Of course, the world’s corporations wanted a piece of the most popular sporting event on the planet, the World Cup of soccer, now being contested in Germany. Big name sponsors like Philips, MasterCard and Budweiser are there and you can buy all kinds of licensed products like colorful hats and scarves — the Euro-version of our big foam “Number 1” hand.
One endorsement deal that wasn't, however, made news a few weeks ago. It seems the German sex shop chain, Beate Uhse came out with Ollie K and Michael B vibrators and a David B dildo. To anyone who knows soccer, it appeared as if stars Oliver Khan, Michael Ballack and David Beckham had lent their names to a line of sex toys.
They hadn’t. After a minor blitz of publicity and a threat of a lawsuit, Beate Uhse dropped the names.
But fear not! The World Cup has still generated a new phenomenon in sports — one we’ll probably see linked to every major international event from now on — the sex product tie-in. And why not? If Viagra can sponsor a NASCAR team, why can’t, say, Manchester United sign off on love balls?
The love balls, used for vaginal stimulation, are out there, shaped like little soccer balls and available from a variety of European and Latin American sex shops. You can buy them for 60 reals in Brazil, and about 5 euros in Italy, Holland, the UK and Germany.
Never want to be too far away from soccer strategy, no matter what else you may be doing? How about the Dolly Dolphin Football edition vibrator selling from at least one German sex shop for 49.80 euros. The Xs and Os and lines of player movements are inscribed along the shaft so you can really, um, internalize the game.
Looking for great sports movies like “Knute Rockne, All American,” or “Pride of the Yankees?” That’s covered, too, with World Cup porn DVDs like “Shoot for the Goal” available from a French shop (with a promise of Un match hyper hard dans un monde sportif corrompu et perverti!), and “Dream Team Holland!” Judging from the cover box — always the most reliable way to know what’s inside — there are women, and there are soccer balls, and there are soccer jerseys that aren’t worn much. Bound to be a classic.
By the way, in case you’re not a fan of the Dutch, you can also choose from Dream Team Italia, Dream Team Deutschland and Dream Team Espana. Isn’t it great how sports brings people together?
Of course, it can also drive people apart, especially husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends. Actually, I know a few female soccer fans who are more rabid than most guys, but men do get carried away sometimes and neglect the women in their lives, especially during the World Cup, which has already run for two weeks and will run for a little over two weeks more.
So British sex shop Love Honey is offering the Women’s Football Survival Kit for L8.99. It contains red and yellow cards labeled with male sins, a whistle and a TV remote control jammer, which, if it actually works, may well be grounds for divorce.
Better, I think, to relieve your frustrations with Love Honey’s World Cup Victory Vibe, a small bullet vibrator decorated with the red English Cross of St. George. It’s L9.99. The store also sells Durex England Supporter World Cup Condoms which are, well, just a variety of condoms, but hey, labeling is everything.
Apparently European sex shops anticipated a big market for vibrators during the cup. One French online shop, Sexy Avenue, opens its site with a single large photo of a golden vibrator shaking back and forth under the slogan “vibrating during the world cup is not just reserved for men.” A woman’s diamond engagement ring sits on the table. Hmmm. A statement of “Who needs men?”
Many shops online are selling wearable candy bikini tops, panties and male pouches in a variety of national colors. Presumably, this is ideal for half-time snacking, but I prefer the Brazilian World Cup tanga bikini bottoms offered by at least one Brazilian online shop. My preference is not just because the blonde modeling it has lost her top, perhaps to premature snacking, but because tangas are a true national uniform in Brazil. Besides, at 16.40 reals, it’s a steal.
As you might expect, clothing is a big part of displaying your fan cred. Those latex and PVC fetishists out there don’t want to be left out, so German fetish supplier Marquis is offering cheerleader uniforms in styles you won’t see at my alma mater, for 55 euros.
One of my favorites, because I can’t imagine many guys would use it in a soccer stadium, is the Trillerpfeife in penisform, or penis-shaped whistle available for 2.95 euros from a large German shop, which, like Beate Uhse, has its own special section of World Cup-related fussball merchandise.
If you are tired of the World Cup hoopla, for example, the store offers a way to display your disgust. Eight euros buys you a T-shirt instructing viewers to F**ken statt kicken. The first and last words rhyme. Kicken, as you might expect, means kicking and statt means “instead of.”
In fact, the shop sells an entire “instead of football” kit that includes condoms, plush handcuffs, open-crotch underwear, the afore-mentioned love balls and an energy drink to keep him going, all for 16.95 euros.
All this stuff is fun, but seriously, it may be a good idea to take the rabid fan’s mind off the games for a little while.
Over the past few days I have heard at least four times the famous quote by an English coach who said something like “football is not a matter of life and death, it’s much more important than that.”
For some guys, that’s no joke.
During the 1986 World Cup, an English doctor reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine that one of his patients developed a rash on his arms, legs and trunk after watching England lose a match to Portugal. Four days later the rash came back — this time after England's poor performance against Morocco. The diagnosis: "rash apparently caused by the frustration of watching England play football."
Now there's a guy who might have benefited from a little action off the field.
Brian Alexander, a California-based freelance writer and contributing editor for Glamour magazine, is working on a new book about sex for Harmony, an imprint of Crown Publishing.
Sexploration appears every other Thursday.