Thursday, September 17, 2009

JimmyJane Little Steel Vanitas

The Little Steel Vanitas by JimmyJane is a small one speed vibrator that comes complete with an engraved decoration that might tempt you to leave it out, just so you could explain the cleverness of the reference to your baffled acquaintances. Well, except that it's a sex toy.

The butterflies and skulls engraved in black are inspired by the vanitas art style of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, made popular by the Dutch masters. A vanitas is a type of still life in which objects of Earthly pleasure surround a skull, reminding the viewer to take advantage of life's finer things now, because tomorrow you might be dead. Or, with the Little Steel Vanitas, you'll experience the Little Death -- orgasm -- which is also an Earthly pleasure. Full circle.

Yep, you too can be pretentious with your pants off, for a mere two hundred and fifty dollars. Or, spend another seventy five and you can spring for 24k gold. If you really have money to burn, diamonds are an option, too. The Little Something is the vibrator of the rich and famous.

Revealing what precisely attracted me to this particular version of the Little Steel might lead clever readers to my true identity. Probably not, but my paranoia remains strong, and so I'll keep that little bit to myself. I will tell you it's a sci-fi reference that I twisted in my head, with a little Shakespeare thrown in, and I find the whole thing quite amusing. I'm sad not to explain it. But alas, paranoia wins out.

The Little Chroma is also a fine option from JimmyJane, and it appears to be the exact same toy, only in colorful aluminum instead of brushed steel.

The advantages of the Little Something line of vibrators include a replaceable motor (currently it'll cost you twenty bucks if you wear one out), a waterproof casing, easy cleaning, compatibility with any lube, and a low noise level. The box claims it's silent, which I found to be an overstatement*, but it does pass the sound test. I left it buzzing away on a leather chair, where it sounded slightly louder than it had in my hand, and I couldn't hear it on the other side of the not particularly heavy door. (*see follow up below)

It's loudest during the turning off and turning on process, which is where it will betray you if you're living in close quarters, since the on-off function is controlled with a twist-off base. I'm not a great fan of the twist-off base, and I'm a little puzzled as to why a vibrator with a price range of $125 - $395 (pre-diamond, that is) has the same feature that I complained about on the ten dollar Velvet Touch.

My best guess is that a twist off base is an extremely difficult on-off mechanism to break, and this vibe is built for the long haul.

Anyway, once you've finished using this vibe, I recommend waiting until your hands stop any shaking they happen to be doing before turning it off. You don't want to fumble around with it half unscrewed -- and suddenly disturbingly loud -- while your motor functions aren't quite at their best.

Aside from the screw-off base, this is a really well designed toy. It's deceptively simple, which is a quality I tend to enjoy. It has one vibration speed, without any pulse patterns, and it's a tiny thing. It's not much thicker than an AA battery, and it's only about double the length of said battery. The vibrations don't seem very strong at first, but they're a nice, deep frequency that's not at all buzzy.

For insertion, I found it pleasant but unremarkable. Granted, I might like it better if I didn't already have the Lelo Gigi and the Fun Factory Gigolo in my toybox, but it takes effort to angle it near the g-spot, and it's too small for thrusting. The weight makes it feel a little bigger than actual size, but for that full sensation, I'll be reaching for the Gigolo, or the Curve.

Where the Little Steel shines is as a clit vibe. It's surprisingly comfortable in the hand, and the deep frequency means that it feels wonderful without creating any numbness. Instead of a mad gallop to the finish line followed by immediate wobbly knees, the Little Steel delivers a nice canter along the scenic route, with a number of smaller thrills along the way.

Yes, multiples, real multiples, and the kind that leave you wanting more.

It's fantastic for temperature play, since it's made of metal. I found it to stay cold slightly longer than glass when used in a similar manner. The glass, being thicker and also not containing a heat-producing motor, had the definite advantage in that little contest, so I was really impressed with the Little Steel.

Hiding it is simple. It's small enough to stash just about anywhere, and it doesn't immediately look like a sex toy if found. It looks, to the casual observer, like it's a part to something, or perhaps it's the case for some kind of survival tool. A closer look will only puzzle them more, especially if you order one of the more baffling designs, and if your nosy intruder investigates further, your claim that it's a shoulder massager or a tool for treating tension headaches has a pretty good chance of being believed.

I definitely like the Little Steel Vanitas.

The question, though, is whether I'm impressed enough to tell my readers to spend their hard earned cash on this item. It's probably my favorite clit vibe, but note that I said probably, and also specified clit vibe. Were I to rank my toys, the Little Steel Vanitas would lose out to the Sasi, the Gigi, the Gigolo, the Curve, the Passion Wave, and quite possibly my favorite glass dildo. Both the Gigi and the Gigolo are quite serviceable clit vibes.

I'll be using the Little Steel Vanitas instead of my White Knights Bullet or Pocket Rocket, most of the time. But only most of the time -- probably not all of the time -- and you can get either of the other options for under twenty dollars each. You'll need to replace the bullet once a year or so, depending on your luck, but it'll take a few years before the Little Steel Vanitas, or any Little Something vibrator, starts to perform as a good investment.

The bottom line is this -- is the deeper vibration frequency worth the price tag, for you, personally, on your current budget. If it is, you can score the Little Chroma at If it's not, I'll soon be learning if the Xtreme Pack G-spot Bullet lives up to its reputation as the best bullet vibe in the world.

Follow up: It turns out the Little Something really is virtually silent, with the correct battery. Unfortunately, the correct battery is not the battery that ships with the toy. When I changed batteries, I suddenly had the silence I was promised by the hype.

Furthermore, I find that this toy has become my most frequently used toy. I'm not sure how the vibrations seemed to get stronger at the same time that the toy became quieter, but it happened.

In any case, if you buy this, use the free battery in your remote control or something, and break out a proper copper top for the toy.

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