and found out that a good vibrator will set you back $100 or more, depending on the material it's made of, or how famous the porn star was who they used as a model. Flashing lights were extra, and the more elaborate robotics which caused a "realistic feel," or added features that delivered an equivalent of electric shock therapy, upped the price to an easy $200.

The one model I couldn't seem to comprehend was a vibrator that sported a remote control feature. Who would buy a vibrator with a remote control? On what occasion would you find yourself in a yoga position that would require that kind of acrobatics? And if you have a partner present to maneuver the mechanics on the remote control, then why are you using a vibrator at all?

While web surfing, I discovered that barnyard animals were the theme of the more elaborate and expensive models. Rabbits and piglets -- even elephants -- graced the pages. I can easily see how a woman could find an exact replica of well-endowed male genitalia sexy and exciting, but an elephant?

I sighed as I clicked through the websites, all promising prompt delivery in discreet brown packaging with shipping and handling charges almost equaling the price of the product.

I finally decided this just wasn't the route for me. I shivered at the thought of getting on this let's-go-out-and-buy-a-vibrator kick that women from my own generation seem to be on. I may be different than other women in my social circle, but I just can't deal with cheap substitutions for the real thing.

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