Here's to our hangout homes

OPINION

August 19, 2012|By Nikki Lynette, For RedEye

Way back in the day—before "Friends" or"Community"or any of the other buddy shows we love hit the airwaves—there was a TV show called "Cheers."

Apparently it was a popular show back then, but I don't really remember much from that era. What I do remember is the "Cheers" theme song. The idea of having a place to go where "everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came" appealed to me as a kid, mostly because I was unpopular.

Having my own Cheers-like hangout seemed like one of those cool things you get to do when you become a grown-up. Turns out, I was right—and my hangout was a Lakeview sex toy shop. Well, that's how Taboo Tabou was mostly known when I first shopped there five years ago.

I still remember my first time. I walked in and proudly handed them my ID to prove they couldn't kick me out anymore for being underage. I walked all the way to the back and was shocked by what I saw. To be blunt, the stuff in that store will make you feel like a sex rookie. A total newbie. A freshman in the school of nookie.

Aside from the super-intimidating, freaky toys, the store offered an awesome collection of clothes. I started shopping there all the time. After a year or so, I became friends with Cara, a girl who worked at the shop. Then she introduced me to the store manager, Megan, who had transformed Taboo from a sex toy store into a place where you could shop for shoes, dresses and jewelry, too. Everyone there was awesome. Before I knew it, Taboo Tabou became my Cheers.

I am the kind of chick who shops at the same stores regularly, and when I do repeat business with folks I like to develop a relationship. The people who frequented Cheers on the show spent their money on booze, and at my equivalent of Cheers I spent money on clothes and shoes. At Taboo Tabou, everybody knew my name, and they were always glad I came. And that rocked.

That changed about a month ago when my two friends left to take different jobs—one at a cupcake shop and the other at Akira. I was heartbroken.

It's not that Akira isn't awesome—I have spent my fair share of disposable income there just like most stylish girls in Chicago. But Akira and Taboo Tabou are polar opposites. They have nothing in common.

Back at Taboo Tabou, the vibe just isn't the same without my friends in the store. I'll still shop there occasionally, but creating your own Cheers is about the people—not the building or the products inside.

The good news is I recently had a great time getting to know the staff at a cute little rocker boutique in Wicker Park. So wish me luck. Maybe I've found a new place where everybody will know my name and always be glad I came. I've got my fingers crossed.

Nikki Lynette, a Chicago native, is an indie recording artist whose music appears on MTV, VH1, Showtime and more. @nikkilynette

RedEye Chicago Articles
|
|
|