Beyoncé Browsing Dildos
Queen Bey masters the erotics of surveillance
The day after Christmas last year was brick. It was one of those totally frozen but clear New York days, the sun occasionally peeking out from behind a patchwork of steel grey, Brillo pad clouds. Sometime after what I imagine was a languid brunch that day, in the afternoon, Jay Z and Beyoncé walked into a high end sex boutique on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She was wearing a grey hoodie, hood up and eyes down. In real life, Beyoncé is smaller than the colossus of her persona would betray. The Queen knows how to move in public without attracting unwanted attention to herself. Like every interaction she has with the public, it was controlled and she was the one controlling it. Hova, not so much. It’s not that Jay Z can’t don a hoodie, it’s just that as we well know, a hoodie does nothing to make a six foot two Black man blend in. A friend with enviable timing happened to be at the same sex boutique, and would later recount Jay’s “tree-like” presence that day, recounting the story to me. He did, however, have a fitted on – Brooklyn brim, and eyes sitting low as hell.
They walked in standing slightly apart and stayed that way the entire time. They didn’t touch really, though they laughed back and forth with one another and cracked jokes with the employees on the floor. The crazy thing is, no one else shopping that day noticed what was going on. It’s just, I mean, if Beyoncé and Jay Z strolled in and started browsing dildos in your proximity, you’d notice right? Talk about throwing away your shot! (Cue the soundtrack to hit broadway musical, Hamilton).
So, the Royal couple browsed mostly unseen except for by the employees of the store who by now have caught on and flocked to the area where the two most conspicuous shoppers are perusing sex toys. What is it about Bey and Jay as a couple that draws us to them? I mean, they’re Black royalty, we reflexively dub her “the Queen” whenever we speak of her, and we can’t help but beam when they’re in the presence of the Obamas. They’re the walking embodiment of Black love – yes, in all its messiness and fraught performativity, and like the Obamas, they move within a register of Black ambition and power foreclosed to most of us. Perhaps it’s aspirational, perhaps it’s respectable, but it’s certainly enjoyable to witness. And it was made all the more enjoyable when Jay proceeded to put down $6,000 in 18K gold-plated sex toys for his wife. He bought a gold-plated vibrator and dildo, and a bunch of lube to facilitate things. Black Love Matters (Black Orgasms Matter, too).