I’m really asking for it by naming this page “Erotica”. Well, it’s either that or “Masturbation Aids Expo”. I have this horrible fear I’m going to end up with lots of people coming through here by searching for you-know-what on search engines. I can only hope they stay away.
Hot on the heels of the glorious hummusfest known as the Food Expo, the expo centre was host of Erotica the “adult concepts and lifestyle expo”.
I had first heard of Erotica a few months earlier when a newsgroup had been spammed with an ad for the expo. I was curious, and visited the official website. There it was claimed that Erotica was based on the Australian Sexpos. The site also mentioned that “an exit pole revealed that visitors came from all walks of life and included a diverse range of adults, young and old.” Whilst a regular expo would have an exit poll, it does make sense that a sex expo would have an exit pole, probably with a young lady in a bikini wrapped around it.
And then there was the whole “adult concepts” thing. No, this wasn’t going to be an expo dealing with such subjects as how you can afford this week’s groceries when the car needs urgent repairs, whether you should vaccinate your kids, and should you refinance the mortgage and other such adult concepts. No, these adult concept are more of the latex and silicone kind.
I came to the conclusion that going to Erotica would be in the “good for a laugh in an ironic, alanisy kind of way” but that I wouldn’t actually pay to go in. The magical fairy of free stuff must have been listening, because suddenly I found myself with two free passes to Erotica. So I dragged along a fellow by the name of Selwyn, and off we went to Erotica.
The first moment of excitement came at the door. A security guard searched my bag and found my digital camera and would not let me in with it. Curses! But having taken care of that, I entered the expo and came face to face with a plaster impressions of various nether regions. Not really the most attractive thing to see in plaster of Paris.
The word erotica can mean literary or artistic works having an erotic theme or quality. There was none of that at Erotica. If they were going to be completely honest it should have been named “Masturbation Aids Expo” because, really, that’s what it was all about.
There were various sex shops with the standard selection of rubber and plastic goods. But what really stood out were the vegetable slicer guys. You know how at all expo things there always seem to be a large number of people demonstrating magical vegetable slicing devices? There were several at Erotica. There was also a guy demonstrating a pasta maker and another man selling caramel popcorn.
As I walked along the rows, I spied a stand selling sex toys and Hustler magazine. It was staffed by three guys all wearing Cat In The Hat hats, all looking really old and hoary. The kind of guys who if they had higher morals, would be touting themselves as Internet solution providers. Actually, make that lower morals.
The Internet fellows were there too. There were a few sites that consisted solely of a banner with a URL. Hidden around a corner were the serious stands, the Auckland Hospital’s sexual health people, Family Planning and the New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective. They all gave out condoms for free, while the other stands were more interested in selling them.
Opposite the popcorn stand was a mini lap-dancing booth. There was a large crowd of people standing outside it. They weren’t queuing up for a lap-dance. They were waiting to see who was coming out of the little booth. I saw a few of the guys who emerged and they looked like the sort of people who one would expect to engage in lap-dancing.
A sex shop had a pair of wobbly fake tits things that are put in a bra to beef up cleavage (the same stuff Julia Roberts used playing Erin Brockovich). A lot of people who walked past stopped and had a feel. Everytime that happened the guy running the stand went over and straightened up the wobbly tits.
There weren’t a lot of women there. The females that were there seemed to be mostly their with their boyfriends. It was mostly groups of young men and old men. Yes, there were plenty of pervy old men.
There were a stage where various acts got up on stage and shook their erotic arses. I had missed the Showboys, but I was in time for the foam wrestling. Setting up for the wrestling, a guy sprayed foam into a plastic pool while a montage of clips from various porno films played on the screen behind him. I found it more interesting looking at him than at the many kum fac’e on the screen. When the pool was filled up, the two wresters Tyler and Cindy (probably spelt Thailah and Sinndee) were introduced. Then the got in the pool and wriggled about in the foam. My view of the action itself was obscured by the spikey haired youth two rows in front, but I was able to get a slightly out-of-focus look at the video images on the screen.
The object of the game, Selwyn told me, was to get the clothes of your opponent off. But according to Erotica’s organiser as quoted in the Herald, there wasn’t going to be any full nudity. The group of men in their forties sitting nearby didn’t seem to release this as they kept yelling “get your pants off!”. But really, they were expecting that for $10 admission?
After walking around looking at everything there was to see I was getting pretty bored. Sure, it was funny seeing the knee-jerk reaction of some of the guys there whenever they spied something that even remotely looked like a nude woman, but even that had its limits.
It was when I saw a guy whose was demonstrating how he can photoshop a picture of a person to make it look like they were standing with some naked women, that I realised that my time at Erotica had come to an end.
As I made my way to the exit I noticed a large crowd of people watching one of the vegetable slicer guys demonstrating how easy it was to slice potatoes into shoe string fries shapes. And I realised that really and truly, watching a guy slicing a potato was way more interesting than looking at rubber tits.