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Non-Bear Shaped Gummi Bears

Sex toys have been a topic on this blog before, albeit in the context of taxation. Now they're back: a trip to the store turns into a journey of erotic self-discovery when Harald Martenstein discovers (G) that his local department store now sells sex toys.

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Harald Martenstein discovers an “erotic goods” section in the department store

I’m not really a lady. That’s why I rarely visit the ladies’ underwear department in the Karstadt department store. However, it came to pass one day that I got lost. I wanted to go to the CD section. Do not buy the so-called new Beatles CD Love, by the way, it’s horrible. I didn’t find the CD-section. Instead, I was suddenly standing before a gigantic, knobby dildo. The term dildo denotes a stylized recreation of the male reproductive organ. It is designed for leisure pursuits. There are ones with and without motors, just like with boats and two-wheelers. I explain the word because once, when I was a young man, I had to admit at a party that I didn’t know the word, and that was embarrassing. I actually thought “dildo” was that large, extinct Australian bird. It also wouldn’t be such a bad name, when you come to think of it. Dildo DiCaprio. Dildo Jetengine. Suddenly it came to be that if Ildikó von Kürthy tried to pep up a Franz Kafka novel with sex scenes, you would have something that would be about as patchy as the Love CD.

I then ascertained that in the Kreuzberg (Berlin) Karstadt there is an “erotic goods” section, right there next to the ladies’ underwear. It’s just like a grocery store. About 30 different kinds of dildos sit there in the racks. There are also handcuffs, oils, and fluids, and various kinds of literature in word and image (with relatively discreet covers). There is also underwear that doesn’t cover exactly those things that one ordinarily expects underwear to cover. Finally, there are Gummi Bears that were not shaped like bears.  All of this is right out there in the open in the middle of the store landscape. Most of the shoppers were women; there is almost no men’s underwear there. Once, at a seminar, I learned that “lady”, which is supposed to be a polite form of address, is perceived as ironic or discriminatory by today’s women, one should instead say “Mister” and “Miss”, since we men have maintained an unbroken relationship to the word “Mister.” However, in Karstadt, it’s still “ladies’ underwear.” …

I thought: Don’t they have trouble with the child-protection laws? Kids are, after all, constantly running around in the department store. However, when one looks closely, no graphic pictures can be seen, they obviously thought of that. All of the objects possessed a certain degree of abstraction and ambiguity. Perhaps the underwear were factory rejects which just happened to have a hole at the most important spot. The handcuffs could be for playing policeman, which is pretty much accurate. The dildos basically looked like avant-garde rolling-pins or meat tenderizers, and in fact could probably be used for these purposes, if necessary. Only the Gummi bears which were not shaped like bears were pretty explicit.

Then I moved on. Because I absolutely wanted to exchange Love.

[Note: one sentence, which contained an untranslatable pun, has been omitted.]