Friday, October 1, 2021

A man walks into a sex toy shop...

Searah Deysach in her store, Early to Bed, 5044 N. Clark. 

     Searah Deysach doesn’t rush up to a customer entering her shop. She likes to hang back, give them time.
     “We find that if you immediately approach somebody, they shut off,” she said. So she waits before circling over to ask, “Do you need help finding anything? Do you have questions?”
     They often do.
     Early to Bed, 5044 N. Clark, in Andersonville is a noteworthy establishment for two reasons. First, it just marked its 20th anniversary. That caught my attention. A milestone for any small specialty store.
     And second, it sells sex toys. Not many stores do that. A visit seemed in order.
     Alas, much of Early to Bed’s colorful stock defies description in a family newspaper. “Probe-y things and ball-shaped things and tickle-y things and twisty things,” is how Deysach put it. Often a single object will suggest an entire sub-realm of heretofore unimagined—at least by me—human psychology, such as the eight inch silicon squid tentacle.
     “These are all rechargeable vibrators,” says Deysach, giving a tour of the store. “And then over here, we have a lot of vibrators that are battery operated, and then wand style vibrators.”
     What prompts a person to start a sex toy shop?
     “It wasn’t something I set out to do,” said Deysach, 48, who “just made up” her first name, Searah, in seventh grade. “So many Sarahs in middle school,” she said. “I was searching for my unique identity.”
     Like any other good businessperson, she saw a need. She started her store for the simple reason that shopping for sex toys wasn’t the fun it ought to be.
     “Not to shade any other other stores, but it was not the warm, fun, exciting experience I thought shopping for sex toys would be.” she said. “I had more than one experience where I felt unsupported. It was awkward, uncomfortable, disappointing. I felt shamed by people working in these stores. That was the ‘aha’ moment. I thought, ‘This is ridiculous: stores that sell these products are staffed by people who make you feel terrible for wanting the products in these stores.”
     The seed money came from her mother.
     “Nobody gives a sex toy store a business loan,” she said. Credit card companies charge her more, insurance companies have dropped her when they realize her line of business, and she can’t advertise on Facebook. The reason is clear.
     “One hundred percent prudery,” she says.

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"This one is just for the blog," I said.

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