This is still one of the funniest things that has happened to me in Austria. Caution: this story contains sexually explicit material and graphic images. If you think this might offend you, best skip it.
Let’s set the scene. It was shortly after my birthday in 2014, my first year in Austria. I was expecting a present from my brother. He had told me, in fact, exactly what was coming… or so I thought.
A box arrived. There was no return name or address but the reference mobile number was Aussie – so I ripped it open. Inside, I found a set of high quality headphones. I was puzzled. Not only had I never disclosed any desire for headphones, they didn’t look cheap. They weren’t the kind of thing you buy someone because maybe she’ll like them.
Then I noticed there was a second item in the box… something covered in black, plastic wrap…
Aha… I thought. This must be the real present.
So I opened it… and I found… this:
Classic, I thought, almost wetting myself with laughter. It must be from my friend, not my brother. My friend who is, by the way, partial to sending practical joke presents.
But suddenly I stopped laughing. Because it wasn’t a ‘cheap’ sex toy. It was serious. Also, it was for men. I couldn’t have made use of it even if I’d wanted to.
So I messaged my friend, with some trepidation: Did you send me an ass?
To which she replied in the affirmative: Yes
I was somewhat relieved. But also confused. Headphones? Why? So I pressed her for details. And she finally admitted she had no idea I was talking about.
Puzzled, I was.
The mobile number on the package was not hers, so she was telling the truth. I’m ashamed to say that a small nodule of fear started growing in my belly. Thomas… my loving Austrian boyfriend… the guy I’d moved across the other side of the world to be with… was a regular online purchaser. How well did I really know him? Maybe… just maybe he’d bought it for himself and I had inadvertently opened something extraordinarily private.
So I wrote a carefully constructed message asking him if he’d ordered anything online recently. He hadn’t. Which was good. But it didn’t solve the mystery.
And then I thought again of my brother. And I checked the mobile number on the box with his – match! And then I got really weirded out. Because there were two possibilities and I wasn’t liking either one of them:
- My brother bought me a joke, male sex toy as my birthday present
- My brother bought himself these things, and sent them to me by mistake
Either thought was horrifying. How to proceed? I finally messaged him and asked him if he’d sent me headphones for my birthday. I also made a half-joking reference to an ass. He told me, of course I didn’t give you headphones or an ass, I gave me what you asked for – travel bottles, a pair of kitchen tongs and some socks.
So I sent him a photo… and this was his response.
Turns out, Amazon screwed up the order… I wondered about the original person who ended up with my random order and not their Peek-a-Boo and headphones. I wondered about the odd combination of buying Peek-a-Boo and headphones… then I decided not to think about it further.
After debating whether to resell the items and forget about it (headphones and Peek-a-Boo were worth way more than my original present was), I instead contacted Amazon, thanking them for the Peek-a-Boo, but explaining I didn’t want him, and would appreciate my original order to be shipped. They were highly apologetic and my actual present arrived a few days later. My kitchen tongs, travel bottles and socks are still in use to this day.
Godspeed, Peek-a-boo… I hope you ended up finding your place in the world.