I took last semester off to live and work in New York City. A sprawling metropolis of finance bros and artsy vegans, New York City is the one and only place for a 20-something to find themselves, and that is exactly what I did there during my time off. In addition to taking the film industry by storm in my low-level internship, I began working for a sex toy start-up because I honestly have my finger(s) on where our society is heading more than everyone else. It is possible they hired me because I knew someone who knew the CEO, but I think my incredible cultural literacy is a more likely explanation.
“What’s it like working for a start-up?” is a question I ask myself loudly in the Deece so everyone around me can hear. It is, in a word, transcendent. It’s taught me to order my time-sensitive actionables to achieve a productive workflow when I’m ready to execute. I’m pinging collaborators and looping in team members when I’m ready to hand off projects. Projects usually start off at kind of a slow pace, but once things get going they’re exhilarating. It’s thrilling. And it’s on the cutting edge of a multi-billion dollar industry that has no major D2C players appealing to a mass market. In other words, I am the future of sex tech. Or at least the company that pays me $15 an hour is.
Despite all this, working in a taboo industry is hard. First of all, people assume my intimate life is spread wide open for discussion. Everyone thinks I’m super into butt stuff because the company focuses on butt plugs, but my sex life is something I only want to discuss privately on my Instagram, Twitter and when anybody in the College Center asks me in passing how I’ve been. For example, one friend told me to put a plug in it, and while I’m flattered by their interest, I had to let them down easy because I’m just not interested in them like that. Second, since I’m such an expert, everyone asks me their personal questions all the time. It’s truly exhausting to be so knowledgeable. It’s up to me now to fill in the gaps our sex education system leaves—gaps that are wide and deep. I guess someone needs to change the world, and it seems like I’m the only one left to do it since everyone I know is suddenly “too busy” to hang out with me anymore.
One thing feels confusing to me about this, though. As a company specializing in pleasure, we’re supposed to bring people together, but the more I talk about workflow and points of entry in the market, I find myself all by my lonesome. This is mostly fine, since I’m chock-full of work, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m shoving this in my friends’ faces a little too much. When it comes to social interactions, I guess I do insert my work for the sex toy company a little aggressively. I could definitely ease it into the conversation more deliberately—let things settle into a rhythm and then slip it in when we’re all ready for it. Sometimes these subjects are too sensitive and I should back off. I’m just really excited, and it can be hard to be patient in the moment, especially when there is such a huge load…to discuss.
To be clear: if changing the world one butt plug at a time means Deecing alone more often, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Things aren’t always about us, and sometimes finishing something on your own is more satisfying than trying to make it work with a group of friends. Plus I really like working for this start up, and with only five of us I feel valued and taken care of. I love that I get to blow up my Google search with things like the history of condoms for marketing purposes (and for personal trivia knowledge).
For now this is about changing my life more than changing the world, but there cannot be enough spaces for better sex ed and encouraging conversations with partners, but if my friends would just open up and allow the knowledge of all of the amazing opportunities the start-up has to enter them, then I’d have a perfectly healthy work life balance. I don’t mean to drill it into anyone, but it’s pretty awesome to work for a start-up, and if it’s something you want to know more about you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org because I sure would like people to go to the Deece with again. After all, shoving things in your mouth is not as much fun by yourself.