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Jul 212011

Local news doesn’t usually look like this.

The Plaza Is No Place for a Passion Paradise store

Local news also doesn’t usually make me so angry.

To summarize (with a little editorializing, of course), an adult store has rented space in this community, which already houses stores, restaurants, condos, and a community center. The businesses and condo owners object. They’re afraid of what children will see through the windows. They believe their plaza is no place for “that kind of store”, which makes me wonder where they think “that kind of store” belongs. Reading between the lines, they think this place will be seedy. The head of the merchants’ association says that people don’t want to see their neighbours coming out of “that kind of a store”. This sounds more like personal fear and objection than professional evaluation.

I know that adult stores have a seedy reputation, sometimes founded and sometimes not. I know that the average person doesn’t know that safe, happy, friendly adult stores exist, such as Babeland in New York and Seattle and Good For Her in Toronto.

What bothers me is the instant judgment, the attitude of “not in our neighbourhood”, and the implied denigration of sexuality.

So I decided to visit the Web site of this Passion paradise, something that should have been included in the article to allow readers to make up their own minds.
Maria’s Passion Paradise

The description of the weekly couples’ events caught my attention: parties featuring education on the importance of foreplay and snacks with reputed aphrodisiac effects. The impression I get is classy, fun, education-focused, playful. It’s not for everyone, of course, but it’s also not wrong, harmful, or degrading.

I didn’t really get a good sense from their Web site of the kinds of products Maria’s Passion Paradise sells. The quality of products sold at adult stores is really important to me. Many sex toys, lubricants, and other fun things have irritating and even harmful ingredients in them. These are the kinds of things I worry about when I hear about an adult store, plus wondering whether the staff will be friendly, knowledgeable, and yes, discreet.

As to the worry over what the store would display in the window that people would be forced to see, it’s my experience that “those kinds of stores” are very sensitive to their public image,
and display things that are enticing but appropriate (such as bath products, scents, lingerie such as that you’d find at Victoria’s Secret, etc).

I understand the expressed discomfort about having children around, but rest assured, unless they go in (which they’re not allowed to do) they won’t see anything they’re not supposed to.

It comes down to people being afraid of what they don’t know, and treating sex as if it is something strange and foreign, not something that is as normal and integral to our everyday lives as cooking, sleeping, and going to work. Adult stores aren’t for everyone, and there’s never any reason for someone to enter one against their will. However, they play an important role in many people’s lives, and I suspect some would be surprised at how interesting, fun, and helpful such a store could be.

I could probably write about this all day, but let’s wrap it up.

Yes, actually, I’d love to see my neighbour come out of “that kind of store”. I would be happy for them that they were exploring and taking care of their sexual needs. Talking about sex, or being in an adult shop for that matter, doesn’t have to be vulgar, or even explicit. Maria’s Passion Paradise looks like it’s neither of these things.

The condo and business owners at the plaza had a meeting the other day. I wonder if they decided to put their personal fears and prejudices aside. Allowing Maria’s Passion Paradise to move in would have only positive social and fiscal effects on this community.

  2 Responses to “Not IN Our Neighbourhood: People Think Adult Stores Are Scary”

  1. I always get a kick out of the ‘think of the children’ line. Where do they think those children came from. The stork?

  2. OYE that website. Purple and red and yellow font on a black background. There’s barely anything there, and I think that many businesses forget how much a web presence can help them. If they had up photos of what their stores look like, inside and out, for example and a listing of what sort of brands/items they carry, that could do a lot to help their case of being “allowed” to put up shop.

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