The thing about being in a sex shop is that you’re trying to signal with your body language I feel cool and normal about sex, and you have to do it both from the angle of I am not a prude and I am not a pervert, all of which is particularly challenging if you actually don’t feel cool and normal about sex, not in the way of prudishness or perversion but just in the way of a person who has had some sex and who feels a little weird about it because especially after the deranged teenage hormones wore off it all seemed like a fraught means to a simple end which could be accomplished just as well, if not better, alone, which some apparently find depressing but which you have always found to be fun and free and good. 

And so if you were in a sex shop trying with your body language to signal I am not a prude and I am not a pervert and also if I seem weird about sex it’s because I am, but in a regular way, you would probably already be feeling rather weighed down and probably a little fragile and it would be quite natural, if something upset you, to start crying. 

And it might upset you to see a bundle of purple rope and to think about how you’ve always wanted to try being tied up, really thoroughly tied up, not to a bedframe but to yourself, bound and stilled, and it’s not even quite a sexual desire but all the same it would probably be difficult to say to someone, would you be willing to tie me up, very thoroughly, but entirely platonically, as a friend, and it would probably be impossible to tie yourself up, much less untie yourself, which leaves you alone with your unfulfillable desire, crying in a sex shop. 

And the bundle of rope, despite being only a bundle of rope, might make you begin to consider everything one can’t or shouldn’t do alone, not only in the category of things one might do using the items available at a sex shop but in all categories, such as playing on a seesaw or being a member of a family, such as leaving your car with the mechanic for the afternoon, such as love, such as mushrooms, such as keeping up a correspondence, such as telling a story, and if you have spent your life styling yourself as an independent sort of a person who can make do on your own and if you were already crying, this series of thoughts might be enough to make you cover your face and weep. 

And if you were covering your face and weeping in a sex shop and if you were there not alone, after all, but with one dear to you, because styling yourself as an independent sort of a person who can make do on your own does not, after all, mean being entirely alone in the world, and if that dear one were to gather you close, were to rest a hand on the back of your head like one supporting the still delicate skull of an infant, then that might, after all, be enough tenderness to carry you through to the end of the day.

LHC lives in a house and writes.

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