The outside looks like an Olive Garden Restaurant without windows. No hookers or drug dealers in sight. In a back office inside, beyond the videos, lubes, handcuffs and lingerie, Rick Lederman, the weary-looking store manager, sits pasting price stickers on the pile of sex toys spread across his desk, the ones made famous in the television series Sex and the City.
We are here to spice up people's life. They are the kind of signs that prompt an awkward explanation to a curious 7-year-old in the backseat. But who isn't for saving marriages, so I listen up.
Or at least not a step back to dark places with video booths. I would want my mother to shop in this store. But Lederman has a point. Perhaps we do need to relax about chocolate thongs. Of course this isn't about free speech or even VIP -- which has a constitutionally protected right to exist and offend us -- but rather the city of Manchester.
While other municipalities in the s were busy learning from East Hartford and Berlin, enacting ordinances limiting sex shops, Manchester was spawning a behemoth mall and opening the doors to every retailer known to mankind. Manchester, though it did restrict topless bars, never bothered to limit where sex shops might operate and now residents are angry. Political leaders want a six-month moratorium and new rules governing where adult stores can open.
The age of sex shop mega-stores is upon us. Go take a look. I didn't see any women or fun couples, either, but obviously there's a booming market for this stuff. Then again, I'm not wild about Wal-Mart, either. Rick Green's column appears Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at rgreen courant.