Until very recently, motorists traveling along Leesburg Pike in Falls Church and shoppers at MVC Late Night Video, a sex shop that sits on that road’s busiest stretch, were blissfully unaware of each other.
Thanks to thick black tint that darkened MVC’s large front windows, folks looking for the latest adult DVDs, magazines, and sex toys could browse without fear of someone they know driving by and seeing them. Drivers could chug right past the nondescript building and pretend the place was just a regular ol’ video store that happened to stay open very, very late.
But a couple of months ago, the tint came off, and all of that changed. Drive by MVC today, and you’ll see a clear window filled with mannequins dressed in lingerie, as well as rows and rows of DVDs. The store is separated from the street by a small service road, so you won’t get close enough to get a good look at the cover of, say, Team Squirt #10, but you might be able to make out the face of the person thinking about buying it.
An employee who declined to give his name says the removal of the tint was a strategic move to make the sex shop seem less shady and “more friendly to couples and women.”
“With the tint, it made it look worse than what it is,” he explains. “So, we took it off and put the lingerie up front so women drive by and can see it’s like Victoria’s Secret.”
MVC isn’t exactly like Vickie’s. The lingerie at MVC is a bit more tawdry and, well, Victoria’s Secret doesn’t sell butt plugs the size of traffic cones. But the employee insists that more women visit now that they can see the place isn’t crowded with creepy guys in trenchcoats. He says a lady friend who lives in the area and never would’ve come in before is now a regular.
Still, what about the establishment’s base—the guys who like to sneak in on their lunch break and pick up a little porn without anyone knowing?
“Some guys may have preferred it, but this isn’t a porn store that needs tinted windows, it’s a sex shop for men, women, and couples,” the employee insists.
A survey of customers at the MVC today revealed that few of them had even noticed the change to the building. Most of them grunted some form of “didn’t see it ,” so either their attentions were, understandably, not on the building’s remodel during their visit, or they just didn’t feel like chatting up some woman standing outside of their favorite sex shop holding a notebook.
Only one man, a staunch opponent of the new look, stopped to express his outrage…on his way inside.
“They’ve gotta put the tint back—people wanna keep their business on the low-low,” he says. “And you don’t want a co-worker driving by like, ‘I know that person,’ and then saying, “Hey I saw you at MVC on your lunch break!’ They gotta put the tint back.”
The anonymous employee says the store has gotten a few more community complaints than usual since the curtain came down (“Don’t you know there’s a school nearby,” is a typical one, he says), but the store’s neighboring businesses don’t really seem upset by the change.
Sam, a manager at City Diner, across the street, says the new look is “nicer.” “You can see the girls, the mannequins, with their stuff on—it’s nice, you should be able to see that,” he says. So no complaints from families who frequent his eatery and now have a pretty clear view of MVC’s interior? “No way—what’s better than sitting down and having a hamburger and seeing some nice lingerie?” he says.