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Ian Squibb TYOK Prowler
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a Soho sex shop manager

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…according to Ian Squibb, 38.

Being around sex all day is actually a real turn-off

‘When I very first started at Prowler, I was in the back room a lot where the porn plays, and it literally ruined sex for me. All day long, you’re watching people at it. Sometimes you’re in there your whole shift, which can be nine or ten hours, and we only change the movies once a week, so it’s the same scenes going round on repeat. You can get very desensitised.’

Companies have a novel way of shrugging off responsibility

‘The manufacturers of sex toys put a disclaimer on them which says “for novelty use only”. That’s their way of getting out of it if someone does do themselves a mischief. They can say: “Oh, we didn’t actually tell you to stick it inside you: it’s just a novelty.”’

People can be even more brazen than you’d guess...

‘One year during Pride, someone got rimmed in the doorway of the store and someone else got sucked off in one of the sale rails. One of our staff members went mad and they got moved on very quickly. Also, a customer once asked for a dildo shaped like a dog’s cock. Apparently they do exist, but we don’t stock them.’

...but it can be a surprisingly sweet job

‘You always think a sex shop is going to be this seedy place where no one talks to each other, but we’re so open and so helpful to people, and I like that. I always say to people: Come back and let me know if something’s worked for you. And they do.’

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