According to this week’s presses, a 28 year-old U.S. Army officer named Justin Dale broke into a Virginia sex store and was caught screwing in the closet. Was it partnered sex? Kind of. See, the woman in question was a blow-up doll.
Now don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves a damn good toy. But no matter how fiery your lust, I’m guessing it’s worth getting away with the loot before taking your pleasure. In fact, according to the store’s owner, the doll in question was so reasonably priced she was already a steal.
Irony aside, inflatable dolls have often been the subject of mockery. Perhaps this is to do with the erroneous belief that sex only counts when you’re with another human. That said, the vibrator is in danger of becoming quite normal – most sex-positive women seem to own one, not to mention some porn and a bottle of lube. But if you own a blow-up doll, I’m guessing you keep her/him well-hidden. Society hasn’t yet learned to accept that a fake partner is ay-okay.
Evidence for this attitude isn’t hard to find. An article in The Smoking Gun has garnered all manner of witty quips, which is hardly surprising – let’s face it, I gave my own snort-laugh when my friend first showed me the piece. But I do think the story would have a different tone if the thief in question was caught jerking off to porn, and it would have seemed more flattering were he found with a real lover. Yes, it’s the sex doll that makes the story so bizarre. Not to mention the fact that our thief couldn’t wait, even though the object of his attentions was a mere inflatable.
However, those who’ve seen the movie Lars and the Real Girl will know sex dolls can prove poignant. In the flick, the main character, Lars, has a fear of intimacy, but works out his problems through a female inflatable whom he truly believes is his real, serious girlfriend. I won’t give any spoilers, but let’s just say that Lars’s psychological journey proves both problematic and healing. What we project onto our sexual objects, dolls included, can make them powerful indeed – so much so, they can help to change our lives. And yet with their reputation as being a substitute for “real” partners, coming out of the closet about a passion for such dolls can’t exactly be easy.
In fact, perhaps there’s something truly human about lusting after a fake lover. I suppose what we might truly desire isn’t necessarily a doll, but rather a breaking of the rules, or a flesh-and-blood partner, or a defiling of what is fake, or a longing to make something real. With a vibrant sexual imagination that doll may have become very alive for Dale. Maybe his act gave the finger to society’s fakeness, or proved he was “man enough” to both trespass and fuck. Or perhaps it was simply an urge to release or connect. We may never know, but I’m sure the reality carried some sort of meaning. Fantasy isn’t necessarily logical. That’s what makes it fantasy. What seems stupid to one can feel enticing to another and it would be a sorry world if this wasn’t so.
For my part, once I’d laughed at the story, I began to realize how sad it was. All that crime for so small a pay-off. To quote The Smoking Gun, Dale “was charged with burglary, grand larceny, and destruction of property.” If he hadn’t taken time to screw the doll, would he have got away clean?
What a gamble to risk so much freedom, all for a moment of lust.