Sex shop hype seemingly unwarranted

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 2004

Take a deep breath. Relax. Now tell me if the social fabric of the city is in a free fall with the opening of the sex shop in the West end shopping center. I am not Catholic despite the best wishes of all the Italians here in Naples. More than 95% of the Italians are Catholic and I guess that has something to do with the Pope being here with his pope mobile and all. Off track again, sorry.

Heck, despite my most strenuous protesting, many at Eureka Baptist in Corapeake might say I ain’t even a protestant based upon my cutting the grass and drinking beer at the same time right out in public view. Regardless here is my confession and I’ll say a few Hail Marys at the end.

I visited Suffolk 3 times in the last 4 months for various reasons and each time I was home I asked about various changes to the community. My sister, father, brother in law and various nieces all indicated varying degrees of not much. A little embarrassed I avoided asking outright if they had been to visit the new store in town. Yes you know the one I am talking about. During my visit in March with my wife, I couldn’t get anyone to give me an unsolicited comment. During my visit in May to see my daughter graduate from Gates County High School, I couldn’t beat the bush enough to get them to throw out a comment about the Black Hole of Evil. When I visited in June for a training class on Crane Operations and safety, I asked if anyone wanted to get breakfast at Hardee’s at my treat.

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Finally we drive by and I just happen to notice that weird little shop over there! What in the world is that? Is that the store the legal wrangling was over? Why it doesn’t look at all like I imagined it might. Comments from everyone fly about in the rental car. Mostly joking about the perceived threat by the city old timers being much overstated. Still curious I fly back to Italy expecting to read further about that den of temptation in the online version of the paper at a later date.

Well unexpectedly I have to fly home in July to deal with revisions to my child support amount. I mentioned my daughter graduated. No longer on the radar screen as my appetite for news about the store had been dampened by our drive-by the previous month, I ask about happenings in the city. Wham! My relatives have visited the very store that I previously couldn’t get them to acknowledge. Hey uncle Dave, you should visit it before you condemn it! Condemn it? Me? I just try to keep the discussion open, let others pick the sides.

Well these family members (names have been changed to protect their reputations) refused to let it go… I decided to go. Yep. I visited &uot;The Store&uot;. Wasn’t any Big Deal. Pretty much the stuff you would expect. Pretty much not the kind of stuff most people would want in their homes or near their children but then again……….versus having my 3-year-old carry around a gun or having my teenager visit a nudist park, maybe it really isn’t that much of a stretch. I’ll just say; &uot;Been there, done that&uot;. What’s the next perceived crisis?

David Forsythe is a former Suffolk resident. He currently resides in Naples, Italy.