[This event takes place after the psychiatric hospitalization mentioned in the last piece.]
"I'll have a latte with whole milk please," Hector cheerfully asked the barista.
My newly out-of-the-closet gay best friend, Hector, carried a large barrel chest, and an even larger voice, typical for an aspiring opera singer and previously closeted theater queen. We met at Cafe Ruba, a coffee shop-hookah bar-late evening hangout for young adults who were still too young to drink legally. The women's restroom had graffiti on the walls and a red light that would turn on only once you closed the door. At the time I thought the red glare was super edgy, and it always made me feel like a badass. In admittedly neurotic hindsight, I can only imagine how ineffective the red light was in helping one do one's business in a quick and sanitary manner.
"Vee! I miss you! Do you think that barista is gay? He is sooo cute."
"Hector, just because you're gay doesn't mean that everyone else is."
Hector and I had a lot to catch up on. We were both thrust into new lives post 12 years of conservative Catholic schooling (read: brainwashing) where mandatory prayers took place three times a day, where sideburns were not allowed to be flared, and where homosexuals supposedly did not exist. I spilled the drama over my split with Mike onto Hector. My ex and I broke up a month prior, and I was still dealing with the after effects. Mainly, the effects on my loins; in all honesty, I was horny and had no form of release. As far as I was concerned, UCSB was tapped out, and I had neither the time nor the desire to seek out a new man. I was a single, independent woman living in the 21st century with the freedom to take her sexual needs into her own hands.
"I don't know what to do Hector. I can't and don't wanna hook up with anyone else, but a girl's got needs!"
"The last thing I need is an STD. Did you know that you can have symptoms for up to 6 months and not know you have something?!" The information from last year's Sociology 152A: Human Sexuality class was ingrained in my mind whether I liked it or not.
"Shit. And you have to worry about getting pregnant! Hahahaha! I'm so lucky I'm gay!"
"I wish I were gay."
His eyes lit up. "You know what you need?!"
I didn't trust that look. "What?" I asked suspiciously.
The answer was simple. Hector and I walked next door to Condom Revolution, a popular sex shop on Newport Blvd. The store's bright purple and white neon sign is hard to miss, unless you're stoned and focused solely on the Del Taco close by. We had been to Condom Revolution many times before, but never with a serious purpose in mind. In the past, I had purchased gag gifts like penis shaped pasta or chocolate body icing for Christmas exchanges and birthdays, but this was the first time I needed to make a genuine purchase for myself.
Always the gentleman, Hector opened the door for me, and I walked through the threshold of the sex shop; the ding of the security bell boomed in my ear, and my heart pounded loudly in my chest.
"Crap. I hope we don't see anyone we know."
"Haha! I hope we do!" Hector chuckled.
"I'm serious Hector. This isn't funny. I have a real problem here!"
"Sure Vee," he said as he held a pair of red fringe nipple tassels to his chest.
I led Hector away from the breast accessories and stomped past the Costco-sized assortment of condoms, through the lingerie and Bachelorette party sections, and into the back room where they sold the 'good stuff.' Stacy, a pretty, super nice, and borderline trans looking Asian girl, checked our ID's to verify that we were at least 18. Shit was gettin real. Down a few stairs and to the left was our final destination. Pink, blue, silver, mini, medium, ginormous. There were a million different kinds of sex toys, and frankly, I was overwhelmed.
"What the heck are those things that look like rosary beads minus the crucifix? Is that supposed to go in my hole or yours or both?" I asked Hector.
"I have no fucking clue." Hector was just as confused as I was.
We walked through the room picking up and examining like archaeologists (what I now know as) dildos, butt plugs, anal beads, and vibrators. I had never been an avid Sex and the City watcher, but Hector was an utter fanboy. He picked up The Rabbit and exclaimed loudly, "VEE! This is the one that Carrie used! You have to get it!"
"Um, that thing is like a hundred dollars."
"But don't you think it's worth the investment? Look at these fun little pearls! They're metallic! You love metallic." Hector was in awe. It was almost as if he made a connection with Sarah Jessica Parker by merely touching the thing.
I admit, The Rabbit was pretty and I was enticed by the fact that an entire episode of SATC had been devoted to Carrie's obsession with it. But I was a vibrator virgin, and a poor 3rd year college student at that, unready to drop all that dough on something expressly dedicated to my vagina. I needed something smaller. A bit more discreet. A sort of training bra of 'body massagers.' And there, a couple rows over from the Rabbit, and beside the cock rings, was exactly what I needed, a translucent, pink, 2 inch long, half inch wide, Screaming O brand Bullet mini vibrator. Yes! At the bargain price of only $10.95 this little guy was something I could work with. I grabbed one off the wall and proceeded to the cash register where Stacy rang me up.
"I recommend an extra set of batteries," she said with a serious look on her face.
"Um, sure. Whatever you think is best." I was glad to know that she had my best interests in mind.
After an hour, Hector and I finally left Condom Revolution. A sense of relief washed over me, and I could finally breathe easy. The mission had been successfully completed and we hadn't seen anyone we knew! I was too nervous to use The Bullet that evening at my parents' house so I decided to wait until I returned to the comfort of my apartment in Santa Barbara. I was filled with excitement and I could hardly wait to test drive my new purchase!
After a two-and-a-half-hour drive the following day, I arrived back home. I sprinted out of the car, nearly tripping up the steps to my second floor apartment. My first run with the Bullet was a breeze and everything went according to plan. No longer would the pulsating box down below be a distraction. I couldn't help but think about all the wasted time and energy I had spent hooking up with stupid boys. "Why didn't I buy one of these sooner?!" If I purchased a vibrator years ago, I could have prevented a slew of hurt feelings and many embarrassing walks of shame. Note to self: purchase a vibrator for future daughter's sweet sixteen.
All was well with my new toy until a little over a week later when the unthinkable happened. As usual, I was laying on my bed naked pleasuring myself with The Bullet. The vibrations were sending tingles through my body and each cell was jumping with satisfaction. I started to caress my boobs with one hand, then with both hands. Wait, both hands?! Why are both my hands up here?! Which hand is holding The Bullet?! Shit.
I slammed both arms against the bed on either side of my body, sweaty palms down. The room was completely silent minus the constant buzz of my relatively new and once-fun toy. I kept my body still and lifted my head only slightly to stare down at my lower half. The Bullet was gone; it was as if it had vanished into thin air. I laid back down running through the events of the past 5-10 minutes in my mind, and then lifted my head up and looked again. Yup, still gone. I repeated the cycle about five more times until I finally jumped off the bed and stood in front of the full length mirror hanging by the bedroom door. I faced myself in the mirror, and saw no signs of the body massager, but heard its voice loud and clear.
"I'm still going! Catch me if you can! BUZZZZZ."
Fuck. I bent over forward and attempted to look inside to try to catch a glimpse of something, anything. There was nothing but my lady parts. Again I looked in the mirror. There stood my naked, vibrating, brown skinned, Filipino body. I was the living embodiment of an embarrassing story found only within the pages of a teen magazine. Amidst my struggle with the battery-operated beast, I alternated between cries of frustration and bouts of hysterical laughter. Was this really happening?
"Here goes nothing," I thought.
I reached in and tried to pull that sucker out, but it was so squirmy that I just couldn't get a grasp for longer than a millisecond. I decided that it might be a good idea to try and shake The Bullet out. I jumped up and down like a gorilla, stomping my bare feet into the carpeted floor beneath me. I did a distorted fast paced version of the Hokey Pokey about seventeen times, yet The Bullet remained stuck. It was stubborn and obstinate and I was frustrated.
"Where was the warning label? Hector was right. I should have invested in the Rabbit. That definitely wouldn't have gotten lost inside my vag."
Anxious thoughts raced through my mind as I paced the bedroom. I would have to come to terms with the fact that I would buzz forever. I. Was. Freaking. Out.
I began to talk to myself in an attempt to rationalize the situation. "I have class in half an hour. I can't miss class. I wonder if anyone will be able to hear anything. Yup, they'll totally hear. I'll just say it's my cell phone. Yes! My cell phone's broken and vibrates constantly. That sounds good."
Just as I had accepted the horrifying reality that I had a sex toy stuck in my cervix, a small voice inside encouraged me to try again. Looking back, I think it was my gay fairy godfather. "Go girl! You can do it! Yasss!"
Due to my extremely frequent usage over the past week, The Bullet luckily began to die, and I was able to achieve a firm grasp and pull it out after which I slammed that bad boy to the floor. Success! Relief! Thank fucking god. I threw on clothes while literally LOLing and left for class, vowing to take a break from my feisty friend. As it turned out, our relationship had become too serious way too fast. I was happy to be in control of when we would hang out again. I was also relieved that Stacy had encouraged me to purchase extra batteries, so that we COULD hang out again. Thanks, Stacy.