On Friday, my friend Chloe and I drove to the Ikea store in Stoughton, MA, and all I got is this lousy picture.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did come home with the usual odd assortment of things I didn’t know I needed until I’d Ikea’d them. Whereas Chloe walked into the store with a short list of housewares she was officially looking for, I did the most dangerous thing possible: I walked into Ikea not looking for anything in particular, which means I could have bought anything at all.

Impulse purchases notwithstanding, the only photo I shot at Ikea was this image of the hallway to the men’s and women’s restrooms, which entranced me with its larger-than-life, sliced-in-half His & Her symbols. I’d intended to go hog-wild shooting funky housewares and other Ikea delights, even having brought my old camera for Chloe to try out. But soon after I’d snapped this His & Her shot, the store greeter informed me that there is No Photography Allowed in the Stoughton store. Do you think the racy images I shot in the Houston store in 2005 have anything to do with Stoughton’s present photography ban?

Perhaps it’s best that I couldn’t photograph to my heart’s content inside Ikea. Before shopping for housewares, Chloe and I had stopped in Brookline, MA to visit the very first east coast location for this famous sex shop. (If you’re wondering what two women were doing in store that stocks vibrators and the like, you’ll have to keep wondering: if you don’t ask, I promise not to tell. Although there’s nothing that screams “lesbian” like two women driving a Subaru through Massachusetts to shop for sex toys and housewares, Chloe and I are just like Oprah and Gayle: we’re here, we’re not queer, get used to it.)

The alarming garden gnome I photographed in Houston last year certainly looked like a sex toy…but you have no idea how many housewares look erotically suggestive until you shop an Ikea after having perused a sex shop. That Ikea photo ban means I won’t regale you with images of nearly-naughty bottle brushes, shoe-horns, and kitchen timers. Instead, I’ll share a shot of my brand new chopsticks with their curiously textured tips. Rather than being ribbed for her pleasure, perhaps these Ikea items are dotted for her delight?