Claire, Matt, Paul, Sian and I visited Nice ‘N’ Naughty, Aberystwyth’s second sex shop, as it opened at 9am this morning. Other folks who’d promised to come along, such as Jon and Hayley, Andy, and Ruth and JTA, were nowhere to be seen. What follows is, essentially, my “review” of the establishment:
The shopfront itself is moderately discreet, with several mannequins (sporting revealing underwear which – were they not dummies – wouldn’t leave much to the imagination) occupying the window, and a second, inner door carrying the obligatory “18+” warning sign.
Once inside, it’s apparent that a lot of thought has gone into making this shop – like those in it’s chain, apparently – more accessible to those who would not consider themselves “enthusiasts”. The shop is cleanly laid-out and very well-lit, with two different counters: one occupied by a sales assistant of each gender. The nearest counter, which houses the checkout, has several small bottles of “room odourisers” (let’s face it – nitrate inhalants – the only ‘drug’ items sold in the shop), condoms, climax and stay-hard creams, and aphrodisiacs. Before the checkout, on both sides, is a large array of clothing – mostly latex, plain-chain, rubber, and speciality costumes (e.g. nurse). Opposite the checkout are various restraints, spanking paddles, and the like, and beyond them to the right are lingerie items. Some of these were quite amusing and charming, such as the lacy women’s underwear with two tiny bronzed bells hanging from cotton at the tront, with the words “tinkle my bell” embroidered above.
Opposite the lingerie begins the range of sex toys. The range is significantly better than that provided by Little Amsterdam: even comparable to that of many websites. The novelty gifts – “romance kits”, phallic and vaginal-shaped soap-on-a-rope – are nearest the checkout, and away from this point stretches an array of dongs, vibrators, pumps, pussies, suckers, ticklers, double-ended-dildos, clamps, crimps, squeezers, beads, strap-ons, eggs, pillows, balls, stimulators, sleeves, plugs, rings, nubbies, straps, and dolls. The prices are comparable to most sex shops, and just a little more than you’d typically find online.
In the centre of the shop there’s a rotatable tamber with a selection of lubricants. Some, such as ID Glide and ID Pleasure (which is highly recommendable) we’re familiar with, but we were tempted into buying a bottle of ID Millenium – the big brother to ‘glide’, which is a non-sticky, silicon-based, prenium lubricant that carries a warning, “surfaces, such as bathtubs and tiles, may remain dangerously slippery for days”. Heh.
The staff were open and friendly, and carried a real “can I help you, sir”, attitude, casually chatting with customers who were comfortable with such an approach, recommending products, and always on hand for any questions; but they also kept a sensible distance – not pressing themselves on customers who didn’t seem so eager to talk to them. I spent some time talking to the staff about the store, it’s approach, and it’s plans for penetrating <ahem> the already sex-shop-hostile marketplace here in Aberystwyth.
A little further back, through a passageway at the back of the store, they keep their magazines and DVDs. They’ve currently got a small selection of soft-core porn, but they’re forming their application for a liscense to sell hard-core porn, too (which, of course, requires special dispensation in the UK. To this end, they’re forming a petition to the council, to illustrate that there is demand in Aberystwyth for hard-core porn (on which, following our visit, there are several signatures).
In the end, Claire and I bought the interesting lubricant and a couple of toys, including the bizarre-looking “Vibrating Rock Chick“. Some of the other folks in our group got things, too, and some didn’t.
So; it’s a nice shop: go visit it, talk to the nice people, but remember, you might get a better price online (if less-good customer service). The “free gift” for the first hundred customers turns out to be a gift voucher of a randomly-selected value, but they haven’t been printed yet, so we’ve been invited to go back and claim them at a future date. Which I’m sure I’ll be doing.