Feb 2018. Updated and Republished April '2019
Meet Candy Chan. A working mother, stylist in intimate lifestyle shop and resident of Sheung Wan.
She always struck me by her friendly face with a disarming smile. We've met each other a couple of times at our kid's school and exchanged pleasantries. I wanted to get to know her better and take rendezvous for the interview at her shop in central.
Curious by nature, I’ve been to some red-light area shops in Europe and felt amused at the loud, sexually explicit, kinky contraptions on sale. Yet, this time I enter the shop felling a bit sceptical. From the back of the shop comes Candy to say Hello, dressed casually smart in all black - and her smile. I take a couple of minutes to study the shop, my eyes wondering at all the stuff on sale. This shop did look a lot different….not gory or lewd as I remembered. I feel instantly at ease.
My eyes rest upon a locket with a fashionable pendent which is totally my style. “It is a vibrator”, says Candy with a smile. Back in the old days the toys looked very explicit…looked like a penis for example. Now, we understand that giving pleasure to the body starts with the eyes. Packaging is important”. I feel myself nod in agreement.
She takes me through some of the gadgets and their particularities in a very professional manner. “Sex is like food, it’s essential. If you think like that Sex is not a taboo any more. Everyone has a different preference in regard to sex; Just like for food. If you’re hungry you won’t wait for someone, to cook you a good meal. You’ll hopefully take care of it yourself. Also, If you haven’t tried a specific cuisine you won’t be able to tell someone what you really like. We are helping the society be sex positive. To see sex in a positive non-taboo light.”
She continues, “With my 9 y and 11 y old boys there is no taboo in speaking about sex. They come to see me often at work and naturally ask questions. Today, I believe we have smart kids. It is easiest to explain things to them in the right words and keep in mind the age appropriateness of it all”.
“Talking about her kids takes us to her hood – Sheung wan, where both of them were born. “I love how it is safe and international with the locals interacting a lot with the non-locals. It has its own personality- during the day it is busy as it is commercial but during the night time it transforms into a quiet residential, family oriented one. And what I like best about Sheung wan, but actually Sai wan - is that it is such a beautiful mix of the old and the new. Small typically local shops intermingle with high rises and trendy outlets. In my view, we have been able to successfully conserve old buildings, temples and shops which probably is less obvious is other neighborhoods.”
Candy considers herself lucky as she knows her neighbors and talks regularly to them. In part it is because of her outgoing personality but not only. “When u have young kids, striking conversations is very easy” She adds.
On my way back, I smile thinking about a great conversation I'd just had with this progressive Hong Kong mom :-)