Last summer I was at a cottage with a guy who had a few minor mental issues rolled up into one awesome condition that he seemed to have harnessed into its full potential. The first time I met him he pushed his balls into his stomach as a party trick before he got hopped up on a bunch of acid and, totally naked, crashed a Sea-Doo into a shallow pond of reeds. For the sake of anonymity, I'm going to call him Arnold Swiles.
Anyway, while we were sitting around Arnold drew me a diagram of this sex machine he built that turned a pool noodle into his own secret wonderland. The little doodle of a squiggly guy pointing at himself in the mirror while fucking a foam plunger was burned into my mind for weeks. Eventually, my unanswered questions became unbearable, and I had to hop on the ol' laptop machine for an extended Skype interview with Arnold to find out about the science that goes into making a foam vagina.
Vice: How did you come up with the pool noodle idea?
Arnold: I wanted to make something for extracurricular activities. I had tried things before that I heard about from friends... and that Sunday night sex show too. They have a lot of callers talking about ways to get down by yourself, and one was with a mattress, a paper towel tube, and a condom.
Did you try those more traditional methods first?
Yeah, and I looked for other materials around the house but I never really found anything. The last place I looked was the garage, and that's where I found the pool noodle. I thought, "Oh wow, that's got a nice texture to it.”
So it called out to you?
OK, then what did you do?
I cut it up while I was on the can taking a shit so no one would ask me what the fuck I was doing. I was shoving a condom into this thing, and then I saw the plunger and one thing led to another. I think I was plunging the condom into the slit with the plunger and I thought, "Ahh fucking hell! I could stick this to the mirror.” And that's pretty much it.
How long ago was this?
Probably five or six years ago.
And you've been violating pool noodles ever since?
No, I think I only had one pool noodle and making that contraption takes about a third of it. So I think I only did it two or three times because I didn't want my parents to be like, "What the fuck are you doing to all our pool noodles?"
Let’s go back to the actual process of this thing. Step by step.
You cut off a third of the noodle--a comfortable size. You know, when I started the noodles didn't have holes, but now they do, as if they make them with this operation in mind--but if it doesn't have holes you take a big butcher knife, like two or three inches thick because it's pretty thick material [laughs]... listen to me. Then you take a condom and use a plunger to stick it in the hole along with some some lube. Then cut a slit in the other end, put a plunger on it, and stick it to a mirror. Go all American Psycho on it, poke and point.
I guess a big part of the appeal of this machine is that you are able to watch yourself.
And pinch both your nipples at the same time.
Let’s get into that stuff. Why do you like to be able to watch yourself?
I don't know. It's not something I ever did a lot... honest to God I used to do it about five times a year. It's just neat, you know? Why do couples put mirrors on the ceiling? Why do we all watch porn? It's fun.
Let's go back to the nipple thing.
Well, you know, that's just something I do to get into the part a bit more. I just flick it around. That's just to get started and then I go from there.
Fair enough. You say you only do it five times a year, when was the last time?
It was probably four or five years ago. Pretty spaced out. It does work, but it's a lot to dispose of. I'd love to just throw it in the corner to have it ready to go, but you can't have that stuff lying around when your mom’s picking up things. Don't want her finding your pool noodle cut in half.
What's the cleanup like after you finish?
It's actually easier than some other methods because I use a condom, so I can just throw that out and I'm only left with a quarter of a pool noodle with a really crude hole in it.
Are you able to re-use the pool noodle? Or is it annihilated afterward?
That's the thing, it would be a perfect device if you were comfortable enough leaving it lying around. It'll last you a lifetime. Lifetime warranty on that.
Don't you tear the noodle--the foam one--up pretty good?
No, they're really tough, actually. I don't know if you've ever tried to rip one in half or take a bite out of one, but they are really resilient.
No, I've never tried to take a bite out of a pool noodle.
You've never tried that?
Not yet, Arnold.
Oh yeah, they're tough. It's not just regular foam, it's tough shit.
Who was the first person you told about this after you made it?
Can you explain Ben a bit for people who don't know us?
He's a guy who, if anyone mentioned titties, drugs, or anything low brow, he would just giggle and loose his shit laughing. He's always liked that kind of stuff. If you can put that stuff into something creative, he gets an even bigger kick out of it. I knew I had this thing just lying in the garbage, never to be seen again. I couldn't let it go out like that--it had to be documented somehow. I drew quite a nice illustration and emailed it to him along with instructions on how to use it. From then on, every chance we get at a party we get a paper and a pen and draw it up and everyone laughs. Some people go "Ahhh, you freak!" But most people say, "How's it feel? What's it like?”
How does it feel?
It's good. It's got a good pivot. The plunger has a good pivot.
I would imagine, it's very flexible material.
You can really move about. Again though, it's not something that I need, it's not like, “I really need a pool noodle today.” I haven't made them in years, but its definitely worth a go.
Where do you live right now?
With my parents. In my parents basement. Same place I lived at the time.
It must be awkward fucking this pool noodle in your parent’s house?
No, not awkward.
How would you describe the experience then?
It's fun in the making and in action. It's a large item... so what do you do with it afterward? You want to hold onto it but you don't want to buy it breakfast or anything. You kind of think "Maybe I'll keep this thing around for another go, but then you're like "Fuck it, it's garbage day tomorrow, I have to put this in the can.”
Have you ever had any close calls while using it?
You're always pretty careful?
Yeah, I've got a loud fan in my washroom.
Wouldn't that also prevent you from hearing people coming?
Yeah, but there's a lock. I hit the shower too.
What are your thoughts on the Fleshlight?
Overpriced and lacking in suction cups at the end. They really are overpriced. I guess it would be fun for someone who doesn't know how to make things. Or doesn't enjoy making things.
What was your favorite thing about the pool noodle?
I think it was being able to put both hands on my hips while I worked. Also, as soon as I had an orgasm, it was nice to be able to just sigh and have a quick cleanup.
Do you have any ideas for the future? Are there any other sex machines you plan on building?
I've steered away from them. It's better just to jerk off.
Photos by Studio Gallery