In the 2008 movie “Lars and the Real Girl” Ryan Gosling plays a man who introduces a life sized doll as his girlfriend and takes her everywhere, eventually gaining the town’s acceptance.A year before that movie put so-called “real dolls” on the periphery, the BBC produced a documentary called “Guys and Dolls.” It chronicles the industry and the men who buy them. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube.
A California company called Realdoll began making realistic, lifesized dolls back in 1996. Since then, they’ve sold thousands of them for upwards of $10,000 each.
The men interviewed in the documentary talk about how the dolls influence their lives. While they sometimes feel isolated from real life, they say the companionship they feel with the dolls is worth it.
The real dolls are ordered from a company in California. They weigh more than 100 pounds and are totally customisable.
This is Davecat. He lives with his parents and his doll Shishan. Because his father doesn't accept her, they spend most of their time in his room.
Davecat was obsessed with store mannequins as a child. He tells the filmmakers Shishan has been his partner for about six years.
Davecat has to send Shishan away for the first time ever. Her limbs are loose so he's sending her for repairs. He dreads the three week separation.
This is Everand, who owns several dolls. He last lived with his mother, who died years before after a long illness.
Everand often takes his dolls on daily excursions and is seen here preparing Virginia for a day of hang-gliding.
Everand says that beautiful women in real life aren't interested in him, so he pretends with his dolls.
He even sets them up for elaborate photo shoots, which he compares to family portraits, and hangs the photos around his house.
At the factory in California, the silicon bodies for the dolls hang from the ceiling. They ship out about 7 per week.
This is Matt, who makes the dolls. He says he feels honored that his dolls are realistic enough to take as life partners.
Every detail of the dolls is meticulously moulded to be lifelike. Here a technician puts teeth in a doll.
This is Gordon, who lives in rural Virginia. He bought two dolls several years ago because he was discouraged by dating.
But he has a new girlfriend and decides he's going to show her the dolls on his birthday. This is his favourite one, Lexi.
She is taken aback to see the dinner guests, which include Lexi and one other doll. He confesses his addiction and that he actually has eight of them.
His girlfriend initially seems accepting and sits down for a dinner and cake with the dolls. But a week later, she breaks up with Mike and he's left alone.
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