One day my husband came home from a trip to San Francisco with a vibrating dildo (batteries included). He wrapped it and proudly presented it as a gift -- my first sex toy. The dildo was about 6 inches of smooth plastic, tapered at one end and with a variable speed control knob at the other. Did I mention it was hot pink? I hate hot pink.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not squeamish about sex toys. (OK, maybe a little when they're big, anatomically correct and have names like "Hot Rod," "Butch" and "Randy.") I'd simply never gotten around to shopping for one. And if I had, I wouldn't have bought one that looks like an oversize lipstick from Walgreens. But that's just me.
So here I am with this humming hunk of hot-pink love given by a husband eager to help me reach new heights of sexual ecstasy. Being a good sport, I gave it a go. But the toy and I weren't a good match. Yes, the girlie color was a turnoff, but so was the overall effect. It looked cheap, tacky, unreliable. When I used it, I felt like I was starring in a low-budget porn flick where most of the action takes place on a faded rose-print couch with a seascape hanging crookedly above it. And the variable speed control was a joke. The best way to lower the speed, I discovered, was to turn it on and let it vibrate on the nightstand for a while until the batteries went low. Clearly my frugal husband had rejected the deluxe models in favor of an inexpensive "starter" dildo. Or, most likely, he dug it out of the sale bin.
It didn't take long for the pink plaything to wind up in the back of my nightstand drawer. Because it was a gift -- given with the sweetest of intentions -- I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. And giving it to a friend seemed inappropriate somehow. So the dildo lived quietly in the back of my drawer for a couple of years, until one November night.
We came home to discover our front door had been pried open with a crowbar. We immediately ran next door to call the police, who cautioned us not to go inside until they showed up and secured the scene. Two cops arrived within minutes -- a no-nonsense woman about my age (mid-30s) and a balding older man who resembled my father-in-law.
After the cops had checked all the rooms and closets, we were called in to assess the damage. My primary concern was our two cats; they seemed shaken but unscathed. Our stereo had been disassembled and stacked neatly by the back door, along with a few other items. The officer pointed out two sets of large footprints in the backyard snow, where the burglars had made a hasty escape. "You must have scared them off when you drove up," she said, and suddenly I felt queasy. My husband and I then walked through the rest of the house. Entering our bedroom, I saw underwear and T-shirts hanging off the sides of open, ransacked drawers.
And there, lying on the bed alone and in all of its hot-pink glory, was my dildo.
My queasiness returned and my face, neck and chest warmed. I knew I'd just broken out in a hotpink blotchy blush. My first thought was to hide the evidence, so to speak. But the cops had already seen it. And besides, we'd been instructed not to move anything. So I slunk back to the living room where I avoided eye contact with the male cop, smiled humbly to the female cop and mumbled something about the burglars finding my sex toy. She stifled a grin, I'm sure of it.
Being a worst-case scenario thinker, I lay awake for hours that night and considered the possibilities. What kind of message were the burglars giving me by displaying the dildo on the bed like that? Perhaps they planned on coming back to "party." Yes, that was it. Soon they'd be staking out my house to get a glimpse of the hot horny babe who played with cheesy pink vibrating toys. They'd gossip about me to their sleazy criminal friends and soon my address would be scrawled in men's bathroom stalls. Clearly I was in great danger. Clearly I needed a Doberman.
In the light of day I felt less vulnerable. After all, I told myself, those guys probably had a quick laugh when they found the dildo, maybe even a moment of arousal, and then moved on to the task at hand -- looking for stashed cash and heirloom jewelry. (Oh well, guys ... we didn't even have a TV or CD player to offer up.) Over the next few days, my paranoia subsided, due in part to newly installed security lighting, a front door alarm and stronger bolts in our door hinges. Still, I was on the lookout for strange men lurking behind telephone poles or strolling too slowly down our sidewalk.
When I told female friends about the break-in (leaving out the dildo part), their almost universal response was, "You must feel so violated." I nodded stoically and changed the subject. For I didn't feel greatly violated -- more alert and cautious, yes; pissed off, yes. But any sense of violation I felt centered on that damn dildo. We all have things in our lives that we keep in the back of drawers, not necessarily because we're ashamed of them, but because we value our privacy, our secret lives. Or because we just don't know what else to do with them. But these two guys found something secret about me and made it a point to let me know it.
What bugged me was that they didn't know I hate hot pink. They didn't know that I'd never pick out this tacky toy for myself. They didn't know that the dildo sat dormant in my drawer for two years. And why did I care what these guys did or didn't know about me? That bugged me, too. Certainly the burglars violated my privacy, but not much of it -- the dildo was simply an amusing, experimental blip on my sexual sonar screen. It revealed more about my husband than it did about me. Still, the sense of misrepresentation lingered.
One good thing did come from the burglary: Criminals pawing my dildo gave me a great excuse to throw it away. My husband understood that I'd never again be able to enjoy its pulsating pinkness without thinking of crowbars and broken door hinges, ransacked drawers and frightened cats. So I wrapped up the toy in a brown paper bag (wouldn't want the garbagemen to find it), and tossed it in the trash -- its batteries long dead, its harmless humming silenced forever.