For the longest time, I thought that you were nothing more than the forgettable "other child" of Minnesota (sort of like Julie Winslow from Family Matters, or Brendan Lambert from Step by Step) who's only real purpose was to host some lame-ass medallion treasure hunt every year during the Winter Carnival.
I was wrong, and I apologize.
This past Thursday night I learned way more about the sexy side of St. Paul when I spent an erotic night there. Here's how it went down.
It started out the way that most erotic evenings do - I was attending a birthday party for my friend's dog in St. Paul and enjoying a few Coors Lights (the official beer of overzealous pet owners) when my friend mentioned that she and her girlfriends had recently visited a nearby sex shop called the Love Doctor.
Since I had always assumed Richard Gere had trademarked that name, my interest was immediately peaked.
She went on to inform me that the Love Doctor was just one of many sweet erotic landmarks located only a few blocks away from her house.
Doggie birthday party: over. Erotic adventure: ON.
The first place we hit was a store called Fantasy Gifts, which is apparently just one of many chain locations throughout Minnesota. While it may have had some of the same features as your average, everyday sex shop (wall full of jelly dongs, weird smell of incense, disinfectant spray and shame, creepy single guy wearing Zubaz), it had a couple of things that made me realize that St. Paul has an erotic side that could contend with its saucy sister across the river.
Did it have a giant sign that read, "Lube 101" designed to help customers choose the right lube for their needs? It did.
Did it have a testing station full of different lubricants along with a hand written note that read, "Hungry? Why wait? Try our lube today!"? It did.
Was the store playing Rick Springfield over the speakers? It was (if you aren't at least a little aroused right now, you are cold and hollow on the inside. Just like Nick Jonas).
Truthfully, it was probably the one of the best spots I've ever visited in my 18 years of visiting sex shops.
(Author's note: Yes, my parents took me to sex shops at age 9. But they never lied to me and said that a giant bunny would break into my house on Easter and hide stuff in my closet. So I ask you, who are the shitty parents?)
After chowing down on some green apple flavored silicon lube, it was time to move on to location number two.
The next stop on our erotic road show was the Love Doctor, located right next door to the Turf Club. While Fantasy Gifts raised the bar in my mind for how erotic St. Paul could get, the Love Doctor knocked it right back down.
It seemed that everything that Fantasy Gifts did right; the Love Doctor did the complete opposite.
Did they have anything unique and exciting that you can't find at any other sex shops? Maybe penis-shaped laser tag, for example? They did not.
(Author's note: In case you didn't know, my dream is to one day open a laser tag club where all of the guns are shaped like penises and the targets are in the shape of Dave Ryan from KDWB's face. That way, you can shoot Dave Ryan in the face with your peni...sorry, that's gross. I admit it. But it's my dream and I stand by it.)
Did they have a terribly disinterested employee working behind the counter? They did.
Was Buckcherry playing over the stereo in the store? They were.
That's three strikes right there.
I quickly cut out of the disappointing store and made my way towards the third and final stop; Video Lease, the adult video superstore.
The name speaks for itself -- tons of adult videos for rent or purchase at low, low prices. It wasn't bad, and it definitely offered a solid selection regardless of your viewing preference. The features of the store were overshadowed, however, by a debate between me and my friend as to whether or not Fancy Ray (the best lookin' man in comedy) ever taped a commercial for the store during his prime back in the early- to mid-'90s. (The jury is still out, by the way. Drop me a note if you have more info.) Still, I have to count this as an erotic win for St. Peezy.
As I drove back to my Minneapolis apartment at the end of the evening, I couldn't help but feel like I had learned a great deal about the great state of Minnesota, as well as myself.
So congratulations, St. Paul, on showing the Erotic Specialist that you too can bring the erotic thunder and show the Twin Cities what sexy is all about. And I promise, after our magical night together I will no longer refer to you as "St. Wilmer Valderrama, the saint of suckdom." You've earned your place in my heart forever. I love you.