All About Eve’s Garden

by

07/11/2002

119 West 57th Street ny

Neighborhood: Midtown

The doorman doesn’t ask , but he knows where we are going. The guy at the front desk seems wise to what floor two female twentysomethings are headed for. The buildings Super, who shares our elevator, is all too aware of why we pushed button #12 and me and my gal pal snicker in the awkward silence. The Super gets off on the 8th floor, we ride up four more and then exit right to suite 1201. We open the unostentatious door into a room of pink dildos, purple Pocket Rockets and erotic underwear. We’re at Eve’s Garden, the secret sex shop of Midtown’s West Side.

Building number 119 on W.57 Street holds a shrine of paraphernalia devoted to women’s pleasure. The home of gadgets and gizmos is hosted by Kim , a six foot tall could-be-super-model who tells all the how to’s of Eve’s erotic toys. She leads me and my friend past the bookshelves stacked with lesbian self-help manuals (copies of Our bodies , Our selves, Fetish Girls) prose and poetry by Anais Nin and Audre Lorde, and the essential text: The Woman’s Book of Orgasm.

Kim gives us a tour of the stores best sellers: The Cyber Cock, The Double Dong, The Hypersonic Erection, The Princess, The Velvet, The Hummer. For each ornament she recommends the appropriate lubricant, “water based, no oils, K.Y. is kinda gross.” Kim calms customers’ uneasiness with questions concerning their point of concentration, “Are you looking for penetration or just clitoral stimulation?” “With The Princess you want to get the Pussy Lip Gloss. The Princesses go like that!” she adds as she snaps her fingers. Kim has convinced my friend to buy a cream to increase her libido so while she goes to purchase the Me-So-Horny ointment I have time to read up on the store’s history.

Founded by Dell Williams in 1974, the store capitalized on Betty Dodsons pro-sex feminist text, Liberating Masturbation. Videos such as Cunnilingus and Viva La Vulva: Women’s Sex Organs Revealed can be purchased, as well as a healthy supply of orgasmic devices; The G-Spotter, The Magic Wand, pairs of tickling panties.

The customers, predominantly women, are the same who cross Columbus Circle with a cup of Starbucks in one hand and a shopping bag from The Gap in the other. Mothers, grandmothers, first grade teachers, women who don’t feel at liberty to cross fourteenth street into the land of the Pleasure Chest and the Pink Pussy Cat. Women who seek discretion and assistance from a well informed staff rather than the guys downtown biding their time between Halloween parades.

Most of the customers found out about Eve’s through word of mouth. One woman claimed she felt like she was part of a secret society. Another attributed the store’s allure to its simplicity, the question and answer format made fondling dildos easy. One woman told me, “it is like going to a friend’s house rather than a sex shop. Eve’s offers a shame free atmosphere.” She went on, “it doesn’t feel naughty, it feels like you’re taking care of yourself – like going to the vitamin store for your health. I bought the The Velvet, I could show you my vibrator (which she did) and Kim suggested a tasteless lubricant – no oil.” I asked the woman if having such a satisfying , plastic partner deterred her relationships with men. “No, if anything it makes coupling richer. Women aren’t encouraged to seek out pleasure in our culture – the more things the better!” But when my friend and I departed Eve’s Garden I felt a sense of empowerment, like the only backdrop I needed for fulfillment was my bed and apartment.

The penis had become an out of work actor, a meager appendage connected to the void of voices who claim, “I’ll call you”, the collection of men who send troops of women in search of the nearest Codependents meeting. So is the penis a tiresome dinner guest whose invitation is wearing thin? Double A batteries don’t break dates and I’ve never had to listen to a Pocket Rocket pontificate on its in depth life philosophies. A piece of pink plastic never interrupted my comments to receive an incoming cellular call. So is Eve’s Garden a solution to all? Women can buy a side kick of confidence knowing we’ll never really leave the bar alone. And men can finally commit to their one true interest – themselves!

An article I read in the New York Observer a few years ago was home to an intriguing quote, it read, “women don’t really need men for pleasure, since anyone who’s been paying attention for the last thirty years knows that the clitoris is the seat of female pleasure, rendering the penis a mere extra on the sexual set.” I’m unsure who proclaimed these words but such statements enable women to shed the stigma of the ‘lonely masterbator’ and revel in the pleasure of the sure thing Eve’s Garden has to offer. So if your a woman seeking stimulating companionship without the risk of disappointment hit 119 W.57th Street, ignore the suspect eyes of the guys at the door and head to the 12th floor. Kim will make your trip worth while and ensure a purchase that will indeed keep the customer satisfied.

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