One morning this summer I was getting ready for work, listening to the radio as always. The “Star and Buckwild” show on Hot 97 can be a surprising source of interesting information. As usual, I was not disappointed. This particularly steamy July day was the perfect time for a report on a most odd news story. A woman had been stopped a few days before at a New York airport for possessing suspicious baggage. Her suitcase, she was told, had been vibrating, and this was clearly a security concern. Slightly ashamed, she tried to tell the security guard that the culprit hidden inside her suitcase was — ahem — a vibrator.

He, taking no chances, insisted on opening up the suitcase and checking things out for himself. He did indeed find some good vibrations behind a few T-shirts and a pair of shoes. The woman, mortified and troubled, decided that the only appropriate course of action was to sue the airline for “emotional distress.” As I put the finishing touches on my makeup, I weighed the merits of the vibrator versus the obvious hardship of a court case. I was conflicted.

This quandary remained on my mind a few days later as I lunched (people in New York don’t eat, they “lunch”) with my friend Veronica. Veronica is the kind of girl who oozes sex. She is not particularly beautiful nor particularly thin, but she is certainly particularly sexy. She has a throaty laugh. She always wears red lipstick (even with sweatpants) and it is always glossy. When she asks a question, she arches one perfectly plucked eyebrow up, and looks at you with an inquisitive glance. When she feels like acting innocent, she widens her eyes and stares up you beneath thick dark lashes. But everyone knows that there is not one ounce of innocence hidden in her black lace Wonderbra. Men worship her. They woo her. She walks into a bar and sex spills out of her like lava out of a volcano. She knows about sex. She knows about vibrators.

She must.

So, I figured I might as well ask her the big bad vibrator question.

“So ummm, do you own one?” I inquired tentatively over field greens.

“Clearly, darling.” (Oh yeah. Veronica refers to everyone as darling. It’s really annoying.)

“You do???” I asked incredulously. (I figured she got enough ass to supply the Western Hemisphere. Why in the world would she need one?)

“Mmmmhmmm,” she answered. She was losing interest already. “You don’t?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Ummm. No,” I answered.

“What are you doing after lunch?”

“Oh crap,” I thought. “She’s going to want to go buy me one.”

“Well–,” I began to answer.

“Because, darling, we need to get you one.”

Big surprise.

So that is what we did. After our meal, we headed over to the nearest porn shop. Veronica had no problem locating it. I meekly followed her in, knowing that if my mother knew what we were about to do, she would just lay down and die. She probably wouldn’t even put up a fight.

As we entered, we walked past rack after rack of “Ass Bangers” (the full collection, DVDs one through eight) as well as copies of Penthouse, Playboy, Blacktail, Hustler–

People do things on the cover of those magazines that you are not even supposed to do within the privacy of your own home. Not even if you and five other people and that midget are the only ones left on the entire planet.

We finally arrived at the “Sex Toys” aisle and in front of me hung more fake penises than I have ever seen in my life. There were ALL KINDS of vibrators. I scanned the wall. Veronica looked as if she was in heaven.

I looked lost. Like Boy George at a football game.

I told myself to suck it up. I am a junior in college now — I can take seminars. That means that I can also buy a vibrator. (Don’t question my reasoning. Just roll with it.)

There was “My First Vibe,” designed for first timers. All the i’s in its title were dotted with flowers. It came in two colors — blushing violet and innocent white. Hmmm. Not really my thing. It also offered a free pack of lubricant. I guess to keep all those “first timers” coming back for more.

There was the “Waterproof Pleasure Pal” for the amphibians among us. It was 10 inches long and covered in purple glitter. A little out of my league.

There was the “Glow in the Dark Vibe” as well as “Rhapsody — The Gelatin Rubber Story.” There was also “The Vibrating Pen — for the discreet among us, and perfectly portable!” the box advertised. The “Mach X20 Probe” — I was under the impression that this was the name of a razor.

The “Silver Anniversary Edition” caught my attention, as it offered a plethora of shapes and sizes and claimed to be made with “cyber skin.”

I was a little taken aback, to say the least. Veronica watched me, rather amused.

Finally, we decided on a model from the “Classic Chic Collection.” It’s an elegant off-white that matches the walls of newly renovated Timothy Dwight College. And there are no naked chicks on the front of the box. Plus it was moderately priced at $10.99.

I was sold.

The clerk rang up my purchase and winked at me as he packed my new pal in a brown paper bag. I felt nauseous (but also a little dangerous). Veronica giggled.

As I walked home I felt like I had a secret that NO ONE knew about. Well, I did, until I dropped my bag on the 6 train and my vibrator rolled out. A couple of nice Jews For Jesus in tie-dyed shirts generously tossed it back to me.

WHEN was I going to use this?

The truth is, that except for that one time on the train, I didn’t break it out at all. I packed it away as I moved into my new dorm room this year, and I hid it in a small drawer in my desk. Under my pens.

The other night, I took out my Classic Chic Collection, and I felt neither classy nor chic (discuss among yourselves).

I put it on my desk. I picked it up. Looked at it. I felt stupid. I put it down. Picked it up again. Turned it on. It looked ridiculous just sitting there on my desk. Vibrating and moving around all over the place, its only company my “America during the Revolution” book, my Extra gum, and my Ikea desk lamp. I didn’t know what to DO with it. I tried out its varying speed feature. I was NOT sexually attracted to this plastic cylinder. It didn’t talk to me. It didn’t even tell me I was pretty. It wasn’t even drunk.


I decided to pack up my vibrator for the long haul. I might break it out when I’m in my mid-20s. I think one’s mid-20s is ideal vibrator time. It’s a period when you no longer have the comfort of an insulated college world. A time when you can no longer sleep with random people and face book them the next day. It’s a period when you have racked up enough notches on your bedpost for a small village, and one more notch (if it’s not your husband) may cost you a few thousand dollars (and years) in therapy.

Just remember, don’t bring your vibrator on vacation. It might go off in your suitcase. And that is a cause of severe emotional distress.

Natalie Krinsky ’04 is skinnier than the girl in the cartoon.