Pretty face, but not too pretty, her breasts are round and firm, but not huge. Her legs are long and her hair is mid-length. She never nags and always smiles. Leah is a sex doll and a bestseller, a Realdoll. The now year old artist Matt McMullen created her in when he grew tired of making scary Halloween masks.
Shopping strip centres, warehouses, snackbars, concrete, palms and the Pacific Ocean. Nothing on the outside reveals the sex dolls being manufactured by craftsmen behind the grey-brown walls. These are the six names of the most popular dolls by McMullen. At the reception Shelly Couture awaits us, a Canadian woman with Irish roots. The spokesperson for the company also advises clients on the phone and monitors the bubbling silicone brew. She guides us through the white waiting room where six clothed dolls are displayed, straight in to the production hall.
The walls are wallpapered with Japanese Manga comics. It smells of paint and crude oil. Director McMullen creates the designs, his wife Kimberly, an accountant, keeps the books. Seven employees make the dolls. One person makes the frame out of metal and vinyl. Sculptors cast three different moulds out of hard plastic, one for the body, a second for the breasts and a third for the head. Liquid silicone is poured into the moulds.
Painters paint the skin, lips, and fingernails and set the eyes in. Neatly laid out are a half dozen hairless heads resting on a frame. Wigs made in China are stored in paper boxes with see-through lids. Every finished doll is dried, dressed and packed in a wooden crate lined with Styrofoam. Padded belts stabilise the head, upper and lower bodies for transport. Before the containers are shipped by airfreight, Shelly sticks a few plastic flowers in the artificial hair of the expensive cargo.
Realdoll creator Matt McMullen went to art school and later worked as a sculptor. As an artist he remained unnoticed, until he created a realistic looking mini woman. She was two feet tall — and naked. He placed a photo of her on the Internet and it sparked an interest. McMullen received hundreds of e-mails asking if his doll works.
McMullen caught on quickly. Without even wanting to, I landed in the sex industry. Nine naked dolls are dangling from iron chains. Plastic poles are wedged in the hollows of their knees spreading their legs apart.
One doll is missing her hands and feet and none have pubic hair. Ma, the Chinese painter will stick it on according to the order forms today. These dangling, headless bodies generate an even stronger feeling of revulsion than the finished, lifeless dolls. The artificial bodies look as though they can feel pain.
Is the always-available sex doll, another woman-despising evil spawn for male dominance over the female body? Better than pretending to have an interest but really only wanting sex. More like sticky slime, that green toy goo that kids love to ooze through their fingers on the playground. With plenty of baby powder and regular use the sticky skin becomes supple, promises Shelly.
The dolls come in 16 different faces and ten body types. The customer determines the breast size, skin colour, body and hair length. Also, men can choose the type of hairstyle, eye colour and shape, make-up and the type of pubic hair — curly, shaved or trimmed. Every doll has three washable orifices. The doll has its limitations.
It works best in the missionary position. The instructions advise against too wild behaviour: It comes with a minor repair kit containing extra silicone, a sponge and glue to fix tears and scratches. If you choose a Realdoll you need to be strong. The dolls weigh between 55 and 75 kilos.
German customers especially, have a preference for the larger models, weighing over 75 kilos. Realdolls have an air of necrophilia sex about them, more so than the inflatable companion of the past. Couples dreaming of a saucy threesome put in orders — without worrying about health risks or threatening jealousy.
Increasingly, design and art magazines are showing interest. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam had two dolls on display in Those who are interested can come and have a look at the different models in the factory. On this Friday two Japanese men have come by. Both are wearing designer shorts and blue baseball hats. On their wrists are Swiss watches.
Shelly leads them in to the showroom. There they examine Leah, Kim and Stacy. They squeeze breasts, look inside mouths, feel the labia and choose wigs. Abyss Creations guarantees discretion. Names and addresses are only noted after the order and down payment have been placed.
The shipment is sent in a plain wooden box. Two weeks before delivery the recipient is informed according to his wish, either by mail or telephone. The payment is done discreetly by cheque. During shipment these objects of desire wear skimpy little nylon dresses and always a bra.
Matt McMullen says he has no idea why the demand is so great. It takes 18 weeks from the day an order is placed until delivery at home. I gave her a name the day she arrived.
This is a message for all you guys out there: Abyss has not placed one advertisement, either in a newspaper or glossy magazine. The 10, Internet surfers that visit the website every day are enough, plus press releases and word of mouth.
He estimates the turnover potential is about a thousand dolls per year. Success makes McMullen cautious. He despises the stock market. One problem is the flourishing discount business. Internationally the interest is growing rapidly. Fifty percent of the orders still come from the USA, but rubber loving Germans and Japanese are catching up quickly.
They should animate his silicon dolls with fast silicon chips. An external highly sophisticated computer will teach Leah and Kim to speak. In the future, the vagina, mouth and anus will have chips installed that will unleash movement when they are penetrated. Also, movement in their blank, staring faces is of great importance to him. In e-mails people request that their dolls cook, iron and clean. Robots can do all that. But also many women who: