Let's pretend, for a second, you're a lonesome guy who has bad luck with women. You buy an upscale silicone love doll
and grow attached to "her"; but, after a decade of lovin', she starts to fall apart.
What's a man to do?
If you're 37-year-old Michigan telemarketer Dave Cat
, you have the $6,500 rubber lady "reincarnated." Which is to say, you commission an exact replica of her to be stripped, molded and painted. And you bring her back from the freakin' dead.
Dave considers himself a "doll husband" and hasn't dated a flesh-and-blood woman since he bought his Real Doll
-- a synthetic female with a skeletal frame, joints, and rubber sex organs -- in July 2000.
So imagine his sense of horror when, a few months ago, he noticed an 8-inch tear in her lower back, where her plastic hips connect to a spine. "She was literally bed-ridden," he tells Asylum. "I couldn't take her downstairs, and the sex was very limited."
Worried, he called Real Doll founder Matt McMullen, who is the mad scientist of the sex-doll industry. "He asked us to save her,'" McMullen says. "To me it was really touching."
"People are so unpredictable."
Dave spent years conceiving his doll's personality and back story. He'll tell you her name is Sidore -- "friends call her Si-Chan" -- and that she was born near Tokyo, but later moved to England. She's a Goth and is "partial to Joy Division, Mecha-based video games and foot rubs."
Dave carries her photo in his wallet (she's posing in a gray skirt), buys her clothes on eBay (skimpy latex get-ups) and spends Sundays canoodling with her on a loveseat in the suburbs (where they watch a lot of spy movies). To show his love, he even bought her a wedding ring.
Although he regularly has sex with the 80-pound doll (more on that later), to him, her primary function is companionship. "People are so unpredictable," he says. "She is a forgiving, accepting partner, which is incredibly hard to find in an organic woman."
Dave is part of an online community of doll lovers, most of them social outcasts, who have dubbed themselves iDollators.
He also blogs
openly about the relationship and even set up Sidore with a Twitter feed
, which shows an image of her sporting purple hair and glasses. She seems to have a wry sense of humor: "The way my lad goes on about his sinuses giving him grief," she tweets. "I'm rather glad I don't have any."
"I can't take her to concerts, films or, you know, Best Buy."
Dave first noticed strange feelings about inanimate objects as a boy. When, as an adult, his live-in girlfriend turned out to be a pathological liar and a cokehead who stole some of his belongings, he stopped investing time and energy in human women.
He heard about Real Doll in the late-'90s and first tried to get a loan to buy Sidore, but bankers denied him. After pinching pennies, he picked out her body and face from dozens of choices and purchased her for $5,000 in 2000.
The day she arrived in the mail, Dave had sex with her. True to life, the first time was a little awkward: She was stiff, and he didn't know whether she could bend certain ways. The way he puts it, "You're not going to pick up a violin for the first time and play a sonata."
These days he uses a lot of lube and warms her under an electric blanket before sex.
Dave's family doesn't approve of his "wife." Also, emotional bonding with an inanimate object has an obvious downside: "I can't take her to concerts, films or, you know, Best Buy."
But he's happy with his decision to send his lady in for retooling. After he paid a discounted price and waited a few weeks ("It's the longest we've ever been apart"), a brand-new Sidore arrived at his home this past May, nearly identical but 20 pounds lighter and with a fairer skin tone.
Chances are, he won't need to have her reincarnated a second time, since Real Dolls are no longer tin-based and have a longer "shelf life."
And if a real girl comes along someday? Dave says he's not looking for anyone with a pulse, although he admits he wishes Sidore could make sushi, drive him to work and accompany him to the pet shop.
Later, he thinks for a second and says, "Also, she can't interact. I mean, she is a doll