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February 26, 2000 09:00am
It's close to the real thing and it doesn't give you back talk
Source: Salon.com
by: Stephen Lemons

"Go ahead, try it out," says Couture. "That's what you came for."

For a moment, a particularly crass thought flits through this reporter's noggin. But Couture doesn't seem disposed to allow a test ride. Abyss Creations did give Howard Stern one of their products, which he played stick bandit to in no time flat. Afterwards, the shock jock declared, "It was the best sex I've ever had!" In this case, a cheap feel will have to suffice.

Inspection commences on one of the better endowed of the bunch. Her fun-bags feel divine, squeezably soft, yet firm enough to keep from sagging. The nipples are a work of art, and it's difficult to stop toying with them. The remainder of her anatomy hardly compares, but the ability of her joints to move is impressive, as are her adorable feet. The hands seem a little fake since the wire mesh inside allows you to bend them in odd directions. But her face is pretty and would require only minor articulation to fool the eye.

Without further ado, an index finger prods her labia and slips inside. The torso's glory hole is snug and inviting, and one imagines the bliss that would ensue if one's joystick were embedded deep within. A quick anal probe confirms that her delicate flower also has the right stuff.

About this time, Couture's 4-year-old daughter tumbles into the room. "I'm hungry, Mommy," she says.

"Just give Mommy a few more minutes, and we'll get lunch," says Couture. She fixes her child a plate of carrots and potato chips. "Now go watch TV," she says. "Sorry about that," she apologizes. "I'm having day-care problems right now."

So what does her daughter think of the sex toys all about? "To her, they're giant Barbie dolls," Couture says. "She's grown up with them and doesn't think anything of them."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Asked about her clients, Couture is more forthcoming than her brother-in-law. "Some are single, some married," she says. "Some are buying them with their wives' permission, some not. They're doctors, lawyers, etc. Sometimes it's married couples looking for a little spice in the marriage. Sometimes it's for guys who say their wives' libidos aren't as high as theirs. These dolls give you the ability to release yourself in an un-cheating sort of way."

Couture points out that there's a great deal of interest in a male doll, which Abyss Creations is working on along with a "she-male" doll with both male and female parts.

When pressed, Couture says, "We're not trying to make the Stepford Wives. We're not trying to replace women. I'd be the first one out the door if that were the case."

Yet that's what Realdolls are, versions of the Stepford Wives. Of course, one doesn't get the electric charge from Realdolls one gets from being close to an attractive woman. It's better to think of them as the first generation of artificial sex partners (second, if you count blow-up dolls). Subsequent generations will inevitably acquire increasingly sophisticated animatronics and eventually be wedded to robotics. In the meantime, Realdolls meet a need, a need some horny bastard is willing to pay over five grand to alleviate.

Couture proposes to call one of these horny bastards for an impromptu interview. The fellow is a 50-year-old, divorced man living in Arizona who declines to give his name or occupation, though he describes himself as "white collar." He says he's just bought Body No. 2 with the "Leah" head, Abyss Creations' most popular combo.

"I recommend it highly," he says. "It's about as close to the real thing as you can get, and it doesn't give you any back talk."

Asked why he purchased it, Mr. Arizona describes his last marriage to a "real bitch with a heart like a cash register." Once burned, twice shy, it seems. Now he's humping a mannequin.

"There are some minuses," he admits. "You're dealing with a 100 pounds of dead weight. But at least you've got loyalty."

Don't kid yourself, bro. What you've got is a hunk of silicone with three holes. When the phone call was over, it was time to say goodbye to Abyss Creations, Couture and their own little Twilight Zone.

"Why?" asks Katherine Ross' protagonist in "The Stepford Wives" when she finally confronts Patrick O'Neal. O'Neal plays an ex-Disney executive in charge of Stepford's nefarious Men's Association, the group responsible for the wives-to-fembots switcheroo.

"Because we can," he says, nonchalantly.

Of course, they can. It's fiction, silly. But what about real life? We've all seen the footage of electronic dogs and animated baby dolls. But can someone do a version of Christina Ricci that'll give you a roll in the hay to remember? That's the question.

"You could probably use a Realdoll on a mattress and set it up where you're jumping on it for a ride," says John Iovine, author of "Robots, Androids and Animatrons: 12 Incredible Projects You Can Build." "The doll would be the front end of a larger apparatus. An expensive game, but it would work."

Iovine surmises that a fully articulated android could be 50 years away. Similarly, McMullen does not envisage the Realdolls becoming androids in the near future. "I don't see the dolls walking around, vacuuming the floor," McMullen says. "But having their heads move and maybe some facial expression and audio, that's obtainable."

So how many men would line up for some hassle-free and disease-free recreational sex with an android? Are you kidding? All of them! Perhaps Realdolls, or some product like them, will one day in the distant future offer an acceptable alternative to a "relationship," that most dreaded of terms in the male lexicon.

But then those Stepford chicks were pure fantasy. Realdolls and the products like them which will inevitably follow will not be able to function as full replacements for wives, mothers or housekeepers in the near future. Nor will they soon usurp the gratification of sex with a willing, attractive partner.

Abyss Creations recently released "Realdoll: The Movie," starring Ron Jeremy as a hopeless nebbish who alternates between intercourse with the ravishing porn star Shayla La Veaux and her Realdoll doppelgänger. The Realdoll looks awfully pathetic beside the porn goddess. You desire sex with LaVeaux, not with her silicone twin.

Score one for the chicks, Beavis –- the flesh-and-blood kind.

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