opinion

Fun With Dick and Jane

Joanne Cachapero
In the days before color TV (much less the Internet), Dick and Jane taught generations of American children simple sentence structure and grammar: "See Dick run! Run, Dick, run!"

But these days, Dick and Jane, like the 40-something baby boomers who learned their ABCs from the grade school reading primers, are all grownup. In fact, Dick's probably well into his second (or third) career, a second mortgage accompanied by SUV payments, college tuition for 2.4 children and the looming reality of retirement funding in the not-too-distant future. He's had to contend with advances in technology beyond what was ever imagined on his favorite Saturday morning cartoon show, "The Jetsons."

And Jane? Well, Dick's moved on to Debbie; an independent, sexually empowered superwoman at home, work and play. But after a long day on the job and at the kids' soccer practice, middle-aged Dick and Debbie may find they need an extra boost to ramp up their love life.

That's the idea behind Dick and Debbie's Bedroom, a newly developed line of sexual enhancement products from Park Labs LLC.

"Because we were mainly functioning on regular dietary supplements and over-the counter pharmaceuticals, we found out there was a very strong response to our edible 'breath' strip technology," says Dr. Mark J.S. Miller, Park Labs' president and science advisor, especially one with a botanical affecting libido."

After seeing the response to their product at an international trade fair in Bologna, Italy, Park Labs' Vice President Paul Bobrowski and Marketing Director Georgia Perkins-Miller considered the possibilities of other enhancement products.

"We just sat down over a lot of Italian wine, putting together a themed, complete line that covered a lot of bases and that was also a lot of fun," says Perkins-Miller.

The libido strips, called Dick's Got Wood, are marketed in distinctive Dick and Debbie's packaging, which features 1950s cartoon-style graphics; pink for women's products and blue for the men's line.

With product names like Go Dick Go for their male desensitizing spray mist and See Debbie Swallow for women's oral desensitizing spray, the kitschy, innuendo-filled marketing strategy portrays an overall concept Bobrowski and the Millers call "the Retrosexual Lifestyle," which they hope will appeal to a demographic that is moderate in expressing their sexuality, but also motivated to enhance their performance.

"A 'retrosexual' is more mainstream," says Bobrowski. "It's people that have fun having sex, they're just not really going to flaunt it out in public too much."

Another component that may appeal to their target demographic are unique botanical ingredients, researched and developed by Bobrowski and Miller.

Bobrowski is a research scientist in chemistry and biology, and Miller is a professor of reproductive medicine at Albany Medical College, in Albany, N.Y.

Medicinal Plants
In another joint venture, Rainforest Pharmaceuticals and Bobrowski and Miller have published studies on various medicinal plants from the Amazon and Andean regions in South America.

"We've been very successful at taking traditional medicine and understanding it at a molecular level," says Miller. Recently, the research duo received an Innovation Award from the National Institute of Health for the discovery and commercialization of an extract from a plant called Maca.

The extract influences a human gene called insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1, which in turn affects sexual health factors such as libido, fertility, sperm count and conception rates.

"IGF-1, in both males and females, declines fairly rapidly as we age," explains Miller. "What happens is, if you take this extract, we turn it on. Not only are we turning it on, but with the (chemical) signals that normally switch off, we're able to override those negative influences and turn the activity of the gene back to normal, like you were in your youth."

"I mean, what's the point of enhancing the libido of a 19-year old?" says Miller. "It's already there and it's there for the same reason; their IGF-1 levels are very high. So, it really brings you back to the levels of your youth, in terms of using your own genetic potential."

Marketed under the product names Inca Gold and RNI-249, the Maca extract is found in several Dick and Debbie's products, including Dick Gets Up pre-performance towelettes and Debbie's All Spicy stimulating gel.

Other patented ingredients include Zangrado, from the sap of the sangre de grado plant, which acts as a topical anesthetic. Progrado, extracted from the same sap, is a potent antioxidant. Both are used in the line's hangover remedy, Dick and Debbie Got Ripped.

L-arginine, a well-researched amino acid vasodilator, that applied topically encourages enhanced blood flow, is combined with RNI-249 in Debbie's Hot feminine stimulant spray. The line also carries a topically applied progesterone cream product called Debbie Smiles Again, geared towards peri- and post-menopausal women.

Exotic Pango
Pango is a newly developed ingredient, from an Amazonian plant commonly called boton de oro, which acts as the desensitizing agent featured in their Debbie's Bottom's Up anal gel lubricant. The same gel is marketed for men under their Ricky and Randy line of gay products, as Randy's Rearing To Go.

Though Ricky and Randy products are currently included in the Dick and Debbie's catalog, Bobrowski anticipates there will eventually be a separate line catering to the gay market.

Early response from the public indicates that interest in the line is generating curiosity. While displaying the items at the recent Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Perkins-Miller says, "A lot of women came up and asked, 'Do you have anything for gagging?'"

The line's innovative approach to user-friendly delivery systems for the products, including "breath" strip technology, pre-moistened towelettes, perfume sample-sized spray misters and metered dose pump dispensers, has also prompted reaction.

"Some guys I know," adds Perkins-Miller, "when we were developing some of the pre-performance towelettes, were asking 'Well, do you have one that will make us last longer?'"

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