I don’t usually buy coffee in the morning because I like to save that money for drinks or ice cream after work, but the other day it was easily 95 degrees out and I just really wanted that iced coffee. So I’m standing at the bar in Starbucks on 23rd Street, it’s 8:45 a.m.; I’m sweaty and also holding two heavy bags stuffed with my clothing from the weekend. I hear my name being called, but it’s not coming from the barista. I turn and see a face I remember vividly from high school, but I don’t remember the name. “Hi Noa! How are you?” As the familiar voice begins to ring some bells, I quickly recall that this is the mom of my ninth grade best friend. The same mom that drove me to the Hamptons on the weekends, had me over for birthday parties, and saw me at weekly volleyball games. “Annie”, she says pointing to herself to remind me, but I already remembered.
I’ve had this interaction a few times, and by now, six weeks into my summer internship, I’ve got it figured out. When people ask me what I’m up to for the summer, I take a split second to assess their knowledge of lingerie brands or ability to draw conclusions based on titles, and either say I’m working in merchandising at a lingerie company or skip the explanation and jump straight to saying I’m working at Hanky Panky. Given that many of my friends from school are either engineers, or pre-med, or clueless, I often err on the side of caution. Also, since in this case maybe saying “google it” isn’t the best advice.
This time though, I was at some sort of a crossroad. Annie was always cool and wore the trendiest clothes. But she was also a mom, and usually my friends’ moms fall under category number one. So when she asked me what I was doing in the area, I went with the explanation version. Well, I couldn’t have been more mistaken. When I finally did say “I’m working at Hanky Panky”, Annie, the 55-year-old mom of three, literally stuck her free hand in her pants to show me that she was currently wearing hers. Right there, in the middle of Starbucks on 23rd Street!
I was completely surprised at the public display of intimacy, but nevertheless reciprocated the trademarked Hanky Panky Handshake® by pulling the pink lace out from my waist. It was so nice to see her again.
So, I could be writing about the experience I have had these past six weeks honing my skills in data analysis or learning an incredible amount about the production process, but instead I see my time here as having been something much more valuable. I’ve learned that there’s nothing more gratifying than working to sell a product that makes people happy—something that makes them feel good about themselves.
If there’s something that I feel strongly about, it’s making people feel good about themselves. Because if people are confident, they will be happy, and happy people are productive people. And productive people can help solve the world’s problems. So Hanky Panky is really working to make the world a better place. Maybe next time I’ll just say I’m working in philanthropy.
-Noa Herman, Hanky Panky Intern