Some custard and a vibrator, please

While my Del Ray community listserve group is a generally low-key and friendly bunch, the topic of Alexandria City sex shop regulation has definitely heated up the virtual chat. A typical group discussion may generate one or two responses; this one has elicited more than 20 and counting. And beyond the typical knee jerk NIMBY responses you might expect from a family-friendly community like Del Ray, the input has been nuanced and insightful.

Most have been rightfully concerned that what is being proposed by the city applies only to Old Town and its environs, which means that a community such as Del Ray would not have any regulatory oversight. However, that hasn’t meant all have been opposed or that opposition has been based solely on prudish grounds.

Some have argued that an adult shop would not attract enough business in this area to survive, unlike say Georgetown and Old Town which get a ongoing dose of heavy tourist traffic.

Others have countered that a sex shop could survive but would have to cater to the locals. “I think sex shop purveyors are as savvy as any other business people and they would understand that in order to be successful in our neighborhood they would have to be really tasteful and discrete,” one individual wrote, “Or at least they would have to also sell custard, dog treats, or artesianal meats.”

Others have taken a more libertarian stand, arguing that the government should not be dictating what is an “acceptable” commercial establishment. Still others, including some women, have appeared to favor the idea, noting that an adult shop that had relocated from Georgetown to Old Town is run by trauma nurses and offered a line of corsets for women with masectomies.

An adult shop would probably do fine in Del Ray, particularly if it was set back in a commercial building and not in plain view of pedestrian traffic. Residents shouldn’t have to expose their dogs and kids to that stuff but as one individual wrote, “Consenting adults (and if you must have that fallback, legally married and consenting), might appreciate a tasteful option beyond the Internet. Sometimes one would just prefer to check out the merchandise in person.”

And as there’s a dearth of such shops in Northern Virginia, it could very likely bring outsiders into the neighborhood who in turn might visit a local restaurant, of which there is no shortage.

Posted by patrickj on 11/10 at 07:41 AM
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