GRAND FORKS, ND—Erotic baker Kevin Nageli has experienced a decline in the quality of his work following a recent reduction in his sex drive, Naughty Bites sources said Monday.
"I feel bad saying it, but Kevin's really in a slump," said Hal DiPrima, Nageli's longtime friend and business partner. "There was a time no marzipan penis could compare to a Kevin Nageli. Now, though, look at this tray of cocks. No definition. The external urethral orifice is just a pinhole, and the texture of the shaft is all wrong. They just droop over the baking sheets. What am I going to tell the bachelorettes?"
Naughty Bites is a three-time winner of Grand Forks Magazine's "Best Place To Browse When You're Feeling Kooky" award, due in large part to the precision that once defined a Nageli erotic cake. His expertise was seen in all his work—from relatively tame bikini-clad breasts reading "Bon Voyage!" to the more-graphic, penis-shaped cakes reading "Make A Wish And Blow!"
"The erotic bakery business is detail-oriented, but even I used to be amazed by the way Kevin would spend three hours a day shaving tiny curlicues off a hunk of dark chocolate, because he wanted the pubic hair to look just right," DiPrima said, shaking his head as he boxed a cake that read "Eat Me, Birthday Boy." "Now, he just takes a scoop of black sprinkles and dumps it over the iced vaginas. Somewhere under that lumpish mass is a Gummi Bear clitoris, but you'd never know it."
By his own estimates, Nageli's business and marriage were going strong until May, when the pressures resulting from the birth of his second child and his mother-in-law's decision to move into the Nageli home caused sexual relations with his wife of five years to ebb. Nageli said he has found his attention diverted away from sex and sexy cakes alike.
"As you get older, sometimes the things that practically defined your life when you were younger become less important," Nageli said. "Lately, sex is the last thing on my mind. These days, all I want to do is finish my business as quickly as possible so I can go away, smoke a cigarette, and relax in front of the TV. But try telling that to my wife. Or my customers."
Nageli didn't seem particularly bothered by his attitude shift.
"Yeah, occasionally customers used to say stuff like they hated to eat my 'You're the purr-fect valentine' pussy cakes, because they were fascinated by all the intricate labial folds piped around the vagina," Nageli said. "But lately, I've come around to thinking that a spatula does essentially the same trick as a pastry tube. I mean, a vulva's a vulva, right?"
Nageli has even begun to design cakes without erotic content, such as a rectangular, two-layer cake he decorates to resemble a hardcover copy of the bestselling book Tuesdays With Morrie.
Nageli's business partner said he was "dismayed" by the baker's post-sexual period.
"I cannot sell a cake shaped like a remote control in an erotic bakery," DiPrima said. "Maybe I can make it look like a vibrator if I flick off these candy buttons. But only a pervert would think this resembles something you put up your ass."
Nageli's personal and professional decline is not unique. Erotic baker Brad Hicks, who closed his Oshkosh, WI establishment The Sexy Sweet Shoppe in February 2000, complained of similar disillusionment, which he described as "classic burnout."
"I'm not sure if my divorce caused me to lose inspiration for my work, or if it was making those endless Torpedo Tit Tarts that destroyed my marriage," said Hicks, now a postal worker. "But at some point, a little voice inside my head said, "Brad, if you don't care how 'come' is spelled on a cake, maybe the naughty-pastry business isn't the place for you anymore.'"
Using milk to thin the batter for what would eventually become a sagging breast cake, Nageli admitted that he could understand why an erotic-cake customer might not want to buy one of his newer creations.
"I realize most of my customers would prefer cakes that said 'Eat Me' instead of 'Maybe Later, Baby,'" Nageli said. "But maybe there's a hidden, untapped novelty pastry market for people just like me."