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Leslie Pumm is most likely Germany's only sex shop apprentice. The year-old, who is learning the business at his mother's store, finds that being gay gives him an advantage at work. At the same time, he has his sights set on bigger ambitions and is already active in local politics. By Fabienne Kinzelmann.
Accessories made out of rubber and leather such as masks, whips and tight costumes are piled up in the fetish corner of the tube shaped erotic store. This is the part of the shop where Leslie Pumm, 18, has to turn off his imagination. Since March, Pumm has been working as a retail sales apprentice in an erotic shop in Berlin's Wedding district, just north of the city center. Students who don't attend university in Germany often complete apprenticeships at salons, shops and other businesses.
But according to the local chamber of commerce, there is no other apprentice working in this particular field. It's quite possible that Pumm is the only sex shop apprentice in the entire country.
Previously he worked at a large electronics retail chain, but it soon became clear, as he puts it in his Berlin dialect, "that it was not for me. The transition took some adjustment, but he feels much more comfortable now, Pumm says. Things were hectic in the department store where he sold computers, mobile phones and mp3 players, and the noise drowned him out when he was trying to advise customers.
The erotic store is much quieter, and above all, discreet. His mother told him from the beginning not to loudly discuss the impotency problems of customers who buy penis pumps, for example.