When we heard Exxxotica was coming to town, we imagined a cross between Willa Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and the Playboy Mansion. Lights would be low, porn stars would be just as attractive in person, walls would be draped in velvet and around every corner we’d find a Champagne fountain. (Basically, we imagined Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center would become a portal to Las Vegas for the weekend). You could fairly accuse us of having a hyperactive imagination or, you know, just not having been to many conventions. Exxxotica turned out to be more like a demo hall at the State Fair, except with fewer corn dogs and more dildos. So, still pretty awesome. Most of the porn stars, including Ron Jeremy (looking even worse for the wear than usual), charged for pictures and to interact at length, so we took in everything else. Here are the most memorable moments of the weekend.
The Bored Dom
In an S&M corner there were human-sized cages, what looked like monkey bars, a wheel/spinny-thingy™ that you could be strapped to, and a cross where a solicitous dom, dressed in latex, would pose for photos with you or beat you with several of various instruments (whips, belts, his hand). On Saturday he had a decent crowd (mostly guys taking videos of participants), but when we returned to the convention Sunday and found it pretty empty, we also found a bored dom pacing restlessly around his dead-quiet station. Despite the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey he said most ladies were too scared to join in. (Or perhaps they were just deterred by the video-taking dudes?) “Do you want a turn? I have rope! I can tie you up! What about just a decorative bind? Will you guys at least hang out with me? Please?”
Free VIP Guy
When we approached the VIP check-in to receive swag bags, we were informed by a friendly bear that while our media badges granted us VIP admission, since we didn’t pay, we weren’t entitled to any other free stuff. He generously offered three of us one bag to share. “Ooo you get ... Welcome Back Kotter?” he said, clearly faking enthusiasm as he peeked inside. “I mean, I don’t know. It’s probably good. I’m really sick of all of this straight porn.” Then, “Oh, fuck it. Get out of here,” quickly handing us two more neon-yellow bags. The haul? Two copies of The Honeymoaners, one Welcome Back, Kotter and a whole bunch of coupons for lube. (Seriously, did no one think Welcome Back, Kooter? Missed opportunity.)
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Brittany, the Violet Wand lady
At one booth, a helpful but somewhat annoyed seeming woman (perhaps by us, since we kept demoing her product without buying) was showing people the Violet Wand, a device that transfers an electric jolt of varying intensities, depending on the size of the attachment touching your skin. (The smaller the surface area of the attachment the more intense the jolt. The sensation from the smallest feels sort of like getting a tattoo). The coolest one was the body contact attachment. When she held the device in one hand, you could feel an electric charge from the touch of her other, bare hand. “I feel like I’m about to get sexy with a space lady,” one tester said. Another yelped, “You’re nuts!” Brittany shot a stern look. “Hey — different strokes for different folks!”
Gluten-intolerant and into sploshing? Rejoice. An entrepreneurial lady selling her wares at Exxxotica has invented a natural oil, dubbed Pussy Cake, that will make your nether regions smell like fresh baked goods. (Not an expression. This stuff really did smell like funfetti.) “You use skincare on your face, why wouldn’t you use skincare on your vagina”? she asked passers-by, rubbing samples onto the backs of hands. It’s probably just doctored coconut oil, but she’s not without a point. It’s either the product you didn’t know you wanted, or the product you didn’t know you don’t want.
Jesus Loves Porn
Among the weekend’s disappointments was a prominent booth near the convention’s entrance that offered free shirts saying “Jesus Loves Porn” to people who took a picture in front of their banner and tagged themselves on Facebook. The banner described xxxchurch.com as a Christian porn site (married couple porn perhaps?) — it seemed like a friendly religious workaround, particularly in contrast to the angry protestors outside. But when we visited the site later (research!) it actually offered treatment for sex and porn addiction, along with articles such as “What to do when your wife is dressing too sexy.” I guess Jesus loves manipulation, too?