Sex and the Frozen City

We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation.

-Lily Tomlin

The topic of vulnerability came up with my coach a couple of weeks ago. (Post grad, we agreed to trade coaching services for writing services, so I have continued on with my biz school coaching.)

I’m paraphrasing, but she said something like this: “We know you, but don’t know you. There is still a wall between us and you because of your fear of vulnerability. Even in your blog, you’re honest, but you still maintain a distance from being vulnerable. I challenge you to drop the armor, even in your blog.”

From my vantage point, I don’t see it. But considering I have had feedback over the years of being intimidating, cool/aloof or hard to get to know, I’ll assume she may be onto something.

I was going to write about vulnerability this post, but instead had an experience this past weekend whereby I decided to accept her challenge by expressing vulnerability through writing about it here on my blog.

I told you in my very first post that life by heart and living on the edge, for me, means doing a lot of things that I never imagined I’d do for the sake of my dream.

Last weekend I was asked to help work a booth at the Taboo show, which I accepted. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s the annual four-day sex show. I consider myself somewhat liberal, but I stepped way out of my comfort zone, not only by spending the weekend at the show, but also by selling intimate jewelry at it.

In case you’ve never spent time at a naughty but nice sex show, let me paint you the picture …

Down the aisles, you’ll find every manner of sex toys and trinkets from the subtle and sensual to the outright garish and hardcore kinky. Whether you want the latest, colorful vibrator, fetish wear, or a new set of whips and chains, you’ll find it.

In the booths, you’ll see scantily clad girls wearing bustiers and high cut boy panties with “Awesome Ass” on the back (and a lot of ass hanging out), tatted porn stars wearing stilettos, lace thongs, and very skimpy bras, and women sporting nothing but body art.

A large area is dedicated to a stage and bar where hammering music ranging from hip-hop to heavy metal blares incessantly and assaults the senses beyond comprehension (unfortunately we were situated directly behind the bar).

On stage are intimate apparel fashion shows, burlesque and belly dancers, drag queens talking about the latest toys, and strippers working the pole.

About two-thirds of the people attending the show are mainstream folk who are either going to find a new treat, explore the world of sexuality a little further, or be mildly or wildly titillated. The other third are coming to express a lifestyle that is foreign and bewildering to a “meat and potatoes” girl like myself.

Surprisingly, as the temperature plunged to the -18°C mark Saturday evening, the crowd swelled. You’ve got to know that someone from my corporate days was going to drop by the booth. A woman from one of my largest accounts stopped by with a gaggle of girlfriends, our first encounter since I left. Awkward!

There’s always an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and the world when you step outside of your own little corner of the universe.

I detest heavy metal music (I feared a Satanic ritual at some points), excessive noise, and over-stimulation and I learned that when I need to, I can transcend my intolerance. It’s not something I want to do on a regular basis because it literally creates an imbalance to my system and my life, but I did do it (possibly through an out-of-body experience, mind you).

I also learned about the art of self-acceptance. People of all shapes, sizes and ages were proudly sporting ultra-revealing kink wear, comfortable in their skin, no matter the flaws. I realized I have a lot of rules around what I wear based on my own defects and just how self-consciousness I am about my body at this stage in the game (I destroyed my room in the search for something “sexy” to wear).

And I learned that in the area of judgment, Mother Teresa I am not. I mean, how would you react to these sights?

  • A pimped out dude in orange pants, orange shoes, a zebra jacket and fedora hat who bought gifts for four different women, and had his hands up the skirt of two women simultaneously (one 20-ish and plain, the other 50-ish and bedecked in head-to-toe leopard print). Thought: Stunned silence … is she an old prostitute? Who’s who? What in the hell is going on here?
  • A very rough-looking, masculine fellow of about 65 dressed in the attire of a teenaged girl (yes, I said teenaged girl) talking about his girlfriend. Thought: Seriously?? You have a girlfriend? 
  • Two young women donning dog collars and being dragged around on leashes by a toadesque fellow who was their master. Thought: That would be a frosty day in hell when I’d let that wildebeest or any dude drag me around by a leash! What are you two thinking?
  • A woman of about 55, tall and thin with her conservative looking husband, both exuding affluence. I profiled her as head of HR for a huge downtown corporation and all she was wearing was stilettos, a small, albeit exquisite bustier, and a miniscule thong with one of the flattest, dimpliest bums of all time, right out there for all the world to see. Thought: Good gawd! What if one of her colleagues—or worst yet—her staff walk by? They’ll all be scarred for life!
  • A squat, bald accountant type wearing a white shirt, tie and dress pants—okay, standard—but over the shirt, a lovely baroque bustier and around his neck, a large, lacy Elizabethan collar. Thought: What in the hell is that supposed to be? Marie Antoinette in a suit?

Let’s face it—it’s human nature for people to judge that which they aren’t familiar with, don’t understand, or don’t approve of. I had to keep my mouth shut and my thoughts to myself and kept wishing I had a couple of girlfriends around to quip with.

Bravo to those who’ve mastered their critical nature! But after last weekend’s saturation of twisted kink and proclivities, I admit to being a far cry from walking the way of the Dalai Lama. I recognized that as harshly judgmental as I am towards anything or anybody else, so too am I equally as harshly judgmental of myself. The closer I can get to letting go of judging—of que sera, sera—the freer I will be to express myself and my own authenticity in whatever way best suits me.

Initial image of woman © Christelle Mayeur

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2 Responses to Sex and the Frozen City

  1. Karen says:

    I wish I could have been there! Do it again next year and dress for Oscar night with a bit more “push up” and show off your great legs! It was clearly memorable, by your detailed recollections. It also sounds entertaining in a surprising way. Good for you and thanks for sharing!

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