Sunday, April 24, 2011

How To Find and Purchase Sex Toys in a Foreign Country

I promised myself when I went to write a blog that I would not put a single referance to any "issue" I was dealing with whilst living in Korea. Not a single mention of: kimchi and all the smells that come along with it, poor transportation experiances, language barriers that lead my co-worker to think I am calling her fat, all the "stares" I recieve because I am so unique and majestic. I decided in this particular and very special instance I would break from my vow for a mere second and share with you my pilgrimage to Mecca: a Korean sex toy shop.

This is a true story.

I was in a Target parking lot in Chicago. I conviced my dad I needed one final item that I for certain would not be able to find in Korea, bedsheets was it? Irrelevant. Truth be told I had entire bag of sex toys that I had no idea what to do with. In a perfect world I would have packed them in the bottom of my suitcase never to be seen until arriving in Busan. The thought that any airline personale would come across this bag for any such security measure was so mortifying that I waved goodbye as I dumped my treasure bag into the bin. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu.

It was about 13 hours after arriving to my new apartment in Korea when I decided I was going to find a sex shop in my new hood. I started where everyone on a mission starts...the internet. The entire first year I lived in Korea I refused to pay for the internet as I was already on it enough during work hours and my apartment bills were expensive as is. This means all my research was done at school, on my work computer. I wonder if I was intelligent enough to clean the search history. Probably not. 72 message boards later I was brought to a post from 1999 that said to go to a place located on Texas Street.

For those of you who are unaware of the sketchiness that is Texas Street let me paint you a little picture: Large scary Russian men, old fat Russian prostitutes, "western" style clothes that consist of fake Fubu's and one Eminem shirt...BUT there are lovely Chinese lanterns lining the streets. Mix this together and add a dash of enchantment and you basically have the Korean equivalent of Disney World. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for. In a perfect world I figured I would look in the windows and see a beautiful array of vibrators and ball gags but alas life is not so simple. One hour and two Russian stalkers later I decided to bite the bullet. If you are fishing and you want to find the best place to catch a trout you ask the experienced fishermen. If you are in need of sex toys and other such novelties you ask the prostitute. Her name was something long that ended in -anya, she was in her mid to late 50's and had a plump belly that hung over her skirt that was visible under her red,sheer fishnet shirt.

A Natt Fashion Side-note:
Three words that should never be seen together: red, sheer, fishnet.

She stood outside a hostess bar talking to a woman who I assumed was the madame of the place. Strasuvanya or whatever her name was said she knew of no such place on Texas Street but that I should go to Seomyeon. Located across from Lotte Department store somewhere not on the ground floor, that is the best she could do me. Optimistically I took her wee piece of advice and trekked down to Seomyeon.

A 30 minute bus ride and 8 Outkast songs later I was across from Lotte Department store blindly looking for a sex toy shop not knowing what it is I am even looking for...So I called Busan Help. Busan Help is a lovely tourist help line that will assist you with anything from which bus to take to what the Laker's score is. (And yes, one time my friend did call to find out the Laker's score. They lost. He was angry.)

The conversation went something like this:
Help: "Tourist information line, how can I help you?"
Natt: (Awkward Pause) "Ummm, Hi, I am in Busan, in Seomyeon and...well...I am looking for a store in which I can"
Help: (Awkward Pause)
Natt: "You know, like, condoms and stuff."
Help: (Awkward Pause) One moment. (Elevator Music)
Natt: (Dying of embarrassment as Greensleeves plays in the background)
Help: (A tone of seething judgement) "You need to go to the Paris Baguette, 3rd floor." Dial tone.

I now speak with a British accent every time I call Busan Help.

There it was like a beacon of hope in the distance. The symbol for man and woman on the 3rd floor above the pastry shop. I climbed the stairs and at first I didn't know what I had gotten myself into. I would compare it to the waiting room of Hell. It smelled like incense mixed with sweat and catnip. A little yippee ankle biting dog with blue ears barks like thunder and I literally almost fall down the stairs which wouldn't be the first time. Sketchy is the first word that comes to mind. I had to ring a door bell for the owner to let me in. Walking in to the direct left there is a collection of 10 year old Halloween masks, face paint, wands and other costume knick knacks. On the back wall there are vibrators and strap on's shaped like various forms of vegetation: corn on the cob, cucumbers, zucchinis, carrots...egg plants? I am scared. Do I run? The man at the counter is suggesting I buy the egg plant. I am offended. Do I look like a woman who wants a vibrator shaped like an egg plant? Apparently. I am instantly un-offended as this means I am cool enough to handle the egg plant. Maybe it is the most expensive one and that is why he is suggesting it. I choose to believe this is a compliment. On the right hand wall you have your staples: condoms that will fit the average size male, flavored lube, ball gags, cock rings, massage oil, 1970's porn, vibrators that aren't shaped like produce. Most of the stuff looks like it came from the 1980's or earlier. There are sex toys that could be considered vintage and seen on 'Antiques Roadshow.' I pick my poison from the limited selection. The owner shows me how to use my new toys. Not awkward at all. Scrubbed that stuff clean once I got it home. The man offers me female Viagra. I am offended.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Short List of Things I Can Confidently Say I Will Never Do

I'm 24.
I'm youngish.
Some people die by the cliché: 'Never Say Never.'
Fuck that.
These are the things I will NEVER do. In no particular order.
A change in age nor wealth nor social status will ever convince me otherwise.

1. I will NEVER enjoy listening to country music.*
2. I will NEVER take Bob Dylan's name in vain. Nor Freddie Mercury.
3. I will NEVER own any form of arachnid as a pet.
3. I will NEVER step foot back in a United Pentecostal Church. Thanks for the mindfuck.
4. I will NEVER stop cursing. Nothing like a well placed 'fuck' to add emphasis.
5. I will NEVER be cruel to another human being. Perhaps I may be a tad bitchy, annoyed, awkward...but never cruel.
6. I will NEVER purchase a sex toy shaped like any form of vegetation or produce.
7. I will NEVER match an article of clothing with any potential future boyfriend.
8. I will NEVER take 6 shots of vodka on an empty stomach after running 10km earlier in the afternoon. Idiot.
9. I will NEVER dress up like a clown. Who invented clowns? I hate you.
10. I will NEVER compete in any form of food eating contest.
11. I will NEVER participate in any sort of 'rape' sexual fantasy. I do not care how much you would enjoy that sicko.
12. I will NEVER put a picture of my family anywhere I could potentially see from my bed. I can sense their judgmental glances.
13. I will NEVER visit Mississippi on purpose.
14. I will NEVER have a threesome.**

*Bluegrass is not country.
**After I get married.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Have Boring Sex

Enter the bedroom. Don't contemplate attempting intercourse in another area of your/your partner’s home. Stick with the bed, the bed is your friend. Make sure the fan is on or the window is open: sweating is messy. This way you are more likely to avoid the joint shower session post-coitus. Set your bag down, divulge in a few minutes of small talk regarding the happenings of the evening:

"Did you see the way Ryan looked at her?"
"She's a whore."
"Did you enjoy your meal?"
"He said he would fuck the Queen!”

Save your partner the trouble of doing it and start undressing yourself. Females leave your bra on. It isn't necessary to have extra flesh getting in the way of things. Take a few steps towards one another. Start making out with sweet, gentle kisses. Try to keep tongue to a minimum. One in every four kisses is appropriate.

Turn on your laptop and put on your Michael Bolton playlist. Turn off all the lights with the exception of the nightlight in the bathroom. Mutually lay down in bed together under the sheets. Be sure your eyes stay shut the entirety of this sexual escapade. More kissing. Gently place your hands on the abdomen, thighs, lower back, over the bra and underwear. Yes, you must refer to them as 'underwear.' Feel the bulge through the boxers. More kissing. Kiss her breasts over the bra, kiss down her stomach, over her underwear. Avoid giving her oral sex. Use the line: "I don't want you to cum now because then we can't have any more fun."

Go down on him but for no longer then 1-2 minutes. Use the excuse: "I don't want you to cum now because then we can't have any more fun."

Have sex in the missionary position. Keep any moaning to a hushed murmur. Try to make it last for at least 5 minutes but no one will hold it against you if you can't.

Snuggle, spoon, drift into sleep on separate sides of the bed.

A Brief Explanation Regarding my Infatuation with Gingers

First and foremost you, The Ginger, you have a soul. Despite what years of schoolyard bullying has taught you, throw a pale middle finger in the air and tell 'em to fuck off. You are beautiful.

I remember the first time I expressed vocally that I was primarily attracted to gingers. I was greeted with a look that is reminiscent of someone who has just accidentally drank five month old rancid milk. After the initial shock wears off most faces will greet me with a look of pity followed by a quiet, deep whisper: 'Is there anything I can do to help you?' I like Gingers you fool, I am not indulging upon you a secret that could potentially incarcerate me.

Allow me to Explain:

Gingers are dedicated: Fuck melanin! Being tan is vastly over rated. Sure you will spend 1/6 of your life avoiding the sun, coated in greasy SPF 90. This just proves that you are dedicated to taking care of yourself and your chances of skin cancer are far less then those 'sun worshippers.'

Gingers stand out and can become famous: Let's take an in depth look at Carrot Top. Do you think it is his steroid laced muscles people are looking at? Nope. Howa bout his eyebrows that resemble Jim Carrey as 'The Grinch?' Probably Not. What about his magic acts and various guest appearances on B list celebrity shows? Let's keep it real. It's safe to assume that it is his luscious full afro of Gingerness that made him a household name. Carrot Top was lucky enough to hit the genetic lottery. Hell, without it his name would just be Top. Lame.

Gingers all look Irish: I call this the 'P.S. I Love You Fantasy.' If you are a female I am sure at one point in your life you have watched or read a cookie cutter romantic comedy where the overworked, under appreciated, depressed American female either: A. Meets a gorgeous, sexy Irishman at a crowded NYC bar who will inevitably whisk her away to his world of green pastures, romantic castles and sexy accents. or B. In a quarter life crisis decides she needs to escape her routine life and will run away to Ireland where inevitably she will fall in love with a gorgeous, sexy Irishman who will open up her mind and introduce her to his world of green pastures, romantic castles and sexy accents.

Gingers play video games: Enough said.

Gingers are hot: Simple and to the point. It is a magical combination when red hair, pale skin, light eyes and freckles come together to form what I like to refer to as 'the Justin Bieber'... Something so special and rare that it only comes around once every millennia and when it does the entire world is changed. Don't believe me? Please see: Nicole Kidman, Rupert Grint, Lindsay Lohan (pre drugs), Geri Halliwell, Prince Harry, Shaun White, Damian Lewis, Christina Hendricks, Amy Adams, Isla Fisher etc.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things to Grasp Tightly

That first time you ever had food poisoning. I was in an airport in Fort Myers, Florida. Damn Sbarro's pizza. Subsequently made me swear off Italian food and food in general for over a week. I remember the first bite of solid food like it was the first time anyone in the human race had ever realized food is good. It was chicken.

Waking up in the middle of some ridiculous humid summer night. Parents refusing to leave the air on while you sleep. Walking to the bathroom to splash cold water on your face and trying to flip your pillow over to get the 'cold side.'

The intense, real, fire burning, passionate love you felt for some teen celebrity back in 4th grade. Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes. I loved you.

Being caught fooling around by your boyfriends parents. It always seems to be in a basement. The embarrassment doesn't hit right away. It always occurs when you're leaving the house during that 48 seconds it takes to put your shoes on by the front door. Why did I wear Converse?

That moment you recognize and embrace the fact that God might not be real.

Being 7 years old and secretly watching your brother have an elaborate external dialogue with Power Rangers. Jason, the red ranger was asking Trini, the yellow ranger to marry him.

Being 7 years old and being mature enough to not use the power ranger story against your younger brother at a later date.

Mom bringing home a new box of popsicles. You knew who your best friend was because when you shared a pack they always wanted the flavor you didn't like. I love(d) orange.

That last time you walked through the halls of your high school. You spent 4 years trying to get out and now all you wanted to do was take one more victory lap...and then another. Usually accompanied by tears. If you're not a crier then you at least had a gut wrenching desire to try.

That odd transition period when your mom stopped buying clothes for you and you went shopping for yourself. Some of the worst clothing choices of all time were made. Nothing matched, it probably didn't fit right, but you were in control.

That night your dad woke you up at 3am because your favorite re-run of Full House was on. You didn't know what made you happier: your dad letting you stay up on a school night or the fact that he knew what your favorite episode was.

That minute, roughly 11:47 a.m. today when you realized you like to write, even if you aren't that talented at it. Even if it sounds: manic, bizarre, dull, frightening, and potentially disappointing the ones you love. My audience, all 4 of you, ultimately I hope to intrigue you.

Ramblessssss: An Open Letter to Myself

I'm sick, my brain is mushy, I am losing all my vintage thoughts and replacing them with plastic new ones...I'm going to ramble. I don't care if you read it.

I am so ADD that last night I started to take off my jeans to put my running clothes on and something distracted me, probably dirty dishes. It took me 5 minutes to realize my pants were halfway pulled down and I was barely able to take baby steps across my apartment.

I am dedicated to learning the banjo. I freaking love that thing, yet sometimes drunk friends come over and play it and almost rip the stings off. Makes me feel like a bad parent.

I could play Nintendo everyday of the week if I had time. I used to play Mortal Kombat for 48 hours straight. I am not ashamed.

I never stop to think about the pain of the world. Sometimes a smile at a stranger would be enough.

I was actively facebook creeping someone’s parents today and it made me understand this person so much better. We really do, at least in a small way, perhaps unwillingly, become our parents.

I want a 4th tattoo really bad. I was supposed to get it last week and my friend instilled doubt in my mind. Thankful for good friends that make you think even if you don't take their advice.

Every magazine I read I must go through twice because the first time around I only look at the pictures.

Sometimes when I think of the beauty of the world I quite literally feel like my heart could burst. I'm usually looking at a tree when this happens.

I miss Detroit. Detroit is beautiful.

I have the hobbies of an old person, and the music tastes of one as well.

Previous to Korea my life was only about going to Church. I was asked by a friend recently what I was passionate about and I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head and it really saddened me. It took me a moment to remember my passion was Jesus. Now it's not the center of my existence it's time to find a new passion. If I can't (in the words of my dear friend) "it's not about having one passion, but living life passionately."

I want to write a novel but my ability to string thoughts together are about as advanced as my writing skills in this letter.