Or, “CatalystCon: where children teethe on cock rings and I shake the hand of the man who invented one of the best dildos in history“
Strange how quickly life goes back to normal, even if “normal” means talking about dildos all day. It’s just depressing not being physically surrounded by like-minded people. That’s saying something, for an introvert like me.
It probably goes without saying that I had an epic time, but as I adjust back to my default life, there’s this weird sensation that the whole weekend almost didn’t happen. Which is why I must preserve it, if even in a scattered blog post.
The hotel was, overall, pretty great. The bed was SUPER comfortable (two styles of pillow to choose from), the window was huge and made me feel like Doctor Eggman, the body products smelled good (orange ginger, how did you know?!) and the bar had some swanky areas to hang out in. Some of the conference rooms were ungodly cold, though, and I had to pay for internet in my room. WHY AM I REVIEWING THE HOTEL. I’m insatiable!
Rather than write something actually cohesive or exhaustive, I’m going to preserve my sanity and present you with a list of some of the amazing, hilarious, and heartwarming things that happened to me during Catalyst. I jotted a lot of it down during my return flight so I wouldn’t forget, because it’s all the little moments that made the experience so wonderful.
- I feel like this should go first: Carol Queen’s partner, Robert Morgan Lawrence, told me he reads my blog.1
- Sandra from SheVibe bought me drinks, and she is just as feisty and lovable as I imagined. Never hesitate to shop with them, you guys. They’re really good people.
- Joan Price followed me into the bathroom to make sure this tweet was okay with me. Emphatic YES. In fact, I already put it on my “about” page.
- The consensus is that my name is pronounced epi-FOR-a. with an emphasis on the “for.” Numerous online pronunciations endorse my way, eh-PIFF-er-a, but I’m starting to wonder if I should alter my brain.
- No matter how cool you think Tantus is, they’re exponentially cooler. I was really gooey on Metis a few times, which I am not even going to apologize for. That woman is a boss. As is the incomparable Jenna.
- Tristan Taormino’s Sex Educator Boot Camp was life-changing. I have a whole list of things to do on this blog thanks to it. If you have a chance to attend this ever, do not pass it up.
- Had a lot of fun with my new friend Kayla, who made me laugh and graciously taught me how to order my coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Also, I single-handedly took her from “I want a Pure Wand, but they’re too expensive” to buying one, using it, and soaking hotel room towels in less than 48 hours. GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
- Speaking of the Pure Wand: I missed Dirty Bingo… because I was too busy shooting the shit with njoy Greg. Priorities.
- Ran into Cooper from Life on the Swingset, who said he sends his toy reviewers to my 15 rules for writing a sex toy review that doesn’t royally suck (!). We compared our Converse and discussed how to best clean them, like you do.
- Watched Crista’s child teethe on a Tantus C-Ring. If one can teethe casually, that little guy definitely did.
- Tobi Hill-Meyer and I commiserated about what happens to us when we lack motivation, reminding me that even awesome people who do awesome work struggle with the same shit I do.
- Wore all of Lorax’s bat things (cape, pillow, stuffed animals) while brainstorming and giggling in her room late at night. That is all I can tell you… for now.
- Dylan Ryan was just straight chillin’ in various locations as I walked around. As small and insular as our community can be, it makes everyone so accessible and human. (I was still too nervous to talk to her, though.)
- Mused on some CineKink shorts with a dude whose name tag read simply “sex-positive feminist.” I told him to get on Twitter, so, GET ON IT DUDE.
I’m sure others will write about the incredible sessions that took place, because they were incredible (I have SO MANY notes), and I’m still updating my Cataslyst highlight tweets list, but what really sealed the deal for me was all the interactions with people. There were times, sure, when I felt like just a lowly sex blogger. I am not sure if I identify with the “sex educator” label like others do, simply because it feels like a lot of responsibility. But the sentiment of so many presenters — that all of us matter, that we all have something to contribute to the world — is the best takeaway.
It’s possible that I should’ve done this years ago. Very possible. But I also feel that this was the right moment. Years ago, I didn’t have this confidence, this sense that what I’m doing is worthwhile. Now I do, and Catalyst only strengthened those beliefs. It does feel a bit like a turning point — taking what’s been, for so long, something that mostly only existed on the internet, and transferring it into the world. And now, I really think I’m hooked.
- Sure, it’s because of all the times he’s stuck in bed with nothing better to do, but STILL. [↩]