I’m not sure how else to break this news so I’ll just say it: The Vermont Country Store is selling vibrators. There, in the pages of their catalog, among the cotton Aloha Patio Dress, the crochet-neck muumuu, the cedar closet on wheels, the chenille bedspreads and the versatile enamelware appetizer trays, the Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-To-Find are offering products that promise a pulsating, stimulating, lubricating good time.
So no, if you were flipping through the pages, looking for the ear-wax removal drops or a bottle of vintage Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific or the manual Olivetti typewriter or the bunion-cure splint, you were not mistaken if you thought you saw a lubricant-dispersing rolling tip ball with eight speeds and pulsations. Now granted, this being the Vermont Country Store, the catalog manages to make even these tools look a bit, well, if not frumpy, then comfortable. These are items marketed to folks who might sleep in flannel plaid nightgowns, not those who would unselfconsciously visit my friendly neighborhood sex-toy shop with the red gartery underthings, sexy-nurse costume and handcuffs in the window.
The catalog leaves no room for doubt, however, about what they’re selling. They’re not disguising a vibrator as a neck massager, like the drug stores do. There’s the massaging bath pillow with “a satisfying surprise inside,” namely a “two speed personal massager that is fully submersible.” There are three different lightweight intimate massagers of varying speeds and features, including a bent-over contraption “that serves two pleasure points at once” and a pocket-sized, “discreet delight” perfect for travel. (Do you really want to expose your discreet personal pleasure product to the Transportation Security Administration?)
Being purveyors of the practical, the company also sells an antibacterial and antiviral spray to clean your intimate products.
So what’s up here, other than the VCS giving us a hint of what, besides skiing and toasting marshamallows, happens in the Green Mountains during those long winters? Let’s face it, if the Vermont Country Store is selling sexual aids, albeit tame ones, then sexual aids are utterly, unequivocally, unquestionably mainstream and traditional, even if Vermont is a blue state.
The folksy store tells us it is offering these “intimate solutions” for “the next stage in your life.” These items are directed at those whose relationships may be stronger than their hormones or self-confidence, or whose sex lives may be stumbling because of stress, fatigue or medication. They show us a drawing of a happy, graying couple, and offer a way to order these goods from a trusted company.
All of which makes me appreciate the courage, kindness and cleverness of the Vermont Country Store. Your neighbors might think you’ve ordered 1960s-style jewel-tone aluminum tumblers, Dr. Scholl’s sandals, a pink princess phone, Necco Wafers or a can of lobster Newburg. Only you and your sweetheart will know it’s the Synergy Pleasure System with five heads and six speeds. Rechargeable batteries and velvet-like travel pouch included.