Some hanging phallic objects, though not the ones in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Flickr user D. C. Atty
Earlier this week, we learned that someone in Portland, Oregon, has been hanging hundreds of dildos from the city's power lines. On Thursday, VICE heard from the person responsible for the phallic prank, who says it's part of a much larger sex-toy offensive and that she plans to continue tying together the rubber penises and tossing them around town.
"We're nowhere near done," said the 20-something dildo-distribution artist, a recent college graduate and retail worker who asked not to be named in part out of concern that police might not appreciate the prank—and in part because she doesn't want her name to be forever linked to sex toys on the internet.
Two leading online rumors—that a sex toy store was responsible for tossing their discarded dildos around town, and that a documentary filmmaker did it as part of a publicity stunt—are both false, according to the dildo mischief maker.
"It had to be done. I have no idea why, but it had to," she told VICE. "Dick-tossing is an exercise in happiness. It was just a fun, hilarious thing to do."
She claims she and a group of friends came into possession of more than 10,000 rejected dildos and other sex toys from a commercial manufacturer that was unable to sell them thanks to a design flaw.
If you have a bunch of sex toys lying around, what better use could they serve than decorating the city? "I'm still laughing about this," she said.
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The dildo campaign apparently started with white and orange toys because they were the easiest to toss. The alleged prankster also showed us a photo of bright purple toys, which have not yet appeared on the Portland power lines. Butt plugs may also appear at some point—once her group figures out a few logistical snags.
"The dicks are easy: Grab the heads and throw the center of the string at the light. The plugs don't weigh enough for accuracy and it has to be quick. I'm not sure what'll be done with the all the butt plugs," she said.
City officials in Portland are still grappling with how to handle the situation. Asked if law enforcement had opened up an investigation into the dildo plague—perhaps as littering or a type of high-flying graffiti—Portland Police Spokesman Pete Simpson said he didn't know how cops would even begin to investigate, and referred us to the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
"Certainly, people with young kids and others may feel like, 'I don't want to look up and see this hanging over our house,' but this is not our jurisdiction," said Amalia Alarcon de Morris, bureau director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. That agency is also passing the buck—to the local power company.
At Portland General Electric, spokesman Steve Corson told us rubber dongs don't pose much of a threat on their own, as they can't conduct electricity. Mylar balloons, which can carry power between two lines, are apparently more dangerous—though he added that too much weight on a power line, including the burden from hanging sex toys, could theoretically cause problems. Corson warned locals not to try to remove the dildos themselves, and noted that many of the phallic objects spotted around town are on non-electricity-carrying lines that share the utility's power poles.
Meanwhile, Sid Need, sales associate at the lady-targeted sex-toy boutique SheBop, is warning patrons not to make use of the dildos, even if they fall to Earth.
"These particular toys contain phthalates, which is not something we would sell in our store," Need, who could see at least three dangling dongs from the front door of his workplace, told VICE.
All joking aside, the woman who claims to be behind the prank said her motives weren't entirely juvenile. "I think people should be more comfortable talking about sex and sex organs," she said. "A lot of people own sex toys. This shouldn't be an embarrassing thing to see in public."
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