Life in the Green Zone

Lizz Winstead questions the limits of solar-powered satisfaction

By Lizz Winstead

Photograph by Rachel Leibman

My whole environmental world was rocked at a recent Sunday brunch. My girlfriend—let’s call her Brooke because I don’t know a Brooke, and this story is about to careen into huge privacy issues—sauntered into our favorite overpriced, under-authentic French bistro, ordered a Bloody Mary, and then announced she loves her new solar-powered vibrator.

This is so annoying on so many levels. At first I was annoyed I hadn’t known about the solar-powered vibrator—I hate being environmentally one-upped. But then I realized I was more annoye that, having heard about a solar-powered vibrator, I felt obligated to buy one. Sometimes I am happy not knowing thing —especially environmental alternatives. Without being informed otherwise, I can go about my life blissfully ignorant. But once I find out about a greener option, I feel compelled to add it to my life.

This so-called solar satisfier simply sounds inferior. I bet it’s one of those items like all-natural deodorant or one-ply toilet paper that just doesn’t work as well as its conventional counterpart, but you suck it up for the planet. I don’t want to suck this one up for the planet. Wouldn’t I need to charge a vibrator in my living room window? On the ledge? I live in the heart of New York City, in an apartment with four windows, none of which are under my bed or in my closet. And all of them face many other apartments. I don’t want to be that crazy person in the neighborhood who can’t pull the shades because she has to charge her lady toys.

But let’s just say for a moment, I was okay with charging my Sunny Delight in the living room. What if it’s cloudy? What I am transferred to Seattle for some reason? We are living in a climate crisis—if you can’t count on sunny days, you’ll never know when the device is charging, which is totally unacceptable. We can’t have a sexual environmental movement if the green gadgets have no movement.

And here’s what really makes me doubt how great this thing is: Instead of asking if it was, um, gratifying, we all grilled her about how long it takes to charge, how long the charge lasts, and how hot it got in the sun. I realized we sounded like we were talking about a DustBuster or an iPod—how the charge works should be the last thing women discuss when figuring out where to spend their hard-earned cash on carnal pleasures.

So, I think this is the first time I am saying no to the planet. There just seem to be too many inconvenient truths about the solar-powered vibrator.

Lizz Winstead is the cocreator of
The Daily Show and former cohost of Air America’s Unfiltered. She currently stars in Shoot the Messenger, a satirical review of the media world running in New York City (

Issue 25

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