The Hustler store on Elm Street fits the downtown business district like a stripper at a bankers' board meeting. But it gets less attention. That's the problem.
Most people walk by with hardly a glance at the store-window mannequins that look about as erotic as life-size Barbie dolls in Mr. Fredericks pajamas. I guess there's just not a big demand for S&M whips and leather handcuffs among the business crowd - which is sort of surprising considering the way some offices are managed.
On the day I visited, the two clerks and the inflatable "escorts" outnumbered the three furtive customers. And that means the king of Hustler, Larry Flynt, is not getting what he craves: kinky ink and obscene outrage.
So the Hustler store has reverted to selling videos. Stacks and racks of videos, such as Sex Island, Desert Heat, Carnal Witness (which is not about Quakers), ClubTropiXXX, and Bad Penny, which is not about coin collectors.
I did not review any of these "films," but even a quick glance at the covers would lead any reasonable adult to surmise that they violate a May 12, 1999, Hamilton County court order in which Larry and Jimmy Flynt, their Hustler store and their lawyers, all agreed "to remove immediately, all existing videos from Hustler News & Gifts ... and will not in the future disseminate, or cause to be disseminated, any sexually explicit videos in Hamilton County, Ohio."
When the store was busted by the sheriff last month for selling X-rated videos, Jimmy Flynt said, "I think this is a personal vendetta."
It may indeed be a personal vendetta - by the Flynts. Why else would they violate their own plea bargain and re-trigger an indictment that could cost them fines of $7,500 per video?
Hustler Vice President Dustin Flynt told me, "We're healing the community" by selling "therapeutic, instructional videos."
Such as Bikini Madness and Jamaica Me Horny.
The Hustler store reminds me of one of those ridiculous cookbooks, 1,000 Ways to Make Sauerkaut.
They have "Bondage Tape: The ultimate fetish accessory. Ties, bonds, gags and mummifies."
There's a "Heavy Petting" glove that looks like a car-washing mitt made out of gorilla fur: "For adventurous couples."
They have sauerkraut pizza, sauerkraut ice cream, sauerkraut pancakes and videos of strangers who just can't get enough sauerkraut. But still, it's all just sauerkraut, which is no substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.
Maybe, just maybe, the Hustler crowd wouldn't get bored and waste all that time dreaming up all those unappetizing recipes and pickled-cabbage fantasies if they weren't spending waaaaaay too much time thinking about sauerkraut.
Here's the naked truth: The Flynts and their lawyers copped a plea bargain and paid $10,000 in fines in 1999 because they were about to get hammered for stinking up downtown like a sauerkraut factory in a hotel lobby.
And now the Flynts and their lawyers and supporters are whining that it's unfair.
Maybe there's a good use for that pink Bondage Tape after all.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 768-8301.
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