Where the insatiable meet the inflatableHey, are you one of those expatriates who loves Korea but really misses one super-special thing back home that you can’t find here?
And is that one super-special thing your old neighborhood sex shop?
If so, you should probably seek help of some sort. But you should also be aware, as I wasn’t until quite recently, that Itaewon has such an establishment.
It’s called Adult Shop, and it’s at the east end of the main drag, on the second floor of a building about two doors past the road that drops down to the embassies in Hannam-dong.
It’s directly across the street from a little bar with many pretty bartenders called Frog. Check that ― the bar is called Frog. The bartenders have completely normal names. Frog figures in to this story later.
Surprisingly, Adult Shop is a clean, respectable and well-lit place that pervert and prude alike can enjoy browsing in. Prudes, of course, will need to bring their senses of humor.
The business is a mom-and-pop affair, run by Kim Kwang-jae, 31, and his girlfriend Kim Min-hee, 29. Mr. Kim, a completely normal guy, opened it in November 2002. Why? “Because Itaewon didn’t have a sex shop and it seemed like a fun thing to do.”
About 90 percent of Adult Shop’s customers are foreigners, Mr. Kim said. The male-female ratio is about even. If you ask, Mr. Kim will tell you which kinds of foreigners prefer which kinds of sex toys, and you’ll chuckle as you speculate on the whys and wherefores.
I’d be glad to share some of Mr. Kim’s quotes on this subject, and to describe the respective products in great detail, but I won’t, because the JoongAng Daily editors would just send this column back to me and tell me to write it again.
So you’ll just have to use your imagination. Suffice it to say that Adult Shop offers every sex toy you could ever, ever imagine.
On a recent weeknight, Mr. Kim was a good enough salesman to convince this semi-prudish columnist to spend way more in the shop than he’d planned to. I ended up leaving with a bag full of erotic underwear and, shall we say, “silicon wonders.”
Afterward, I decided to cross the street and drop in at the aforementioned Frog. I thought it would be fun to open my bag of goodies in front of the bartenders and watch them recoil in horror.
But that’s not how it happened. Once they realized where the bag was from, the girls grabbed it out of my hands as if it were famine relief dangling from a helicopter and they’d gone without food for weeks.
They disappeared into the back, whence they could be heard divvying up the treasure amongst themselves. A few minutes later the bag came back to me, empty except for one thing ― the biggest silicon wonder.
Add your own punchline here.
by Mike Ferrin