Ms. Maple Gets into a Really Sticky Situation in Coolidge Corner
It is delightful to spend one’s Saturday afternoon perusing the many shops that line the impeccably kept streets of Coolidge Corner. The sun always seems to shine, the birds do chirp, and indeed trash hardly ever litters the streets. Shops range from large commercial affairs such as the GAP to small, individual and eccentric shops like Access where one can purchase multicolored martini glasses and funky clothes. Trader Joe’s has made Coolidge Corner its home, so too has Brookline Booksmith, a cozy yet vast bookstore complete with its own book cellar where one may browse through cheaper, gently used novels and biographies. Cinema Smith is the resident video store with categories ranging from horror to classic (classic being my personal favorite, particularly Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte because I do love the way Betty Davis remains a fashionably dressed Southern lady even under, shall we say, extreme duress). There is even a group of shops located in a large building called the Arcade where you can get your lamp fixed, grab a bite to eat, have your hair trimmed, use the facilities and shop for brooches without ever having to step outside. Generally, I find myself entering the Arcade whenever I make a trip to Coolidge Corner; usually I am visiting Encore Exchange where the previously mentioned brooches line the storefront’s windows, glistening and shimmering like a chandelier in the Ritz. Sometimes I find myself purchasing a unique pair of earrings or trying on a sleek poncho in Fire Opal. However, on one particular excursion, I decided to pay a visit to the second floor of the Arcade.
Every time I enter the establishment I always pass a large sign in front of the Arcade with the words GRAND OPENING! written in large bold letters. Generally, I proceed on my merry way giving the sign wide girth and the store little thought, in truth, I find new experiences distasteful and am naturally suspect of new stores boasting of their ‘grand openings.’ However, on this particular day the normally glorious sky had taken a turn for the worse, and it was either go out into mild rain, have my hair washed and fluffed for the second time that day, fix a lamp I did not have, or walk up a small flight of stairs. Naturally, being the determined person I am, I headed outside only to find that the mild ran had quickened in tempo, and I was standing under a downpour. I retreated discreetly and began to climb the stairs which lead to the upper level of the Arcade.
The second floor is an atrium; the stores line the walls creating a vast, bright, open oval in the middle. Once I reached the top of the stairs, (pausing to clutch my pocketbook to my chest and breathe) I turned left and walked down the hall. I found the store easily and noticed vaguely, as I proceeded to the door, that the windows were opaque and several newspaper articles were posted. Outrageous, I though to myself, clearly they were very found of themselves but was the secrecy so necessary? I opened the door and stepped inside.
Immediately, I was greeted by one of the girls behind the counter. I returned her ‘Good morning.’ The store was small, cozy not cramped, and I noticed a comfortable chair on the right hand side. I walked farther in and proceeded to look around.
Never in my life have I felt like a deer caught in the path of an oncoming Mac truck, and I tell you dear reader that I greatly sympathized with the creature. I could not move; I could not extract from my purse the kerchief so necessary to whip my temple, nor could I extricate my gaze off of what must have been close to fifty sexual devices in various shapes and sizes. There were large bulbous purple ones, light blue thin and oddly angled ones; I saw white long broad phalluses; I saw black ones short and stout. I saw pink and brown. I saw myself yelling out, “Grand opening indeed!” the blinders having been lifted off my eyes by the hand of a rogue giant. I staggered but managed to close my mouth before any such words could be spoken. Naturally, my first inclination was to bolt through the door as if I was a two hundred and forty pound football player and run under the cleansing rain down Harvard Street, but because I refuse to be bullied and pushed around held my ground and quickly turned to the book selections.
There I discovered a whole host of things. For example, I learned that Venus was now in furs which I think is a good thing as she has been naked for far too long; I discovered that ladies were lusty, naked messy girls were everywhere and for the love of God please hide your ketchup and chocolate sauce. I moved from one book to the next each one that touched my hands seemed to have a life of its own, jumping and fluttering like an Ostrich feature on a hat. The titles spun around me: Savage Love, Boys like Her, Public Sex, Hot and Heavy (finally one I could relate to!). There was erotica, lesbian, sextrology (I am a Virgo). There was a shelf of ‘kink’ fiction, which I dare say has a few things that could probably be ironed out. A host of short erotic fiction stared boldly at me: Herotica (a title I vaguely approved of), Brown Sugar, Ripe Fruit— which reminded me of the Martha Stewart jam recipes I tried in the past, Heatwaves and tons more.
Should I pick up a book and sit in the comfortable chair and at least give my heart a chance to slow down? There were photo books— did I need something for my coffee table? Should I ask for a plastic bag and drop my head between my knees and blow? Was there a book about that on the shelves? I scanned the titles again; was I ready to read about fiction bondage or SM and leather? Granted, I love leather but I have not been a size small for many years. My poor head reeled. If I moved away from the books I would be facing the videos. If I was having a hard time reading it did I really want to see it? Apparently I did, for I soon found myself standing in front of a stacked bookcase.
If I had been intimidated by the sizes, shapes and colors of the pleasuring devices, I was clearly ill suited to contend with the images on the video covers and after exactly five seconds I moved on. All sorts of paraphernalia reached like tentacles from the wall. The sex sling caused me to pause as I worked out the logistics of its use in my head, there was a picture on the package, oh yes, there was a picture, but I like to think of myself as a creative person and in my mind’s eye I went beyond the picture… and then I quickly came back. There were erotic dice, a Romantic Restraint Kit which I assume is a large seller on valentines day (really what more do you need besides that and a red rose?). There were at least twenty lubricant bottles in various flavors. I must say they did not hold my attention long; I don’t even chew bubble gum. Condoms as colorful as Crayola Crayons lined the shelf. I refused to walk over to the far wall where the aforementioned pleasure devices stood tall and bold or curved and cunning, ready to be fondled and felt. Grand Opening! is a very hands on store. Very… I could hear several various humming noises; I was not the only person in the shop but I was the only person giving those devices wide girth. Instead, I mercifully found myself in front of a display I could look at without turning fuchsia in the face. Before me lined neatly, and dare I say invitingly, were several lotions and potions, powders and creams. My hands got away from me and grabbed the Kama Sutra Pleasure Balm in original mint. I opened up the tester and discovered a wonderfully refreshing minty scent. I dabbed a little onto my hand. The consistency was cool, slippery and dear God… delicious. I might not have known what Sensua Organicslove oil could be used for or why exactly we needed a honey powder that could be licked off but I knew as strongly as I did the pink Rabbit Pearl vibrator was not going into my bag (no matter how hypnotic was its sway) that the Kama Sutra mint balm was!
Ms. Maple says she loves her Kama Sutra Pleasure Balm, and although she will never enter Grand Opening! again… she will order over the phone! (The store has since changed hands and location. It is now owned by Good Vibrations, at 308 Harvard Street. I am happy to say it is just as female friendly and knowledgeable as before (or so I hear… J) Also, Cinema Smith has sadly gone out of business L.
© Coleen T. Houlihan