When I first received the email, it almost felt like a badge of honor. I run a website popular enough to attract a marketing firm? Who wanted to pay me to advertise on my personal blog? Boom. Awesome. Until I realized what the hell it meant.
Took me a second to track that “Adult products” ≠ TurboTax or multivitamins. “Adult products”…. like, sex toys. Oh! Ohh.
I said no. Politely. Thanks, but no thanks.
Not, mind you, from any moral high ground. It was more about — well, for starters, I have my own arrangement with WordPress which gives me a cut of the advertisement that it automatically places on here, and cuts me a portion of the revenue, and I didn’t want to violate those terms of agreement. (You guys know those videos on the bottom aren’t things I’m posting, right?) For another thing — I’m pretty sure my dad reads this and that makes me feel squicky. DAD, YOU SERIOUSLY SHOULDN’T READ THIS ONE I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL KILL YOU STOP READING RIGHT NOW. So I politely declined.
I’m not providing the link to this article that they sent, because I don’t want to out them, and I don’t want to send traffic their way. But. UGH. OKAY.
The article they linked to was such BULLLLSHIT. It’s ostensibly a post from a “lifestyle blogger,” but it’s actually just a list of poorly written sex tips designed to needle at women’s insecurities. You know the type. Helpful hints for “keeping your man interested” like: Spice it up in bed! (link to a website where you can buy a sex toy). Or Always keep him guessing! (link to a website where you can buy a sex toy.)
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with spicing it up and buying a sex toy every now and again! Go nuts. You do you. (Hey-oh!!) But I am saying that there’s something a little messed up about disguising your advertising as actual content.
Look, the internet is amazing. The internet — at its best — feels like walking down a sunny city block where everyone you meet has something to share. Hello, world news! Didn’t see you there, new place to eat brunch! Hey there, indie band I just realized I like! Hello, baby monkey!
Advertisers on the internet — while completely necessary, and a fact of life — in my city block analogy, they’re the crackhead on the subway hassling you for change. And those sneaky ads in disguise — they’re known as “native ads” — are the WORST. And after I watched this segment on the John Oliver show, it confirmed my initial convictions: Fuck you guys. I’m not letting you post about sex toys on my blog.
And look. I know that I’m not creating high art here. The most popular piece I’ve ever done was that semi-drunk rant that went viral. I used the word “fuck” like fifteen times. I’m not saying that I’m above posting about sex toys. But I think I am above shilling sex toys for a relatively small sum of cash.
So I did what I thought was best: I spent about a week of my life trolling Katie at the marketing firm.
Sorry, Katie. You seem genuinely lovely. You were nothing but polite and overwhelmingly sincere.
But you have to admit … you really should have seen this coming.
This is, and I am not making this up, the actual content that was attached to the article. THIS HAPPENED. I MADE SOMEONE DO THIS.
I have to admit, it made me feel almost powerful… in a really perverted sort of way.
Title: DIY Boyfriends!
I was having lunch with a good friend of mine the other day and we got to talking about our failed romantic exploits of late. You know what I’m talking about—the guy who seems really into you on OK Cupid only to never call you after your first date. Or even worse: the guy who wants to take things slow, glacially slow, as in he just got out of a ten-year relationship and can’t see himself getting physical with anyone until he’s sure he won’t make the same mistake twice. I mean, come on! Can’t a girl catch a break? We women have needs too!
So, naturally, after all our lamenting my friend concluded that her vibrator is the closest thing she has to a perfect boyfriend.
“Ditto,” I said. “It’s always there for me when I need it, always in the mood when I am. And such a great listener!”We laughed it off, but when you really think about it, the vibrator has really become an essential accessory for the modern woman. As stated on (link to sex site here), women today are far less coy about buying vibrators for their sexual needs than ever.
My friend and I walked a couple of blocks, thinking that was the end of the conversation. But then we stopped in front of this little boutique I like. They carry all kinds of cutesy craft stuff—beads, stencils, fabric pens, etcetera. It got me thinking… DIY boyfriends! When I got home I was so excited about my idea and scrolled through hundreds of Pinterest pages for inspiration from the DIY crafting community. It turns out assembling your own personal boy toy is not even the craziest idea out there. And surely, I thought, there must be women much lonelier than me who would love to combine their crafting prowess with their fondness for their vibrators.
And thus, project DIY Boyfriend commenced! So, first things first: you’ve got to give the battery-operated man (or woman) in your life some eyes. Think back to when you were a kid and you made that pet rock in arts and crafts. Yep, those eyes, those sweet and sensitive googly eyes that will never judge you and, best of all, will never stray! You can find them at most craft stores, and oftentimes they come in bags of fifty or more. You’re also going to want to find a durable, non-toxic glue to adhere the eyes to your love machine. Good old Elmer’s glue is probably adequate.
Then you’re going to want to give your vibrator a warm and inviting smile. A Sharpie pen did the trick for me, but if you want to get fancy there are always glitter pens and acrylic paint. For hair you can use just about anything. I dyed a cotton ball brown and glued it to the top of my vibrator.
Next step, accessorize! I’m a fan of the nerdy/sexy type. So I found instructions for a baby bow tie that came out like a dream. I also discovered that pipe cleaners make perfect DIY glasses. Really, you can twist them into just about any accessory you want. With a little swatch of fabric, scissors and a safety pin, you’ve got all you need to make your vibrator the perfect outfit. I made mine a dashing little vest, complete with a pocket square!
It goes without saying that once you’ve pimped up your vibrator it’s not recommended to insert it inside you. But, of course, there’s plenty your vibrator can accomplish externally!
Now that you’ve made the perfect lover, it’s time to give him/her a name. I hemmed and hawed over this for a while. Naming it after an ex-boyfriend sends the wrong message. In the end, I went with “Buzz Aldrin,” as my vibrator gives me loving that’s out of this world!
The next email I received contained the phrase, “Unfortunately we are only able to work with you for this one article.”
That sounds about right.
So… yeah. I never took the money. And no one’s gotten back to me about DONGS IN SPACE yet, although I think it has great potential. Maybe a webseries. I dunno. I’ll work on it.
I want to make sure I end on this note, because I think it is important that we all leave with the right message:
If you want to buy a sex toy, buy a sex toy. Because they’re fun. Because sex can be fun and empowering. Because there are scientific benefits to getting it on. Because why not. Because life is short! Seriously. Go for it.
But don’t buy a sex toy because someone made you feel like shit about yourself. Don’t buy a sex toy because someone in a cubicle somewhere figured out how to camouflage a marketing strategy. Don’t buy a sex toy because a poorly written article on the internet got inside your head.
And whatever you do, don’t glue fucking cotton balls to your vibrator. What the hell kind of pervert are you?