Try Me on for Size
Mia Montanari had never been on an actual blind date before, and knowing her first would end in preplanned sex didn’t ease her anxiety at all. What the hell did I get myself into? And this wasn’t even sex for pleasure. It was a job requirement. One she’d yet to decide was a perk or not.
Not a perk. Definitely not a perk.
Though Mia enjoyed sex with hot guys, she normally liked to get to know them first. She was old-fashioned like that.
The bar was kind of dead for a Friday night. She’d chosen this particular place for its proximity to her apartment. The closer to her place, the less chance she’d have to chicken out. She couldn’t chicken out. There was too much riding on this. She’d have to suck up her anxiety and just do it. Like a machine. A sexual robot.
Mia knew the bouncer at The Red Brick Inn pretty well. If the blind-date guy seemed even the tiniest bit psycho, Thor would throw him right out on his picture-perfect ass.
She had a file for each of her “interviewees,” complete with photos of their naked bodies. After all, she wasn’t just looking for an able penis, she needed a spokesperson for this new venture. And the new venture would require him to be mostly naked.
She checked her phone. Almost a quarter after eight. Where was this guy? Punctuality was huge for her. If he couldn’t be on time for the initial meeting, could he ever be? Men. Mia did not have patience for guys like that, or for many other typical male behaviors. She’d done the dating-go-round and had stepped off, dizzy and ready to vomit. After years of disappointment, she’d given up hope of finding Mr. Right. Now the only man she needed in her life was the one who’d be right for this project.
After a deep breath and a sigh, Mia looked around the bar. Maybe he was there and didn’t see her. She’d told him to look for a woman in a standard-issue Classy ’n’ Sassy Lingerie hot pink hoodie. Hers said Classy across the back. Bryn, her BFF, was the Sassy part of the team. But when she was wearing hot pink, no guy would miss her. And since they only had a handful of interviewees who’d met the prerequisites for the job, they needed to interview every last one. Okay, buddy, you get ten more minutes and then I’m outta here.
As she took another swig of her drink, she thought of Bryn. If the business went belly-up, Mia would survive. She’d be miserable, but she’d survive. The second she found herself jobless, her father would make her work for him. Little in life seemed worse than hawking ridiculously overpriced cars that no sane person needed for a man who’d take glee in controlling her every waking moment, but she’d manage. Bryn? She wouldn’t be okay. It had been almost two years since she and the kids lost Johnny, burying him in a service befitting a fallen soldier, husband, and father.
When the business ran into trouble, Bryn had used her house as collateral. If they failed, Bryn would lose what little she had left. The business meeting three weeks earlier had put it all into perspective.
“Sales are down another 25 percent,” Grant, the accountant and general office manager, had informed the room. “We’ve had this conversation before. You’ve got to do something drastic or we’ll all be out of jobs in six months.”
Bryn just sat there in a daze.
“Did you hear me?” the accounting nerd asked, staring at her, the room silent as his impatience grew. “I can’t help you if you won’t even answer me.”
“She heard you,” Mia said, feeling no need to hide her mama-bear attitude. “We’ll figure it out. You can go now.”
“Whatever,” he’d huffed and stood. “I’ll just go work on my résumé.”
Grant had slammed the break room door behind him, the sound echoing through the silence. Mia scanned the table, Bryn and Penny’s clueless faces staring back.
“Okay. Let’s brainstorm. What can we do to boost sales?” She turned to Penny, their sales slash marketing girl. “What have you got?”
“We’ve already tried everything. We did radio and print. It’s expensive and I can’t find any evidence it’s helped. We did the Valentine’s Day promo with the candy place, but it garnered minimal sales. Right now, people are just not spending money on fancy lingerie.”
Unfortunately, she was right. As co-owner of Classy ’n’ Sassy Lingerie for the last eight years, Mia knew that lingerie was a luxury item. And when people needed to save money, they stopped buying frivolous things.
“Okay, well, what about a direct-mail campaign?” Mia continued. “We can do a free panty coupon like our favorite rival has done for years.”
“Can we really afford to give away hundreds of panties for free with no guarantee people will buy anything else when they stop in? These days, any girl will take a free pair of cute undies, especially with no requirement to buy anything else. And if we make a requirement, well, I think we’re just wasting our time, postcards, and postage.”
The room went silent once again.
“We need a new product,” Bryn said, finally adding to the conversation. “Something different.”
“Different how? Like shapers or something? Those are all the rage.”
“No. I mean really different.” Bryn stood. “We built this business by catering to two kinds of women and their significant others. The ones who like simple and classic bras and panties, and the ones who want something sexier, edgier. We have something to spark the interest of every lover, no matter what his or her tastes are, from beige cotton to red lace. But what about the women who don’t have a man? Or don’t want one?”
“Uh, you kinda lost me,” Mia said.
“Look, I no longer have a husband. And at this point in my life, I honestly have no desire to replace him. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss a certain part of his anatomy every so often, if you know what I mean. Without giving all the dirty details, I have, on occasion, partaken in some . . . self-pleasuring. And so far it hasn’t been all that orgasmic. It’s hard as hell ordering things online. The products are never how they’re described. And it’s not like people love going to their local porn shop. So why don’t we give our customers the opportunity to shop for these beloved intimate accessories in a friendly, comfortable environment?”
“You want to sell vibrators?” Penny asked.
“Well, yes. And other things. But I only want to carry products we know are good.”
“You volunteering to test them out before stocking them?” Mia asked.
“Why not? Our customers have always come to us for quality products and solid advice. That’s what sets us apart! And for this new venture, I want our customers to trust us in helping them satisfy this . . . need.”
Penny jumped in with her thoughts. “We can throw a launch party for the line. Keeping it classy, of course, and show women it’s okay to own these types of things.”
The wheels in Mia’s head began spinning, too. They needed something big if they were going to survive. A line of tried-and-true toys wasn’t enough. They had to offer their customers something exclusive.
“We need something special. Something women can’t get everywhere else.”
Mia remembered an ad she’d seen in the back of a lingerie catalog. A do-it-yourself dildo mold. Any woman could make a rubber replica of her man’s junk to use when he was away.
“How about selling those custom dildo-making kits? Couples can take them home and make it together.”
“That’s good. I think you’re on the right track.” Bryn’s brow furrowed as she walked to the window. “But how many women out there are like me and don’t have a model at home to mold?”
“So, maybe we can find guys to mold. Like have a catalogue of penises or something?”
Bryn spun around, smile wide, eyes all glittery like the new bra-and-panty sets that came in the week before. “No. Just one penis. One guy to be our signature penis. A spokespenis!”
“Oh, I like it!” Penny said. “He can make appearances at the store. Women can buy his replica and get his autograph.”
“Yes. Exactly! A hot guy women can meet and have a face to take home with the toy. They can chat with him, flirt, take pictures.”
“I don’t know,” Mia said, needing to add her thoughts to the conversation. “Is this really what we want for the store? I don’t want to change the reputation we’ve built. We shouldn’t cheapen it, ya know?”
Bryn shook her head. “No. I think women will love it. And if you ask me, it’s time for a change. We need something big if we’re gonna survive. Yeah, it’s a risk, but anything we do now is a risk, including sticking to the same formula we’ve used for eight years.”
She had a point. “Okay. It’s worth a shot. But if we’re gonna do this, we do it right. And by that I mean interviewing legitimate models. I don’t want some random guy who’ll get off on having his penis cloned.”
“No. We’ll have a strict screening process, including references, drug testing . . . STD testing.”
“Yep. All that.” Mia made some notes on her pad. Whoa. Back up. “STD testing? Why would we need that?”
“Well, like I said. We need to test the toys before we sell them. And I’m not going to mold random penises that aren’t any good.”
“How are we gonna test that?”
Mia knew that glint in Bryn’s eyes. And she was not going to like the answer.
“By using it before it’s molded.”
No. No, she couldn’t mean that.
“Someone needs to have sex with the models to make sure their member is adequate.”
“Why? Can’t we tell that just by looking at it?”
“No. Different girths and lengths have different feels. You can’t know how it will feel by just looking, or even touching them with your hand. Only a real live vagina can get the data we need to do this right. We need someone who can do this objectively and make an informed decision. And since Penny is married and Grant can’t do it, that only leaves . . .”
Bryn eyed Mia, the mischievous grin back.
“Oh, no. What about you, Miss Sassy? You’re the one who said the penises need to be tested.”
“I can test the already-made toys. I can’t test the models.”
“Sure you can.”
The smile faded from Bryn’s face. “You know I’m not ready.”
“Well, I am not having sex with random strangers.”
“They wouldn’t be random. They’d be thoroughly screened. I can call legitimate modeling agencies and tell them what we’re looking for. We’ll send them for full health screenings. We’ll select guys for the final round and then you’ll have sex with them. But not real sex. Just test it out and see how it feels from different angles. Make sure it’s thick enough, long enough. Not bent or anything funky.”
“Are we seriously having this conversation?”
Penny sat there, giggling. “I think it’s brilliant.”
“No. I’m not doing it. End of discussion. There has to be another way.”
But it wasn’t the end of the discussion. And there wasn’t another way that would get them the exact data they needed. This venture couldn’t fail. It had to be done without error. And before Mia could argue anymore, Bryn had pulled out the deceased-husband card and the how-am-I-gonna-take-care-of-the-kids-if-the-business-tanks-and-I-lose-my-house card. All it took was Mia envisioning the devastation on Bryn’s face the day of her husband’s funeral. Mia couldn’t say no. That was the one drawback of promising a dear friend she’d forever watch over his wife. Guardian angel reporting for duty.
So there she sat, waiting in a bar for Penis Number One to arrive, take it back to her place, and test out the seven and a half inches of perfection. It was one of only five that had made it through after she, Bryn, and Penny had stared for an hour at head shots of the finalists.
“Pretend you’ve just been dumped by a cheating asshole or something and you’re out to bang every guy you can,” Bryn had told Mia that afternoon, after she’d whined once again about doing the interviews. “Or channel your inner whore and go on a one-night-stand sex spree.”
One more thing to scratch off Mia’s nonexisting dating bucket list. She’d never done it with a guy she’d just met that day.
Another check of her cell phone for the time. Twenty after eight. Maybe this guy Ryan wouldn’t show and she’d only have to test out four meticulously screened penises. One could hope, right?