Passion Play

I was flipping through the channels at 3 a.m. one sleepless night and caught a Montel Williams episode in which ladies were throwing a Passion Party. I flipped through Girls Gone Wild commercials to midgets selling get-rich-quick schemes. Falling asleep to this paid advertisement made for weird dreams. I awoke to a call from my friend Julie, who was planning to host a Passion Party at her house. I told her I had just seen one on TV. "Then you know that men aren't allowed. It's like a Tupperware party but for women's products."

This was a challenge. A party I must crash. I thought about the guys in Revenge of the Nerds and their hidden cameras in the sorority house, but Julie ruined the fantasy. "I can ask the person in charge. I'm sure she won't have a problem with you being there."

Caron was the person in charge, and as she was laying out her wares, she told me that in the late '90s, she lived in Florida and hosted these parties for the wives of Florida Marlins and Miami Dolphins players.

Julie was preparing food in the kitchen when she told me, "I call these toys BOBS -- boyfriends on batteries." Caron said that they don't get into male bashing at these events. They consider the items fun for married couples, who use the toys to enhance their relationship and help them better communicate. If I had a nickel for every time a woman used the word "communicate" when talking about relationships...

Julie's husband was in the kitchen helping her with the food. He told me he was being forced out, and I said, "Oh, you have to do all the hard work first.... I'll give you all the details later."

I looked through one of Caron's brochures. The items ranged from $5 for the Friendly Dolphin up to $145 for the Love Swing. I didn't see a picture of the Love Swing, but I'm sure it looked nothing like the old tire swing my uncle had outside his house in Minnesota.

As women arrived, Caron asked them if it was okay that I was there. She told me that if they weren't comfortable, I'd have to leave. None of the ladies minded. I asked one woman why she attended the party, and she said, "It sounds like a lot of fun. And, it's not like we're going to go into F Street or the Hustler store. This is a comfortable, safe environment." Another woman said, "It was great to get out of the house. I left my husband at home with a bottle of Maker's Mark."

A few women went outside to smoke, while others giggled at the products Caron had displayed on the table.

I hung out in the kitchen to give the women their privacy. And, well, that's where the food was.

I would stick my head out on occasion to listen. A product called Tighten Up was introduced, and Caron explained that you don't need to tell your husband you are using it, because egos can be fragile. I handed Caron $20 and said, "I'll take two bottles, please.... They're for a friend."

Caron passed out a pad of paper with a picture of a naked man on it that was missing certain parts. They were told to fill in the blanks with a guy that Julie would prefer. Caron collected all the drawings and said, "I'm amazed at what your friends think you'd like." Julie responded, "They've heard me bitch over the years." I glanced over her shoulder and saw one of the pictures had been fitted with a tool belt. The best picture was given a prize.

While grazing the food and enjoying a glass of wine, I overheard Caron talking about glitter that glowed in the dark. I thought that item would be fun in nightclubs.

Caron came into the kitchen to get her bag of batteries. She told me, "This is my biggest tax write-off. I sometimes get embarrassed when I'm buying so many."

I asked her what she'd do if a cop pulled her over with a car full of her products. "Everyone always asks that, but these things aren't illegal [in California]." According to the brochure, it's illegal to sell these things in Arkansas and Mississippi.

The food table held deviled eggs, sandwiches, fruit, caramel apples, cakes, desserts, wine, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, potato skins, and spinach-artichoke dip. I wondered how anyone could look at Caron's products with this table so near.

As I munched on a potato skin, one lady asked, "Can we compare some of these products to you?" In my macho voice I said, "Then you wouldn't buy any of these products."

The girls played several games, and it was fun to listen to them laugh and watch them have a good time. There was more laughter when a cell phone went off and played the theme to Sex and the City.

A few times I heard a woman say, "Oh, that's gross." I was tempted to look around the corner to see what it was, but I thought the women would be more relaxed and have more fun if they didn't see a guy standing there taking notes.

A call came in from a woman who was running late. I was handed the phone and asked to give her directions. When she showed up, I told her, "Keep in mind, men aren't just pieces of meat. We have minds. Sometimes we just want to talk about our day. Other times, we might just want to cuddle." She said, "If guys aren't just pieces of meat, my bubble is burst."

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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