This babe goes to toyland • Brooklyn Paper

This babe goes to toyland

Claire Cavanah, co-owner of Babeland, with a friend.
The Brooklyn Paper / Sebastian Kahnert

Babeland, the new sex-toy store for women, had raffled off a bunch of gift bags at a reading I attended a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t get a ticket, but watched as the winners collected their little pink bags full of who knows what.

As I waited outside for a friend, a woman passed by, holding one of the bags as if it was filled with dog poop.

“Here,” she said, handing it to me. “I don’t want this.” she said. Reflexively, I took it.

I looked through it. There was a silver and pink dildo, a bottle of “Babe Lube,” and a soy candle that melts into a massage cream. Then there was this silver oval-shaped thing attached to a battery pack.


My friend showed up.

“Here,” I said. “Do you want this?”

When I got home and told my fiancé about my brief ownership of a bag full of sex toys, he said, “And you gave it away? Call her right now and get it back!”

I tried really hard not to giggle as I interviewed Clair Cavanah, owner of the store, at 462 Bergen St. between Flatbush and Fifth avenues. After all, I’m a grown-up. I certainly didn’t want her to think that looking at all her sex toys made me embarrassed or anything.

“I bet a lot of people come in here and giggle,” I said, looking for a little reassurance.

“Oh yes,” she told me. “Ever since ‘Sex and the City,’ we’ve been getting groups of four or five women out on a girls’ night who come in and look at everything and laugh together.”

Actually, though, the inside of the store was oddly reassuring. I say oddly, only because I was braced for some really over-the-top, wild and naughty displays. In fact, the pink and chrome décor could easily be a trendy cosmetics store in Soho. There are bins along one wall that look a bit like a cool version of a candy store. OK, so they were filled with condoms of every shape, color and size, but still.

“Women are underserved in this industry,” said Cavanah. “In fact, they are underserved in intercourse.”

To correct this inequity, Cavanah plans to hold workshops like those she already holds in her three other stores. Coming soon is “Creative Sex Life” in July and “How to Please Your Man,” in August.

Another popular workshop is “How to Give a Blow Job.” Popular with whom, one wonders. Don’t worry; Cavanah promises a workshop — for men — on giving oral sex to women, too.

Good, I thought.

The interview over, Cavanah invited me back to the official press opening on June 5.

“We’re giving away some great stuff,” she said.

This time, I won’t give it back.

Wendy Ponte is a writer who lives in Park Slope.

The Kitchen Sink

Our friends at the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies sent a group of seventh-grade students into the belly of the beast — the Gowanus Canal — and the kids concluded that the so-called “Lavender Lake” should be dredged to remove toxins and that our sewage system should be completely overhauled so that millions of gallons of raw sewage no longer flows into the canal every year. Ah, youth! So energetic! So naïve! …

Councilman Bill DeBlasio is the Jolly Green Giant of city government. Park Slope’s towering Democrat has introduced a bill to force public schools to recycle more of the 50,000 tons of annual trash they generate.

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