Running a sex show is a double-edged sword, but sometimes a person has to … ahem … bare the brunt of misconceptions.
Under the dim hue of lights in Spacco Restaurant, Bathurst and Lawrence area resident Mikey Singer shares some of the side effects of being vice-president and manager of the Everything To Do With Sex Show, held Oct. 18-20 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
“(The name) draws attention, but sometimes it draws the wrong kind of negative attention,” he said, relaxing in a booth by several tan velvet pool tables. “People think, porno, porno, porno and it’s not the crowd.”
The 34-year-old grew up in Toronto, attending Northern Secondary School, Forest Hill Collegiate and City Academy. He candidly admits he wasn’t a strong student, but the vocational blue pill for him soon manifested in the form marketing.
“I had always enjoyed marketing, from the time I worked in the family shoe store, just talking to people, doing sales, being creative,” he said, adding his kin’s business was Joe Singer Shoes, which recently shuttered operations. “I had gone to Seneca College for marketing administration, and after doing marketing across the country I wanted to do something more stable, and really, what better thing to do, coming out of college, than work for a sex show?”
After working the ticket sales and info booth, he’s worked his way up to the executive suite.
Still, during his single days he had some trouble trying to convince the parents of potential girlfriends that he isn’t the lecherous type.
“Parents of girlfriends in the past weren’t too enthused with it,” he admits.
The girls themselves, though, took it in stride, he says.
“When I was out there on the dating scene, some girls would be into me and then I would tell them what I would do and they’d automatically assume that I’m a porn director,” he said, with a laugh. “It goes both ways, but you know what, for the most part, like it is with the name, it’s a pretty positive experience.
“Most girls are laughing, most girls want to know stuff, most girls immediately assume I know everything there is to know about toys and want to talk to me about it.”
When he talks about toys, he’s not referring to Tonka trucks and Barbie dolls, although with some of the names associated with the doodads one would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
There’s a mischievous glimmer in his eyes, but he emphasizes that the more sex toys become mainstream, the less seedy the places one has to go to purchase them.
“As the consumer becomes more educated, their demands for a higher quality toy changes the industry,” he says. “So instead of a $20 toy being sold at the XXX video store with wallpaper on the front, it’s a high-end Love Shop selling it in the window with lingerie, a female-friendly staff.”
It doesn’t hurt when big-name celebrities break down walls and endorse sex toys.
“As toys take a mainstream hold — things like the We-Vibe showing up on Oprah,” Singer said, with a guffaw. “Twenty years ago you would have never seen Oprah hold up a dildo and say, ‘This is a must have’.”
Good vibes aside, Singer admitted he’s learned plenty about sex and relationships, realizing everyone goes through tender spots.
His wife-to-be, Lara Rootenberg, is not turned off by his occupation, he says. (They’ve set a wedding date for Aug. 31, 2014.)
“So she knew going in, with open eyes, this is what I do, it’s a job for me, and it’s not a lifestyle,” he said, adding she laid out his clothes for the interview.
But their relationship is more than who’s dressing whom.
“I think the No. 1 thing I’ve taken out of (the show) is you really need to focus on yourselves as a couple, to make sure that you have a long-lasting relationship — and it’s work,” he said. “Every relationship isn’t easy and it won’t be in the honeymoon stage forever.
“You’re always going to need to put into it what you want out of it.”
Rootenberg certainly benefits from the perks.
“She’s got the best toy chest that anyone could ever possibly imagine,” he said. “She also gets lots of tickets to things, and she really enjoys it, as I enjoy her job.”
Rootenberg works as a food developer.
“She gets me the best food ever!” Singer laughs.
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