Back in March when it was cold outside, S. circulated an article in the Washington Post
to me that we thought was very amusing. It was about how a sex store was opening in Old Town, despite the histrionics and aneurisms of the local high hats. This was just amusing. The shop also got coverage in the Alexandria Gazette (one of the oldest newspapers in the country).
However, I’ve also had some bad experiences ordering online. I’ve ordered toys that ended up being too big, or not of a good material, not because they were badly advertised, but just because it’s hard to gauge these things online. There are times that you want to see merchandise, especially something like a hood or a piece of clothing, and there are times that you want to get an idea of the size and quality of a toy.
Leather Rack at Dupont Circle used to be my venue of choice. They were always better than Pleasure Place. But they also focused heavily on a gay male clientèle. The last time I was in Leather Rack, all I could say was “it looks like the recession has hit them hard.” They seemed to be focusing on a few lines of stock and had very little general merchandise. It’s possible they’re just narrowing focus as well, but…they fell a good bit on my list of “places to shop.”
That left me feeling as I had for a while that the only place to go for toys was Passional in Philadelphia. They’re a great store, but also about a 5 hour round trip from DC, and I simply don’t get through Philadelphia as much as it seems I used to.
Which left me a little high and dry. So this weekend at the end of a weekend trip I ended up in Old Town Alexandria for dinner with J. We were functionally broke at the end of a weekend, and mostly window shopping, when she noticed a toy store. I really figured it would be the standard run for a suburban lingerie store. Racks and racks of flimsy, poorly made, babydoll negligees; a rack of Doc Johnson vibes; and a little chained room in the back with a paltry stall of a few very basic toys.
This turned out not to be the case…
Le Tache compares favorably to some of the best stores I visited in San Francisco. At three levels, you don’t realize right away how awesome it is, because the *kinky* stuff is in the back. Not in a little side room though. Half the basement and all the upstairs are given over to equipment.
And not just a few vibes. They have a really thorough lineup of just about every vibrator you could imagine. I won’t say it’s as big as the biggest online stores, but I have never seen as much equipment on the walls at one time, and the displays cover a huge wall and straggle upstairs and downstairs. It’s a really tremendous selection.
They have a big selection of the fucking machines you can see at JT’s Stockroom (which provides most of the stock I think) or Kink.com, cases of electrical play toys, cages…I was obscenely impressed.
And the atmosphere was friendly and clean. I think despite the protests it speaks to the fact that BDSM is becoming mainstream. When my mother operated a Lingerie store, I think it would have been a given that if a customer turned a corner and saw piston-driven fucking machines a la Kink.com, they would run away. It’s clear that the average girl on the street today is not particularly freaked out by walking into a place that sells armbinders, or TENS units, and isn’t likely to walk out even if all the stock is not something they’d want to play with.
The place is healthy and I like that. For all my perversions, I feel like at core WIITWD is something people should not be ashamed of, and that should be found in a boutique in Old Town, not just a run down building in a scary back section of town.
So…Washington (the area if not the city) once again has a really first rate Kink-Store.
The only negative I’ll say is that compared to dealer prices at events, even by stores, some of the higher end items had a steep markup. But Old Town isn’t a cheap district. On the other hand, there is a metal plug that I’ve been wanting for months but couldn’t find on a shelf without going to Philadelphia. Le Tache carried the same toy in a friendlier modern silicone of some sort for $15. I may eventually get the metal plug but they were easy on the budget at the end of a weekend, and I like the idea of being able to experiment before laying down better than $100 for a toy.
Give them your business or shop online…if you’re in Washington and want to see the quality of what you are buying, Le Tache is an excellent choice.