Christine Wenc, the paper's editor back in 1993, wrote a piece about Toys in Babeland, as it was then known, the week the store opened. ("How I Got Really Tired (of Sex), But Then Got Over It," The Stranger, September 5, 1993.) The piece isn't online, sadly, but here's what Christine had to say about Babeland in the very first story published anywhere about this brand new store:
I went to the office and realized I had a big empty space to fill in this week's paper, opposite "Savage Love." Just then Dan himself walked in the door. "Dan, I'm tired of sex," I said. "I was talking with the editor of the hottest lesbian sex magazine in the country and all I could think about was the white sale at Bon Marche." I needed to buy pillows for my bed. My old pillow has been around since about the time I last thought oral sex was kinky, and lately, sleep has been a top priority. "Really?" he said. "I need sheets. I'm trying to use twin-size sheets on a king-size bed." So we went down to the Bon. But on the way we stopped at Toys in Babeland, the new women-owned sex-gadget store on Pike Street in Capitol Hill. And my whole mood changed.
The place was tastefully decorated and roomy, the staff was friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable. Everywhere were dildos of all shapes and sizes and textures (one very funny one shaped like an ear of corn); dildo harnesses; all kinds of vibrators; butt plugs; little strings of beads to put up your butt and pull out again; bottles of lube; lots of books. I was entranced by all of the nifty gadgets, many of which I'd seen in the Good Vibrations catalogue before. And there was also a little room in the back with a mirror and a comfy chair for testing the products. Everything was laid out for inspection, with power source available if necessary, so you'd know exactly what you were getting. It was great fun. I began fantasizing about what I might be able to do with one of those strap-ons...
Then I saw the vibrator of my dreams. If anything in the store seemed like it would be worth $63, this was it. Just touching it made me smile. It's a Japanese model, and it looks like a regular phallus-shaped dildo, but with a special feature: a prong—this one was shaped like a little bunny rabbit—sticking out, to vibrate its cute little floppy ears over your clit while the rest is inside. I turned it on to see the action, and let me tell you, any man would be hard-pressed to compete with this little device. (To my boyfriend: I don't mean you, of course.) My grumpy mood evaporated as I contemplated this wondrous product of modern technology. "It's designed specifically for women," the staff person said. Dan watched my eyes bugging out and admitted he couldn't relate at all. Heh, heh, heh.
We finally made it to the Bon, where we each bought two queen-size pillows for $9.99 each. My next shopping spree is going to be at Toys in Babeland, I think. Some things are more important than sleep.
Babeland: evaporating grumpy moods since 1993! (And I think Christine was among the first to write about "The Rabbit," the vibrator that Sex and the City made famous.)
Big congrats to Rachel and Claire on the 20th anniversary of the founding of their continent-straddling, dildo-pushing, strap-on-strapping, sex-positive sex-toy empire!