Sexpo is a yearly exhibition held in vain hope of achieving some level of mediocre entertainment for the “curiously” minded. Advertising the event as “Not just an expo… It's a Sexpo”, my hopes for a stimulating night already had one foot in the grave.
“The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you, if you just lower your expectations.” Phil Dunphy, Modern Family.
Eventually I mustered the courage to expose myself to the “faux-De Sadian” gathering, I fought hard to quell the urges of pessimism as I hurtled along the dark road and managed to keep my addled brain sending the (mostly) right signals to my limbs. The venue, Gallagher Convention Centre, seemed an appropriate companion for the event. As banal a building as you might imagine, I remember concerning myself with the possibility of a quest failed, a slow amble through the stalls to match the putrid, brightly lit and carpeted office block. Naturally I was compelled to pay an obscene amount for a parking space, and a 9-point turn alley dock quickly quashed my intentions for a sober experience. I gestured to the car-guard that yes, I had in fact received the appropriate guidance and service for my money, and settled into my seat under the guise of a histrionic phone call to my boss. Every man of worth in this society can be sure of two things: attending any gathering of more than two people requires a considerable amount of chemical assistance and more importantly, beasts on the fringe of any group can be volatile. Sparking a flame, my fingers drummed along vaguely in tune to a mix-tape of 'OG' hip-hop and I embraced the prospect of the looming quest.
Somewhere in between parking and walking into the event, I acquired my credentials and a severe craving for a beer. Sneakily, the main bar is located next to the stage and therefore at the very end of the entrance hall and first set of stalls. Oblivious to the layout of the event, I wandered in a generally progressive direction, never turning back. Noticing the fridges at the far left corner of the hall, I stepped up my “I have a media pass and have important places to be” walk. Grateful for the reprieve, I ordered the least offensive of the two options. At this point any beer was good beer and I greedily gulped down half the bottle. Remembering that there was stage, I focused my attention to what appeared to be a 'gay-off', if such a thing exists. At least ten men competing for a prize of some sort and the criteria appeared to be based on their willingness to undress. Eventually the finalists were chosen, all those willing to show their cock. Amongst the finalists, a buff tanned man pranced around the stage posing like a body-builder. My immediate instinct proved to be right: he was a straight man employed by the organisers to add what they seemed to think was aesthetic appeal. I wasn't surprised when he didn't win, the man with the fluffy pink scarf didn't seem to be in on the gig and took first prize. I couldn't even tell you what the prize was if I had won it, some measly amount of vouchers for an adult store or massage parlour, perhaps a brothel, either way the show definitely seemed like a cheap attempt to encourage men to shake their willy around. Realising the lack of nicotine might be making me an unfair judge, I began my search for the elusive smokers area.
In fairness to the event organisers, the outside setting and comfortable chairs complimented the Spring evening superbly. I sat outside for a cool half-hour and enjoyed a quiet beer, surveying the crowds with half-hearted interest. Realising I had to actually cover the event, I worked up the energy to embrace the investigation, but more terrifyingly, the non-smokers. Ambling along, I ventured into the second hall, which appeared to much the same as the first: A flea market. I actually thought to myself that had it actually been a flea market; with all sorts of sex toys for the tiny suckers, displays involving weirdly arousing flea fetishes and perhaps radiated mutant fleas fighting to the death in an electrified cage, then I would have been enthused. Never the less I had to forge forth and all was not lost. Veiled behind loosely draped curtains in the far corner of the second hall, lay the various “lounges”. Judging by the queues, bouncers and ticket booth, these lounges were accessible to those who can afford to indulge their curiosity, fantasy or preference. After strolling past each, I concluded that none of the options was particularly appealing. Fortunately as a member of the elite press core, I had free range across the event, paying only for my beverages. Deciding to sample each lounge, at least for one drink, I headed for the VIP lounge. Completely cordoned off, from the outside the actual lounge was hidden from view. I suppose VIPs do not want to see nor hear the 'poorsies' outside and so the exclusivity was understandable. Cruising past the bouncers, I entered the lounge with high hopes. I was about to join high-society, the elite, those who can afford to spend an exploitative amount of money on entrance to a glorified adult China Mall. To my left was a cage, albeit an easily escapable one. Rookie mistake. Two very obviously foreign women were displaying/teaching pole dancing techniques. A small Asian woman and a suspiciously manly Eastern European woman were performing typical manoeuvres and guiding other woman in achieving at least the same level of competency as a dancer with Cerebral Palsy. The rest of the lounge was simply a bar area, a stage and some very offensive white couches. The waitresses were young, fit and topless. Most of them wearing thongs. Appreciating their concern for my experience, I did not gawk. Rather I graciously smiled as they wandered past and looked them straight in the eye. My honour was put to the test when a beautiful young blonde approached me, smiling sweetly, she asked if I was enjoying my evening and had I been offered free tequila and vodka shots. Touched by such a display of kindness, I fought hard to not drop my gaze 30 degrees. Unsure if she was prompting further conversation, I fell silent and conceded that she was being paid to butter up chumps like myself. Admittedly the ploy worked and I must've spent an hour or longer the lounge, enjoying how Castle Lager tastes better the more you drink of it. After soaking in all the aristocratic pheromones my heritage could tolerate, I departed the comfort of the VIP lounge and made my way to the BDSM lounge.
Serendipitously I arrived just in time for a show and skipped my way past the queuing peasants. The lounge was unfortunately what I have become accustomed to when going to BDSM shows: displays of stereotypical BDSM play glared at by a bunch of disappointingly unimaginative people. Two women were at the mercy of either their partners, or their employers. Possibly both. Cages, whips, clamps, bondage and submission were all part of the show as well as various glamorous examples of BDSM. Growing increasingly bored of the show, I made for the exit. I had barely walked ten steps when a man blocked my path.
“Uh, hi?” I enquired politely. I assumed he had the intention to engage in some form of social interaction. Sadly I was right.
“Hello” he replied with a broad grin. “I noticed your media pass, which company are you working for?”
Not wanting to expose my credentials, mainly because of the media induced fear of the NSA, ISIS and Putin, I replied confidently:
“I am from an online site, Uh, my own site. You won't have heard of it. Very underground you see. I write for a niche market; highly placed politicians, customs officials, syndicate funders, hell even Netanyahu follows me on Twitter.”
“Fuck me!” the gullible fool shouted. Surely he could not have bought that garbage, but his glossy eyes convinced me otherwise. “Hey why don't you try out some of the BDSM play? I'll help you sign up.” He said, implying he was in some way at the helm of this operation.
“Ah,” I responded, “my dear strange old man, I am in no way interested in whatever cheap ideal you are trying to sell here. This is a disastrous state of affairs. Give me a bowl of the right kind of punch, a red strobe light and 12 hours, I'll give you a BDSM show.”
He laughed nervously and searched for a hint of humour in my demeanour, “Yeah man, Ken Kesey style.” he hesitantly agreed.
“Kesey?!” I screamed furiously, “I'll fuck Kesey in the ass!” Feeling that proclaiming the intent to rape Ken Kesey was not the best way to announce my exit, I added: ““Don't you know, I'll crawl over fifty good pussies to get to one fat boy's ass-hole. It's plain to see, I'm that bad mother-fucker called Staggerlee!”” I quickly made my way toward the door, mumbling a quick apology under my breath to Mr. Cave for the theft and relieved those tyrants of my company.
Directly across the BDSM lounge was a lounge called Pharaohs, which claimed to be a swingers club. As with the BDSM lounge, the queue was long and the people were milling around impatiently. Shirking the loathsome glares I got as I ducked under the railing at the door, I cruised into the lounge. The lounge and patrons were painfully cliché, older women, even older men and aspiring Don Juans. A quick glance around the lounge and I knew exactly which kind of maniac I was dealing with. These people were dangerous, skittish and unhinged. I stuck to my plan and approached the bar, treading lightly and trying to mask the stench of fear. It took me little more than 15 seconds to reach the bar, but I felt an immense sense of relief when the bartender took my order. Having an official event employee within screaming distance brought me comfort and I sipped my beer slowly. I knew I that couldn't drink too much in this lounge, any whiff of inebriation and these fiends would been on me in an instant. Judging by the air of these people, they had not been informed of the fall of the Soviet Union. The lounge was a veritable Marxist utopia, filled with the classless. As I perused the patrons like a Saudi prince, my eyes settled on a particularly exquisite specimen of brute. At least half a century past her “use by date”, this woman had the eyes of a shark. A soulless and vicious appetite rippled across her lips as she made eye-contact and I responded in kind. The best way to deal with any wildly unpredictable animal is to man up, desperately try to hide your terror and under no circumstances lose control of your sphincter. I managed at least two of these axioms, but the fear was undeniably obvious. The woman rose from her chair and tried to glide glamorously toward me. I almost flinched, but held my position, this was no time for a weak spirit. I stared straight into the eyes of the incarnation of an intangible evil, took a hit from my beer and wished I had come packing.
“Laura.” she announced as soon as she was in earshot. Assuming from the foreplay that we were about to engage in an exchange of some sort, I replied:
“Lee. Stagger Lee.”
“Well Mr. Lee,” she whispered as she leant toward me, “How about you and I get acquainted?”
I considered my options and settled on a respectable and appropriate response:
“Acquainted? You mean get to know each other? You actually want to engage in meaningless chit chat while you decide which part of my body you eat first? Let's just cut the crap lady, your charade of the deadly insatiable vixen is only fooling your own ego. I know what kind of a monster you are. You want to swing? Hook up the actual swings and let patrons swing around, bumping into and inside whom ever they want. You know, acrobatic swinging. The kind of shit you see at the circus. Hell bring in an elephant or two, this is swinging dear old maiden, where the fuck are the swings?!” Her reaction was astounding, I must have shook loose the dried cum that was holding her act together. She took a step back and mumbled something inaudible, her eyes widened and for moment I could have sworn I saw a glint of excitement. Trembling from head to toe, Laura reached for the support of the barstool. Stepping toward her, as if to offer assistance, I grabbed her wrist and softly assured her,
“Don't worry little Laura, I see past your façade. I can show you things Aladin could only dream of. Swinging beyond the bounds of your tolerance. Higher. Higher. And soon you'll fly right through the dimensions. Swinging on an atomic level. Super-position. That is swinging you crude impersonator. You're hungry, but your tastes are far too boring for me.” Releasing my grip I lingered in position, soaking up her pheromones of fear. Had I stayed even seconds longer I might have conceded to my sadistic urges, but my gut told me It'd be unwise. Turning around swiftly, I left my empty bottle on the table and made a relatively inconspicuous an exit.
I was running a thin temper and still needed to cover almost half the event. Committed to the plan I had concocted, I felt I had to visit the next lounge before moving on to the market. Fully aware that I hadn't considered either Teaze Hers or the “For Women” lounge, I made took a quick self-guided tour. Teaze Hers was utterly appalling, not because I don't find men attractive, but because the meat bags prancing about the place were disgustingly sordid. Perfect examples of the Western World gone mad. Muscles bulging, veins popping and mullets, the men on display were everything but arousing. Possibly the least exciting of the lounges, which is quite an achievement considering the standard. I finished my beer and darted toward the exit, my stomach churned as some roided up gym bunny offered me a lap dance but I brushed past him and broke into a flat out run.
Sprinting out of the Teaze Hers lounge, I took an immediate right and entered the gay lounge. Feeling a bit more comfortable in this lounge, I casually walked up to the bar and ordered a beer. Looking to my right, I noticed a barely legal boy sitting alone on a couch. I bought another beer and approached him, arm outstretched offering the beverage. The young boy squirmed, unsure of how to react to my gesture. His hesitation excited me, I may have just found someone of interest.
“Hi, you can call me Lee.” I announced. His reaction was akin to a rodent in a snake cage: frozen, desperate for an escape route but too scared to attempt to make a break for it. My smile widened. His lack of response indicated to me that I should continue, at least that was my interpretation.
“It's L-E-E, not L-E-I-G-H. Besides, that's only my surname. You can call me Stag.” His lips began trembling and he tentatively whispered:
“Um, hi. My name is Fred.”
“Well Fred, let's call you Frederic, it is more eloquent. And daddy only likes eloquence and elegance. See this fur coat? See this cane? Come closer and I'll show you my gun.” The words flowed smoothly and each time my mouth opened my tongue could taste the prey.
“Sir, I don't want to you to call me Frederic. I don't want to call you anything. I just want to drink my cocktail, not the roofied Castle you brought me.” His word lashed viciously but his eyes betrayed him. A helpless meal lashing out one last time in an attempt to remain in this world. I sat down gently, putting my arm around his waist and replied sweetly:
“Frederic, my dear, dear Frederic. I am on a quest, a mission, a journey. The end is never in sight and defecting is not an option. See these feet? The rot, the mould? They call it 'trench-foot'. It's from walking through this mire of mediocrity.” His bewilderment prompted him to glance briefly at my feet.
“Stag.” I corrected.
His retort was a spear in the side.
“Um, Stag, you feet look fine. In fact I can't even see you feet. All I see is a pair of grubby sneakers.” My heart dropped as I realised the futility of trying to explain myself to this appealing apple. Sighing heavily, I put my beer down and stood up. The exit lay ten meters straight ahead and I walked purposefully out of the lounge, turning back only to notice the little shit drinking the beer.
By the time I had made it back to the smoking area I was exhausted, not physically but sexually. My appetite had been on a roller-coaster, such high hopes dashed and resurrected repeatedly. I sucked done three Malboros and walked back into the building, hopefully for the final time. Disappointed with the lounges, I began perusing the stalls. Passing by each, I quickly realised that most of the stalls were selling the same things. Dildos, vibrators, cock-rings, gimp masks and every other kind of “sex-toy”. I spent some time at the BDSM stalls, investigating their products. Most of the merchandise was banal; whips, masks, chains, paddles and all sorts of leather outfits. Hideously boring. I relinquished my hopes of finding something fun to play with and continued along the hall. Every second stall appeared to be a replication of the previous. The same plastic cocks, B-grade porn, double-dongs and whatever else these communists thought appropriate to flog. A scary amount of people were actually buying things and I could see the dollar signs behind the eyes of the cashiers. As I walked through the valley of sex toys stalls, I feared the evil. Sordid and sinister souls floating through the expo stopping at each stall to investigate things they could never understand. False ideals were flying fast and thick, fogging the pathways with murky misnomers. I wandered past a couple considering a particularly large double-dong. The toy was a perfect forgery, Phallic all the way down to the bulging purple veins. I strolled into the stall and pretended to browse the pittance of an offering. Sidling ever closer, I came into earshot and was treated to a first hand discussion about which dong they would buy. The outcome was brutal. The couple decided that a double-dong just didn't have enough dong. Choosing two different colours, the couple walked out with two double-dongs and about 5 litres of lubricant. Having never considered a double-dong myself, witnessing such a decision was fascinating. Before I left the store I checked the price of the toys in question. R850 was printed clearly above the rack. Somewhere deep inside my blue collar roots a fury stirred. That couple had just spent well over a grand on a plastic toy. I stormed out the store and tried to catch up with the wealthy couple. I figured for that kind of money I could chop my legs off just below the knee. Take my hands off too. And who would've thought, a four-way living dong! I was in business, an untapped market.
Naturally I could not catch up with the couple and had to resume my tour of the expo. I walked as quickly as I could between the two halls, using the VIP lounge as a base of operations. Time was nearly up and I was growing tired of trying to imagine what I could possibly write about a plaza for people who can afford to have sexual curiosity. I had always thought sex was pretty simple but then again not everyone has a soundproof cellar. Walking back and forth, I glanced at each stall with intent. One stall appeared to have an Apple type vibe going, with sleek, shiny products. Knowing that if there wasn't a price on an item, you had to ask, which meant you could not afford it. So I casually inspected one or two of the gadgets and concluded that their function was most likely similar to Apple products: shiny shit to boast about. I had heard rumours about celebrity appearances at the expo, but I saw none. In fact I don't think any attended, the organisers claimed some iced tea expert and various porn stars would attend. I have little interest in iced tea and as porn stars go, well they're a dime in a dozen. I didn't bother trying to track down these people for advice on the best way to brew tea or angle your ass to get the best shot. Eventually I decided I'd had enough. I had seen all the genitals, the toys, the techniques and the tricksters. What more could I do, the expo was a non-event, an anti-climax. Perhaps it has been running for too many years or maybe this was actually the entirety of the event. I made for the exit, not actually sure of where I was going and let auto-pilot take over. There was nothing left to be seen or done, at least not with these kind of people. My muscle memory took over and I watched my body wander aimlessly around the building until finding the exit.