Sex toy temporary tattoos and the lengths we go through to photograph them.
Photo by Kate Sinclaire.
7 sex bloggers were standing outside a glass blowing studio. We’d been waiting for an hour and there was no sign of the studio owners, who’d previously agreed to a private glass dildo making session. It was clear that we’d have to reschedule with them, but how? None of us wanted to pick up the phone.
Finally, Girly Juice volunteered to call the studio the next day. The rest of us sighed with relief.
Girly Juice thought it was funny that we kept calling her Girly Juice. But none of us could help it — and I’m sure we inadvertently scared everyone at the grocery store as we yelled “GIRLY JUICE!” down the aisles. She was calculating our purchases as we shopped, which fit her perfectly: she is incredibly organized, productive, and chill.
Girly Juice is a wee 23 years old, yet she’s more advanced at existing in this world than most of us. Many times, I distressingly whipped my head around wondering if a memorable moment had been tweeted, only to have GJ confirm she’d already done it. She was the only one who had blog posts go up during the trip (“ooh, Girly Juice has a new post!” “I do?”), and she hosted a productivity roundtable that made us all feel Very Professional.
But more than anything else, I treasure Girly Juice’s laugh — it begins small, but quickly escalates into snorts and eyes squeezed shut in ecstasy. Which is exactly what she did when we ran out of mixers and she invented a new drink: Thin Mint creamer mixed with tequila. We were all rightfully terrified, but it actually tasted decent.
Thin Mint Surprise, as she called it, was invented during a boisterous game of Telephone Pictionary. This game was introduced to the group by my love, Aerie. We laughed until our cheeks ached, especially when Aerie’s drawing skills brought to life phrases such as “when LELO creates a new shitty thing” and “two pregnant people watching a farmer who is looking at a painting of a cat with a butt plug.”
Aerie was one of my partners in crime for planning the trip, which we called #dildoholiday after previous sex blogger shindigs. Together we shopped for personalized gifts for each attendee, like locally-made nail polish and coffee that was both “bike powered” and “organically grown by women farmers.” Our conversations in shops included questions such as “does Girly Juice like blue?” and “has Bex ever tweeted about tea?”
I live for Aerie’s smile, like the gleeful grin that came over their face as they worked with glass blower Otto at the studio to craft their own dildo. Like their peals of laughter as we all huddled in the corner of the beach house, desperately holding our arms out for a photo of our sex toy temporary tattoos — our perfectionism thwarted by the pain shooting through our arms.
Then, when the internet died for hours and things became desperate, Reenie did some magic to reset the router and determine the new network name and password.
“Together,” Aerie remarked, “we form one fully functional human.”
Reenie is exactly as cute as you’d expect from her blog. She’s tiny, shy, orders the kids’ pancake because it has grapes for eyes, and brought all of us drawings of our favorite toys doing our favorite summer activities.1
She’s also full of adorable quips. When I asked if the Chinese snacks she brought were sweet or savory she replied, “…none?” When my Pure Wand fell on Penny’s foot, Reenie asked fearfully, “is it still functioning?” When we unveiled the attendee goodie bags and Tantus’ new dildos were peeking out of them, Reenie gasped, “I SEE THAT. I SEE SOMETHING.”
As unexpected and wonderful as Reenie’s quips were, though, there was one I truly didn’t anticipate. In a haze of late-night-early-morning sex, I asked who in the room wanted to finger me. A small, timid voice piped up: “can I?”
Reenie had never fingered anyone before, yet she proceeded to finger me with the endurance and consistency of a goddamn champion. And, like any great sex partner, she wasn’t shy with the lube. I kept thinking of the clerk at the sex shop where we purchased it, who inquired if we were all “group-sexing.” I was delighted to confirm her suspicions.
That was the second time I was fingered into the morning light. The first time was with Penny, the sexy Texan photographer. During the trip she patiently taught me how to take photos and edit them, and she patiently fingered me until her fingers were prunes. Another night, I casually paddled her butt — which was generally understood as “the best butt” — while others played with the Neon Wand and got massages.
Penny is a classy lady — she was the one we pointed to when the waiter asked who wanted to taste the $30 wine we’d picked — but also incredibly down-to-earth, with an insatiable hunger for bacon and pizza (and both at once, if possible). In the arcade of a quaint coastal restaurant, we watched in awe as she won all of us pizza keychains. The locals were confused about why we kept cheering.
But cheering each other on is what we do. When our newly-blown glass dildos came back and several of them were huge, Kate’s achievement of using one was met with applause, and we gasped excitedly as we watched Girly Juice’s filmed documentation of inserting hers. We tried each others’ toys, we shared porn while masturbating, we wiped each others’ lubey fingers.
This was all normal to us. It came naturally.
None of it would have happened if not for Bex, the original mastermind behind the event. Tough and vivacious, Bex has an infectious smile and a steadfast attitude that kept us on track the entire time. “What time do we want to get to the strip club?” they asked us the first night. “Let’s work backward from there.”
Several people had never been to a strip club, including Bex. As the dancers performed, I kept watching their face in the mirror behind the stage, head cocked with the most perfect glazed look of awe. When I told them how beautiful they were, they admitted to worrying about wearing the right kind of expression.
In some ways, Bex is still young — in others, not at all. On the drive to the coast, they entertained me with nail-biting stories of sketchy customers at their day job. One time they got held up by an unconvincing criminal and Bex was basically just like, “I don’t believe you.” What a boss.
Everyone has some personality trait I wish I could steal. With Kate, I envy her unwavering body- and sex- positivity. Sweet, thoughtful, and kind, she’s the only person I know who can use the Mona backwards and be so cute about it that I don’t even care.
I also love Kate because she’s unabashedly honest, serving up the truth with a smile in true flight attendant fashion. Before riding my Sybian, she retreated into the bathroom: “going to go make some farts so I don’t fart while I’m on there.” At the liquor store, the clerk mentioned that her daughter-in-law was a flight attendant, and upon hearing the name of the airline Kate quipped, “oh, she must be really hot. That’s the hot airline.”
When not telling people how to fasten their seatbelts, Kate is a photographer of erotic things. Her penchant for putting people at ease, plus her skill with the camera, led to several nude photoshoots and Kate dispensing priceless advice such as “put your hand on your hip and look at me like I said something mean.” She even curated an entire night of queer, subversive porn.
Porn night was when we discovered a creepy angel statue perched above us in the living room. We needed a name for it because I wanted to tweet about its judgmental air, and Kate just spit out “CHERUB OF SHAME.” It was perfect.
Because I’m the worst at Twitter on my phone, my attempt at hashtagging #cherubofshame was accidentally an @ reply, which led us to giggle “what if the Cherub of Shame had a Twitter account?” And so it had to be.
The Cherub of Shame spent most of its time tweeting disapprovingly about us and appearing randomly throughout the house. On the toilet. In the fridge. Outside on the hot tub. One night, on a mission to grab my Hitachi from my room, I ran into the Cherub on the stairs and literally fell onto the floor laughing.
Is there anything better than that?
Is there anything better than imagining an outside observer’s perspective on our friendship, and how odd it must look to everyone else? Or laughing so hard you can no longer remain standing?
Is there anything better than stumbling into inside jokes about tiny happy circles, moaning into the night, fuckin’ Kelly and how she always spaces it, rich girls, allotted “woo”s, Gary, ending tweets with half an ellipsis, and how the rudest part of 50 Shades is when Christian takes a non-consensual bite of Ana’s toast?
Is there anything better than masturbating in the same house as all your friends, at the same time, and tweeting at each other throughout? Watching curated porn with a group of feminists, sans pants because pants are dumb? Trying each others’ hand-blown glass dildos and reporting back on our experiences because, well, who would pass up that opportunity?
Hugs and giggles and fingers against my G-spot and wind in my hair and saying anything I want because I know it’ll be not just accepted, but understood.
Is there anything better than feeling like you belong?