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Darkness at the Door

Minneapolis- Give them your poor, your priapic, your sexually frustrated. Sex World, the multistory sex shop on the corner of Washington and Second avenues, is a 24/7 haven for the flesh-obsessed. At all hours, customers can be seen gravitating toward the building like sperm to ovum. There’s room for all: flocks of bachelorettes knackered on Flirtinis, lonely foot fetishists in search of loafer porn, Sex in the City devotees shopping for so-called marital aids–Sex World welcomes them all.

Of course, even a generous sexual surrogate needs to employ a barrier method sometimes, and in the case of Sex World, the barrier is Dimitri Vladescu, the store’s sole full-time security guard. “I’m the only one clocking in 40 hours of porn-defending,” Vladescu says with a grin.

Vladescu, who has also worked security at the goth-industrial club Ground Zero, is a familiar figure in the Twin Cities underworld. At 6’4″, he casts an imposing shadow across Sex World’s threshold. A self-described nihilist with cartoon-devil facial hair and eyes like those of a Siberian husky who ain’t quite right, Vladescu is not the kind of sentry one slips past with ease. He breathes fire in his spare time (“I’ve been doing it for about five years”) and regales fellow employees with viscera-laced tales from his stint as a funeral director and embalmer in Illinois, a profession he intends to eventually pursue in Minnesota.

These days, at his post near Sex World’s Second Avenue entrance, Vladescu greets, inspects, and occasionally ejects scores of eager customers. “I was pretty much bound to fall into it eventually,” he says of the sex industry. “Just due to sheer size, and, you know, it’s a wonderful way to vent aggression.”

Working at an adult emporium affords Vladescu insight into Minneapolis’s sexual climate. “People’s views on [sexuality] have changed since I grew up. But I came from a really repressed, über-Christian kind of area. I think Minneapolis proper is fairly liberal. But I see the repression of all these little farm kids who come to the big city to go to school.” What is Vladescu’s advice? “I think more people need to explore their fucking dark sides and just give in to what their heads are telling them to do.”

Sporting a black T-shirt that reads, “Fuck the Pain Away,” along with inch-long pointed fingernails, Vladescu has no aspirations to so-called decency. “I mostly hang out with darksiders and punk rockers,” he says. “I know a lot of extremely intelligent people who are very at one and at peace with their sexuality. To take the step of saying, ‘I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m gonna like [this]! Fuck you!’ That’s admirable, as opposed to the hordes of drunken downtown clubgoers that leave the club and have nothing better to do than go, ‘Hey! Let’s go to Sex World and laugh at fucking dildos all night!'” Vladescu chuckles. “To quote Mallrats, ‘I have no respect for someone with no shopping agenda.'”

Although Sex World attracts a diverse clientele, Vladescu claims to have cultivated the ability to distinguish “the truly intelligent people” from the “shit piles of dumb-asses.” He reserves considerable venom for those who hold the industry in contempt. “There are people who are like, ‘Let’s go pick on the chicks in the porn store,'” he says, referring to Sex World’s in-store adult models who inhabit a glass terrarium called Thee Dollhouse. “That I can’t respect. And you have 18-year-old kids coming in who think they need to start a fight because that’s what drinking is about.”

Vladescu clearly enjoys his lot as guardian-for-hire. He enthusiastically shares the tale of his “best ejection ever” (ushering a yuppie out of Ground Zero for openly masturbating during an S&M demonstration) and says that working security meshes well with his “survivalist” nature. “I treat everything with a modicum of respect,” he says, “but if somebody wrongs you, fuck ’em up. That whole eye for an eye thing doesn’t reaIly matter to me. Eye for an eye? Bullshit. How about an eye for a whole fucking head? You wrong me, and I’m coming after you with everything I can fucking muster. There’s a voodoo-chaos side to me.”

Vladescu’s gig as a “porn defender” might be unconventional, but he sees it as a necessary aspect of his wildly eclectic life. “I hate that New Age thing, but I kind of see myself almost as a New Age Renaissance person. I’ve been a bouncer at a goth-industrial bondage club, a bouncer at a porn store. I was a licensed funeral-director embalmer. I do medieval reenactments, I’m a fire breather, basically a single father, and now I’m looking to go back to college again, as much as I hate college students.” He sighs, “I figure my effectiveness as a security guard has about five to 10 years left. By the time I’m 35 or 40, I’m going to be obsolete. I’m going to be too old to keep up with angry 18- to 21-year-olds.”


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