I was layin’ in the tub last night — yes, I had a bath and it was nice and relaxing and it smelled and felt great, even without the big clawfoot tub I was craving — and, as often happens when surrounded by bubbles, I let my mind wander.
It wandered, of course, in the direction of work. Sort of. It wandered to reviews and what makes a good one, actually.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about lowered standards or too high standards or… what have you. Which always sort of makes me frown.
See, I think a review being good or bad is mostly a personal thing. Barring horrible grammar and spelling, which makes any written accounting of anything mostly horrible, a review is always going to be useful to some and not so useful to others.
I’ve been writing product reviews for, what? Almost three years now? Two and a half years? I try to follow the “code”. You know – include all the pertinent info, say personal stuff, don’t forget the warnings, describe every aspect of the toy, etc. But, honestly? As “useful” as my reviews might technically be, having all that info in them, that doesn’t mean they are useful to everyone. Or, more to the point, that a review without all that info is NOT useful.
Because, you know what? It can be.
I can read a review that has next to no material info other than the basics, no cleaning info, no care info, no size info, no safety into and still find it useful to me. Very useful. I don’t necessarily need someone to list every ingredient in a tub of bath salts or every minute detail about a corset in order to appreciate and find their review of it useful.
As a matter of fact, some of the most “useful” reviews out there read like a droning television ad. They’re dry. They’re fucking boring, man. You have no idea how many times I’ve voted a review “extremely useful” on Eden Fantasys because it did contain all the info but, in reality, wanted to check the “meh, boring” button. (Er, okay, we don’t have one. Maybe we should) And you know what else?
A boring review isn’t all that useful to me. It is NO MORE useful than looking at product specs. And yet, this is the standard we hold other, newer reviewers to.
We expect them to conform and to be boring. To cover every stinking detail about a product in triplicate and god forbid they miss the diameter of a dick (cuz we couldn’t possibly find that in the product specs) or don’t mention the way a body lotion tasted. Really? YOU EAT BODY LOTION?
Me either. I don’t much give a shit how lotion tastes. Is it a nice touch to add that a lotion meant for erotic massage may not taste the best when you kiss the skin? Sure. Is it over kill to say a review isn’t useful because someone didn’t say how a foot cream tastes? Fuck yes.
Is it slightly obsessive to gauge the usefulness of a review with some sort of anal retentive checklist? To take off points for any slightest missed information?
I think so.
It’s a review, not a fucking thesis.
I was in the tub last night and I started laughing uproariously thinking about a restaurant or movie review held to the same standards as a sex toy review.
Can you imagine it? Someone writing in to a food critic to let them know that their review was shite because, god damn it, they forgot to mention the length and circumference of the leaf lettuce or the material the napkins were made of?
Or how about phoning Siskel and Ebert (so what if one of them is dead? NO EXCUSES) to complain that their last movie review lacked details about how the popcorn tasted or how large the font in the credits was?
Right. No. You cannot imagine that. Because it’s ridonkulous.
So is docking points from a sex toy review because the person didn’t try a non anal toy anally. Or because the font on their blog sucks. Or because they didn’t reiterate information that is in the product specs.
Or, maybe those repetitious facts are what make a review useful to you. That’s cool. But not everyone holds the same standards. Which means they? May find your review painfully dry, boring and repetitious. They have the same right to think less of your reviewing style as you do of theirs.
Every fact you can think of to include does NOT make your review useful to everyone. Some folks may find the info they are looking for so buried in technical bullshit that it’s actually not at all useful to them.
What’s my point?
It’s really not to hate on anyone but to, perhaps, stop the insanity.
If you’re reading a review on a jelly dong you would never, in your life, consider purchasing and don’t like how it was written – not that it’s god awful, missing everything and has poor grammar, but just that it’s missing a few of the details you think should be in a review, maybe you should stop a minute and really think about true usefulness as opposed to checklists. Maybe you shouldn’t have read it in the first place – since no review on a stinking jelly dong is ever going to really be useful to a person who wouldn’t buy one anyhow.
I dunno. I have standards. I expect a review to have basic info but to, primarily, give me the info I cannot find in site specs. To tell me how something feels, to be a review of their use, not some dry ass information that is copied from the specs page. But my standards? Are not the same as those of the review nazis, for sure. I find technical overload to the the single thing that kills my desire to try a toy.
A soliloquy of cleaning info and anal warnings is just so much hot air when what I want to know is how good a SEX TOY works.