Westword July 26, 2012 : Page 10

westword.com Fascinations is getting off on the popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels. | CONTENTS | | LETTERS OFF LIMIT S ¡ASK A Whip It Good he Fifty Shades trilogy — often called “mommy porn” — appears to be changing the face of the adult toy business, one pink whip at a time. In fact, ever since E.L. James ’s novel Fifty Shades of Grey rose to fame as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, romance retailer Fascinations has found a new market in women who’ve been entranced by the ex-plicitly erotic BDSM scenes and are seeking toys and more to enhance their sex lives. “Products have been screaming out the door,” says Patrick Jagos , general manager for the Tempe, Arizona-based chain, which has six stores in Colorado and twelve in Arizona. Sales at Fascinations, which had been slumping prior to the Fifty Shades series hitting shelves, are now skyrocketing, he says. The chain, which has a 70 percent female customer base, has had a “nice influx of suburban housewives” and women whose eyes have been opened by James’s novel. In response, several Fascinations stores have put up Fifty Shades -themed displays that include blindfolds, tethers and “vari-ous accoutrements that we thought fit well with the story,” Jagos says. The Glendale store, for instance, included sexy shoes, sensory-deprivation iPod plug-ins and products from the bondage room. The displays, which target the flocks of women who normally wouldn’t feel comfortable stepping foot into an erotic store, have elicited monumental results: Sales in the book department are up 120 percent for the chain, and products like Ben Wa balls — orbs that can be inserted in the vagina to strengthen the Kegel muscles — are selling out. These and other “vanilla B&D” products fit into a category that is more low-key than traditional bondage and discipline, with items that are cute and inexpensive: Think colorful small whips and furry handcuffs. “It’s not like you have to go in and buy a $300 whip,” Jagos says. “It’s something that people can dabble in.” And women are eating it up: Fascinations has experienced more than a 20 precent sales increase in the vanilla B&D category. The decorative and cute Kegel exercisers are an especially hot item. “No matter what, we can’t keep them in,” Jagos says. NIGHT+DAY | OFF LIMITS T The influx of customers has led Fas-cinations to make plans to streamline its Fifty Shades displays in order to provide chain-wide consistency in the products that are highlighted, Jagos says, adding that there will be imagery and descriptive placards (“Attention, Fifty Shades fans: If you like this flogger, you might want to try this violet wand!”). What else can Fascinations customers THINKS TOCK MEXICAN! look forward to? The chain is expanding its book department: More than half of total book sales for the chain are coming from sales of James’s three titles. “We’re looking to bring in other pieces of fiction,” Jagos says, which so far has in-cluded the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, an erotic BDSM series written by author Anne Rice under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure . Of course, James herself is planning a line of Fifty Shades merchandise, accord-ing to news reports, one that would include lingerie, perfume, bedding, jewelry and, yes, adult products aimed at women. There could also be home furnishings, which, depending on how you use that cof-fee table, could be just as much fun as the rest of the stuff. Got scoop? Contact editorial@westword.com. | MOVIES ¡Ask A Mexican! By Gustavo Arellano Dear Mexican: I know I might sound like a gabacho borracho , but I’m really just a gringo trying to make progress toward get-ting work legally in Mexico, a side of the immigration debate we rarely hear about. Most gringos that move to Mexico are students at UNAM, or they are retired people who move to gated seaside communities, or they move to San Miguel de Allende to help drive the housing costs up even further. Others move to Ajijic at Lake Chapala, where most of them never learn Spanish, and spend most of their time going to potluck gatherings with other gringos retirados . Okay, I guess orgullo gringoso has its place. I am a rarity: I’m a gringo who lives and works in Mexico about six months a year. I want to live in Mexico year-round and work legally. Sure, there’s a system set up for this, sort of.... It’s the FM-3 visa and various other paper-chase B.S. Not only does it beg mordida, but it is slow and has many roadblocks. So far, I have worked under the table in Mexican tourism. Similar to architects from the D.F. who end up working as waiters in Santa Monica or Seattle, I have had to work in hotels and restaurants in Mexico (Vallarta, Cabo, Maz, etc.) to survive. Selling timeshares is not for me (I am a lousy con artist). I want to work in my chosen profession: movie and TV production, and I want to get the equivalent of a Mexican green card. Do they exist? Is it possible for me to have a card that allows me to apply for work just as Mexican nationals do in Mexico City? I want to pay income taxes in Mexico and contribute to the better future of Mexico. I speak Spanish well, and if I ever had a chance to talk to ex-prezes Fox and Calderón, I would say this: “For every 10,000 Mexicans working in the USA, can’t you grant one green card to a gringo?” That’s not asking a lot, is it? El Gringo Mojado Got your CIEC? — but why bother? As you point out, it’s a bu-reaucratic nightmare, and gabacho illegals have lived the good life in Mexico for decades. You’re not likely to get deported, given that Mexico needs every gabacho dollar possible during these dark times of narcowars, and even becoming a legal resident or a naturalized citizen still qualifies you as a second-class person (despite your gabacho status) just above an indio , so you might as well stay illegal. Besides, look on the bright side: Fewer taxes paid to the Mexican government means more money stays in the local economy. You ain’t an illegal: Like the Mexi illegals up here, you’re a patriot against pendejo borders and antiquated citizenship laws. Dear Mexican: Why is it that our tías y abuelitas are so super-stitious and have so many wild stories? The rattlesnake in the lechuga /cilantro/ nopales (pick one) biting a mujer in a supermercado (pick your local one) who decides to rest in her carro while her esposo finishes the shopping, then dies, is just the latest to circulate the central and southern California coast. Cynthia the Pocha WESTWORD | BACKBEAT | CAFE | ART | THEATER | | Dear Pocha: What you describe sounds like a spin on the classic urban legend of the woman who found a rat in her bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, examined in full in Jan Harold Brunvand’s 1981 classic The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings . He noted that the legend was based on truthful accounts of food contamination, and theorized that its popularity was our collective unconscious projecting fears of “a world of shocking ugliness lying just beneath a surface of tranquility and apparent wholesomeness.” Besides, the only Mexican wives’ tale that I know involving snakes is about a sup-posed thirty-foot-long flying snake that lives in the mountains above the rancho of my mami’s birth. Ask the Mexican at editorial@westword.com. Find him at Facebook.com and on Twitter. J ULY 26-A UGUST 1, 2012 10 Dear Wetback Gabacho: You can take steps to become a legal taxpayer — have you applied for the CURC? Gone through SAT?

Off Limits

Fascinations is getting off on the popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels.<br /> <br /> Whip It Good<br /> <br /> The Fifty Shades trilogy — often called “mommy porn” — appears to be changing the face of the adult toy business, one pink whip at a time. In fact, ever since E.L. James’s novel Fifty Shades of Grey rose to fame as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, romance retailer Fascinations has found a new market in women who’ve been entranced by the explicitly erotic BDSM scenes and are seeking toys and more to enhance their sex lives.<br /> <br /> “Products have been screaming out the door,” says Patrick Jagos, general manager for the Tempe, Arizona-based chain, which has six stores in Colorado and twelve in Arizona.<br /> <br /> Sales at Fascinations, which had been slumping prior to the Fifty Shades series hitting shelves, are now skyrocketing, he says. The chain, which has a 70 percent female customer base, has had a “nice influx of suburban housewives” and women whose eyes have been opened by James’s novel.<br /> <br /> In response, several Fascinations stores have put up Fifty Shades-themed displays that include blindfolds, tethers and “various accoutrements that we thought fit well with the story,” Jagos says. The Glendale store, for instance, included sexy shoes, sensory-deprivation iPod plug-ins and products from the bondage room. The displays, which target the flocks of women who normally wouldn’t feel comfortable stepping foot into an erotic store, have elicited monumental results: Sales in the book department are up 120 percent for the chain, and products like Ben Wa balls — orbs that can be inserted in the vagina to strengthen the Kegel muscles — are selling out.<br /> <br /> These and other “vanilla B&D” products fit into a category that is more low-key than traditional bondage and discipline, with items that are cute and inexpensive: Think colorful small whips and furry handcuffs.<br /> <br /> “It’s not like you have to go in and buy a $300 whip,” Jagos says. “It’s something that people can dabble in.” And women are eating it up: Fascinations has experienced more than a 20 precent sales increase in the vanilla B&D category. The decorative and cute Kegel exercisers are an especially hot item. “No matter what, we can’t keep them in,” Jagos says.<br /> <br /> The influx of customers has led Fascinations to make plans to streamline its Fifty Shades displays in order to provide chain-wide consistency in the products that are highlighted, Jagos says, adding that there will be imagery and descriptive placards (“Attention, Fifty Shades fans: If you like this flogger, you might want to try this violet wand!”).<br /> <br /> What else can Fascinations customers look forward to? The chain is expanding its book department: More than half of total book sales for the chain are coming from sales of James’s three titles.<br /> <br /> “We’re looking to bring in other pieces of fiction,” Jagos says, which so far has included the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, an erotic BDSM series written by author Anne Rice under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure.<br /> <br /> Of course, James herself is planning a line of Fifty Shades merchandise, according to news reports, one that would include lingerie, perfume, bedding, jewelry and, yes, adult products aimed at women.<br /> <br /> There could also be home furnishings, which, depending on how you use that coffee table, could be just as much fun as the rest of the stuff.<br /> <br /> Got scoop? Contact editorial@westword.com

Ask A Mexican

Gustavo Arellano

Dear Mexican: I know I might sound like a gabacho borracho, but I’m really just a gringo trying to make progress toward getting work legally in Mexico, a side of the immigration debate we rarely hear about. Most gringos that move to Mexico are students at UNAM, or they are retired people who move to gated seaside communities, or they move to San Miguel de Allende to help drive the housing costs up even further. Others move to Ajijic at Lake Chapala, where most of them never learn Spanish, and spend most of their time going to potluck gatherings with other gringos retirados. Okay, I guess orgullo gringoso has its place. I am a rarity: I’m a gringo who lives and works in Mexico about six months a year. I want to live in Mexico year-round and work legally. Sure, there’s a system set up for this, sort of.... It’s the FM-3 visa and various other paper-chase B.S. Not only does it beg mordida, but it is slow and has many roadblocks.<br /> <br /> So far, I have worked under the table in Mexican tourism. Similar to architects from the D.F. who end up working as waiters in Santa Monica or Seattle, I have had to work in hotels and restaurants in Mexico (Vallarta, Cabo, Maz, etc.) to survive. Selling timeshares is not for me (I am a lousy con artist). I want to work in my chosen profession: movie and TV production, and I want to get the equivalent of a Mexican green card. Do they exist? Is it possible for me to have a card that allows me to apply for work just as Mexican nationals do in Mexico City? I want to pay income taxes in Mexico and contribute to the better future of Mexico. I speak Spanish well, and if I ever had a chance to talk to ex-prezes Fox and Calderón, I would say this: “For every 10,000 Mexicans working in the USA, can’t you grant one green card to a gringo?” That’s not asking a lot, is it?<br /> <br /> El Gringo Mojado <br /> <br /> Dear Wetback Gabacho: You can take steps to become a legal taxpayer — have you applied for the CURC? Gone through SAT? Got your CIEC? — but why bother? As you point out, it’s a bureaucratic nightmare, and gabacho illegals have lived the good life in Mexico for decades. You’re not likely to get deported, given that Mexico needs every gabacho dollar possible during these dark times of narcowars, and even becoming a legal resident or a naturalized citizen still qualifies you as a second-class person (despite your gabacho status) just above an indio, so you might as well stay illegal. Besides, look on the bright side: Fewer taxes paid to the Mexican government means more money stays in the local economy. You ain’t an illegal: Like the Mexi illegals up here, you’re a patriot against pendejo borders and antiquated citizenship laws.<br /> <br /> Dear Mexican: Why is it that our tías y abuelitas are so superstitious and have so many wild stories? The rattlesnake in the lechuga/cilantro/nopales (pick one) biting a mujer in a supermercado (pick your local one) who decides to rest in her carro while her esposo finishes the shopping, then dies, is just the latest to circulate the central and southern California coast. <br /> <br /> Cynthia the Pocha <br /> <br /> Dear Pocha: What you describe sounds like a spin on the classic urban legend of the woman who found a rat in her bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, examined in full in Jan Harold Brunvand’s 1981 classic The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings. He noted that the legend was based on truthful accounts of food contamination, and theorized that its popularity was our collective unconscious projecting fears of “a world of shocking ugliness lying just beneath a surface of tranquility and apparent wholesomeness.” Besides, the only Mexican wives’ tale that I know involving snakes is about a supposed thirty-foot-long flying snake that lives in the mountains above the rancho of my mami’s birth.<br /> <br /> Ask the Mexican at editorial@westword.com. Find him at Facebook.com and on Twitter.

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