Valley of the (fake) dolls
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“Honey, let’s buy a baby,” I suggested to Husband-Head enthusiastically.
He turned and looked at me as if I’d gone absolutely and completely mad.
“Come on, I saw some on a TV show this morning and I thought it looked like fun,” I continued.
“You mean they’re advertising babies on TV?” Husband-Head said, still looking shocked. “I know people go to Russia or China and other countries to buy babies, but I’d never heard of ordering one on TV. How much are they ” $19.95?”
But wait! If you call now, we’ll include …
However, I wasn’t talking about a real baby. I was talking about a segment I saw on the Today show about these life-sized baby dolls that looked uncannily like real babies. In fact, it was kind of creepy. …
The dolls are called “reborn” babies and reminded me a lot of the women in the 1975 movie “The Stepford Wives,” with realistic-looking skin, eyes and facial expressions. The reborn dolls are handpainted, which even includes little veins and mohair strands that are individually planted in their little heads strand by strand. The bodies are stuffed and weighted so they have the same feeling as a real baby. Some can even come with devices that simulate a heartbeat and breathing.
According to a documentary that aired on BBC America, some women buy the dolls as collector’s items, some buy them to replace babies they lost at birth and some are empty-nester couples whose children have grown and gone.
“That is so WEIRD!” Husband-Head said with disgust. “You might as well stuff your grandpa and prop him up in a rocking chair in the living room, along with your dearly departed stuffed Fido next to the fireplace.”
And these baby dolls aren’t exactly cheap. They run anywhere from $500 to $4,000 and more.
But even their owners admit they’re easier than real babies.
One woman in the BBC documentary claimed that they “never grow out of their clothes, never soil them. It’s just fabulous The only difference, of course, is these guys don’t move.”
Next thing you know, they’ll invent fake baby sitters to sit and take care of the fake babies while the fake parents go out to a fake dinner.
On this particular morning, three women sat on the couch of the Today show studio holding their “reborn” babies.
One was actually feeding it a bottle, and I was surprised she didn’t whip out a boob and start breastfeeding it. … But many of these reborn baby owners put them in strollers and take them for a walk, wash their hair, feed them, dress them, take them shopping and talk to them.
And the dolls are so realistic that, according to the Today Show, police officers in several countries have bashed in car windows to rescue an “infant” they saw strapped in a car seat unattended in a parking lot.
“Let’s get one!” I urged Husband-Head. “I could have so much fun with a doll like that!”
Husband-Head looked disturbed by the whole idea.
“Just think,” I gushed. “For Halloween, you could throw one out of the second story window when someone walked by and totally freak them out! Or you could place one under the front wheel of someone’s parked car. …”
“You’re sick” Husband-Head said, not wanting to hear anything more about the subject.
“And besides, you’re not throwing a $4,000 anything out the second story window.”
But now my imagination had started ” how to have fun with fake babies!
“You could spank it really hard in public or shake it and watch other people look at you in horror,” I went on. “Or you could give it to the dog and let him walk around with it in his mouth. …”
Husband-Head did not agree.
“You’d get arrested and put in a mental hospital,” he said decidedly. “That’s not even funny.”
“It’s a DOLL, for the love of Pete!” I yelled. “It’s not alive! It’s not any different than giving the dogs a cute little stuffed bear to play with!
“Yeah, but we do NOT give our animals $4,000 toys to play with!” Husband-Head yelled.
OK, so maybe $2.99 chewy bones made more sense.
But the idea of grown women playing with dolls still seemed odd to me.
And with that thought, I broke into my “I’m a Little Teapot” act. …
Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice, where you can also purchase her new book “Skully Says Shut It! Life, Love and Laughter With Husband-Head.”
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