Opinion: The Summers Of All Fears
Sometimes, the glamour of matching your body’s blood litre count with wine and crying into the shoulder of your local bouncer briefly loses its appeal. Someone will decide that you’ll need to do something special for Sandra’s birthday, or until you’re not all barred from Creation.
“You know what? We should have an Ann Summers party!”
A chorus of optimism will erupt. For some stupid reason, you’ll pay money to have some stranger invade what would be a pleasant night-in with your friends and get you drunk until you think it’s reasonable to part with upwards of €80 in exchange for something you’ve been achieving for free since you were 14 years old, thanks. Let me save you the bother. The trouble with Ann Summers parties is always the same.
I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Ann Summers have started manufacturing women. First of all, because I’ve never met anyone who is able to spend three hours’ worth of wages on a leash. And secondly, because there are no females in the world like Ann Summers reps. Bursting into your house with a falsetto HIYAAAA! like a pink spandex tidal wave of over-familiarity and an almost revoltingly insatiable sexual appetite, they’ll punctuate every disturbing and weird sentence with an obligatory “Am I right, ladies?”
“Time for a sexy evening in, yeah? Time to get saucy, yeah? Just us girls, yeah? Am I right, ladies?”
That’s another thing nobody tells you. Ann Summers parties are often tragic and emotional vigils for those of us unfortunate enough to be heterosexual. No men are allowed, you see, because they’d probably spend the whole evening wanking uncontrollably when faced with all the pure sexual sophistication of five women wearing L Plates and drinking a bottle of rosé.
“God, men are just so USELESS at sex! Am I right, ladies?’ your Ann Summers rep will say, one arm supporting an assortment of pills and products to help you at least pretend to have a good time with your brutish partner, the other hand distractedly rubbing her crotch.
You’ll be branded with the subtle nickname of an alter-ego for the evening, like ‘CLITORAL CIARA’. This is, I assume, to ensure that you don’t see each other as your real working-lives selves. Just like Fight Club. Then, after some heinous and scarring games that all seem to end with nothing but a Walnut Whip between your face and the crotch of a beloved friend or colleague, a clothing rail will emerge out of nowhere.
“This is my other rack, a-hahahahaha!” the Rep will say, swinging her tits wildly just to make sure you all get it. On the ‘other rack’ will be a collection of ensembles designed to ensure you never look at professional uniforms the same way ever again.
“I know we all want to get some sexy lingerie shit on, am I right, ladies?”
“No,” some brave soul will mumble, but she’ll carry on regardless.
Eventually, someone will be sacrificed to skulk off and try on the Fetish Loving Farmer outfit for everyone.
When she returns, the room is immediately awash with relief that partners aren’t allowed. Stupidly, you all volunteered the slimmest, most infuriatingly gorgeous member of the group.
She’s standing there, a vision in plaid and leather, and you’re sure you’ve never felt less like a woman in your life.
Suspiciously, you’ll all check your drinks to see if the rep has spiked you all with little blue pills.
‘Ooh,’ the temporary model will sigh, like a little ladybird orgasm. Entranced, you’ll all demand to know what’s wrong.
‘It just, feels a bit big everywhere. Except on the boobs. My fucking massive boobs won’t fit.’
She’ll look at the room with imploring eyes, beseeching all of you ginormatrons to try to understand a world where her goddess-like measurements aren’t catered for.
‘What should I do?’
Your rep, who you’re seriously thinking of calling the police for, will intervene.
‘Babe,’ she’ll confess, caressing her boobs roughly, ‘you might actually just be better off naked?’
The hostess will offer more wine. Absolutely everyone will take her up on it.
Nearing the end of the evening, when everyone’s grasp on their drained wine glasses and credit card is starting to loosen, Sexzorb’s eyes will flash with delight, and she will pick up a very large box.
On the table she will place nearly a dozen vibrators, some of which are so terrifying in girth and mechanism that anyone who happened to amble into the room would think they’d chanced upon a bizarre selection of Hoovers.
Her raunchy language and overzealous winking will cease, and she will lay them out with an almost reverent whisper, as though she were fanning the new model in a BMW salesroom.
‘Now ladies,’ she’ll say, with a softening hush. ‘This is our new development on The Rabbit. We like to call it ‘The Hedgehog’, as you can see, because of all the spikes…’
You may be seized with an acute fear between the legs. If so, for shame. You boring person. You missionary. The purpose of Ann Summers parties is to exercise all of those raunchy hobbies which you, as a vagina owner, are permitted to partake in. Under normal circumstances, it would be bizarre to find yourself in a pressured environment, purchasing masturbatory aids in front of friends and colleagues. But there’s Blossom Hill and novel penis straws here, so it’s girlish and sexy.
Go on, why not use one to taunt your sexually inept partner, and show them what a pleasured woman actually looks like? Many will be waterproof ‘so that you can use it at the beach on a sunny day.’*
They’ll be passed around so that everyone can have a go playing with the controls and crossing their legs in terrified apprehension. These parties are definitely not for those of us living next to World War II veterans, for fear they overhear the incredible buzzing and assume the Luftwaffe are back. Have fun trying to lower the controls from ‘Level 12: Labour Inducing’, pressing so many buttons you feel like you’re trying to use cheat codes on Crash Bandicoot. There will be lots of ‘well, at least men are easier to control! hahahahaha.’
While you turn over the three stone device in your hands and try to decipher what goes where, and why, you may cast your bleary, rosé-tinted eyes around the room. There will be a person, usually someone’s work colleague who was invited out of sheer necessity, who, forced through her pursed lips, will be giving you a knowing, scathing, and wholly disingenuous smile.
Wine glass in her hand, which you note is not nearly as empty as yours, her eyes will flick suspiciously between you and the Disembowler 3000 you’re holding. Her watchful gaze won’t break for a second, almost as though to make sure you don’t start sucking it off on the spot or licking the underwear pages of the catalogue, ruining the party for everyone.
Wide-eyed and wounded, you’ll gingerly start to place the vibrator back on the table, when she’ll say, much too loudly:
‘You know, you can buy one, if you really want one?’
Everyone will immediately stop what they’re doing and look at you.
‘I… no, I was just…’
But it’s futile. Barely anyone can hear you over the hysterical and delighted seizure which the 12 inches of black plastic in your hands is having.
And of course, the more you try to convince everyone you don’t want one, the more it’ll sound like you want one more than anything in the world, ever. Before you know it, someone will have organised a whip around and everyone will be charitably donating to get you off.
With a face on her like she was a humanitarian of Bono proportions, your wretched tormentor will turn to you with a sickening kindness and realisation.
‘Aww! Hey! This means you don’t need a boyfriend now!’
You promise yourself, if it wasn’t for the overly-masochistic tones, you would beat her to death with your new Hedgehog. Am I right, ladies?
*actual quote from a real life Ann Summers rep.