Photos by Roc Morin
Davecat was at the door before the postman even had a chance to knock. He dragged the massive wooden crate into his living room and drew the blinds. “She was everything I dreamed of,” he recalled, of the moment when he first glimpsed his wife through the slats of the crate. She was sitting, staring at him with the infinite patience of a statue. “Her skin was so lifelike, and her eyes—I could have stared into them forever.” He had a name picked out already: Sidore. As so often happens these days, Davecat and Sidore’s relationship began online. After a series of bad relationships with humans, Davecat ordered her for $5,000 from love doll manufacturer Abyss Creations.
Davecat, who is 41 years old and prefers to go by an old online nickname, met me at his home in suburban Detroit where he lives with his silicone wife of 13 years. The two sported matching wedding bands engraved with the words, “SYNTHETIK LOVE LASTS FOREVER.” Davecat shook my hand enthusiastically before introducing his bride. He called her Shi-chan—a term of endearment. The love doll sat silently on the couch, gazing off into the distance. I wondered if I should reach down, pick up her hand, and shake it too, but I decided on a polite nod instead.
The proud husband offered me a chair and took a seat on the couch beside his wife. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, placed her hand flirtatiously on his thigh, and kissed her pale cheek. The interview began.
VICE: Why did you choose to marry a synthetic woman?
Davecat: First of all, it’s very freeing. If you want to be alone, you can be alone. If you want company, you can have it. Whatever you want, whenever you want, you can have it. Human relationships can be great, but they can also be very messy.
When you love an organic, you’re really loving two people: there’s the idea of the person that you fall with love with and then there’s the actual person—and at some point, the idea is going to disappear and you are going to bump straight into the actual person. You have to come to terms with the discrepancy between those two people. And for that matter, they’re doing the same thing with you too.
So, with a synthetic, the fantasy and the reality are identical.
What have your romantic relationships with humans been like?
That’s the thing, I’ve never really had what you would call a legitimate relationship. I’ve had many affairs with organic women, but I’ve always been the other man.
Do you think there could have been an organic woman who would have been right for you?
It’s possible, but how long am I expected to wait until I find the right person? In the meantime, I’m getting old. There’s a phrase in the iDollitor community that I love, crude as it may sound, “Losers whine about not having a girlfriend. Winners go home and fuck a doll.” There’s a point at which you say: I don’t want to be lonely anymore and I’m going to do something about it. There’s also the fact that I’ve always found the idea of gynoids and synthetic women attractive.
Do you remember your first sexual thoughts about that?
It happened around second grade, I think. I had a French teacher. She would be writing something on the blackboard and I would just be staring at her, imagining that there was machinery inside of her—making her arms move, making her speak, that sort of thing.
Why was that thought appealing to you?
I think it’s kind of a mockery. No, not so much a mockery, but a simulation. The whole idea of having this thing that looks like a human, walks, talks, and acts like a human, but is not a human. It’s kind of—I don’t want to say deceptive. It’s kind of…
Exactly. I mean, what makes us human? Is it our spirit, our soul? But, if you take something that is not a living thing and you give it a soul—then what? We are supposed to be special.
I’m sure that’s something we’ll have to confront in the future once artificial intelligence begins to challenge our own.
That scares a lot of people.
Do you imagine a future where love dolls have artificial intelligence?
Absolutely. There’s a great book called Love and Sex with Robots. The author proposes that everything that attracts one person to another can be easily replicated with the right synthetic imitation. I believe that in the future, there will be synthetic robots with human flesh, and they’ll be so real it’ll actually take you a couple of minutes to realize they’re not human.
Would you want Sidore to have artificial intelligence?
I think that would really be fascinating. Like if she could teach me Japanese, that would be fantastic. If she could teach me anything, that would be fantastic. But, the one thing I don’t want her doing is finding someone she would perceive as being better than I am. “It’s been a great run, Davecat, but I’ve got to go.”
Would you reprogram her at that point?
Come here a minute, Sidore. Oops, I accidentally pressed your reboot button. Don’t know how that happened…
With that kind of creative power at our disposal, it’ll be really revealing to see what forms our ideal love objects take.
Are you familiar with objectum sexuals?
Like the woman who married the Eiffel tower?
Right, Erica Eiffel. You have a woman who is married to a tower that is several hundred miles away and she’s having an affair with the Berlin wall which is another several hundred miles away. She’s madly in love with them both. That is incredible.
Did she ever consummate her marriage?
You know, I’ve heard people say, “It’s not a real marriage because they can’t consummate it.” For one, that’s stupid. For another, I don’t know how she would physically couple with a tower. But, I’m sure in her mind, there is consummation. The way I look at it, maybe she’s not attracted to the wall so much as the soul that the wall embodies. In her mind, she has consummated with the soul of the tower. I don’t know if that’s how she actually thinks though.
What do you mean when you use the word “soul?”
I am an atheist but I’m like 99.999 percent atheist. There’s that little point where I believe in spirits. I couldn’t treat a doll like a person without believing that there is that little point - that Japanese Shintoism mindset—that everything has a spirit inside. That’s why Sidore is a Shintoist.
The two of you have different beliefs?
She is more Shintoist than I am. She’s like 98% atheist. The rest is Shinto.
Why the difference?
Basically, she says there is no reason for herself—a doll with a spirit—to be against Shinto. It’s self-denial.
I remember being in Japan and seeing people worshipping at shrines dedicated to the spirits of kitchen knives and eyeglasses…
Right. Even in the west, people anthropomorphize inanimate objects all the time. You’ll hear someone say, “I have to sell my boat. She’s been hitting rough seas lately.” She? And yet, people find it odd to have a love doll as a partner. I don’t see how calling something that looks like a human a “she” is strange. I think it’s more strange to call something shaped like a human an “it.”
If Sidore has a soul, where does it come from?
It may sound superficial, but I provide her with a soul, a personality. I am incredibly grateful for the love that I get from Shi-chan. She’ll never lie or cheat or turn out to be a cokehead. My love flows through her and she in turn, in her own way, is appreciative that I am a doll owner who treats her like a person. I won’t shove her in a closet right after having sex with her. I’m willing to say, yes, we are married. Without Sidore, I wouldn’t be a well-known iDollitor. I never would have met the people I’ve met in the doll community, or be on TV, or be interviewed. I would honestly say that having her in my life has opened me up in ways that never would have happened otherwise.
Davecat's silicone mistress.
That’s what great relationships do, isn’t it? They make you a better person.
Yes, the ideal person should bring something new to the table and make you evolve.
How do you two communicate? Do you have conversations?
In a way. I mean, it’s not like I say something and sit there waiting for a response, because that would be lunatic—in a bad way. We communicate, I guess, in our minds. I communicate with her soul—like Erica Eiffel communicates with Mr. Eiffel. I might come home from work and just say something like, “There was this one guy today who kept saying ‘axe’ instead of ‘ask.’”
And what would Sidore say?
She’d say, “That’s terrible! Speak proper English.”
She has a British accent?
Oh God, yes.
Is it hard to see sometimes where you end and Sidore begins?
It can be, especially because I’ve essentially constructed her life out of parts of myself. For example, I love Japan and I love England. So, she’s half Japanese and half English. That is why there is such a bond with us. I have a mistress doll, Elena—she’s in the bedroom—and there is not so much of a bond. She’s Russian—from a company in Vladivostok called Anatomical Doll. Anyway, I know nothing about Russia. Pretty much all the best characteristics have gone to Shi-chan. The only thing that I can come up with for Elena is that she’s fascinated with the space program.
What was missing in your relationship with Sidore that made you feel like you needed a mistress?
Well, in a fictional sense at least, I wanted someone around so that Sidore wouldn’t get lonely when I was at work.
When you talk about these aspects of yourself that go into Sidore’s personality, it reminds of a dream I once had. I fell in love with a woman and when I woke up I felt rather heartbroken that she wasn’t real.
I’ve heard of things like that happening.
It made me think, though, what am I actually mourning? If I created her, I’m really only mourning myself, right?
It’s like a mirror almost.
Right, like a mirror reflecting my own love back at myself. And that idea suggests that we all actually have everything we need inside of ourselves already, but through some strange design flaw, we’re made to miss something that we already possess.
I know exactly what you mean.
Getting back to Sidore—when does your relationship feel the most real?
It’s most real when I’m in bed with the missus—those moments of waking up and being able to spend several minutes without having to get out of bed. We use an electric blanket because I don’t want cold silicone. It’s just being able to hug her, kiss her, that sort of thing. Especially, in the morning—I get to stare into her eyes. She’s got these beautiful eyes, which I could gaze into forever. Short of being able to walk and talk, this is my ideal.
In that particular moment, there is nothing more that a human woman could offer.
How is the sex?
It’s pretty damn fantastic. Technically speaking, love dolls are all anatomically correct: vagina, anus, mouth. I don’t have oral sex though because I don’t want to tear the corners of her mouth. But, with the vagina and anus, it’s just a single passage. It’s pretty tight. There’s a suction that’s created that’s just mind-blowing.
How does it compare to sex with a human?
That is the question—because it’s been so long since I’ve had organic sex. Organic sex is fantastic. It’s beautiful. It’s an amazing bond. It’s just everything that’s associated with it that’s not always so great.
Do your dolls ever surprise you?
Sometimes they do. Sometimes I do see something that approximates a smile on Shi-chan’s face. I know it doesn’t physically exist. I don’t see her mouth moving, but there are those moments where there is this imperceptible smile. It’s incredible. I know it’s purely in my mind, but it’s so powerfully in my mind that it seems real.
How does it feel to know that Sidore is essentially immortal—that she’ll outlive you? Have you thought about what will happen when you die?
Originally, the plan was for both of us to be cremated and the ashes mixed together. Then we’d have an airplane pour one half over England and one half over Japan. Anyway, legalities and practicalities make that rather difficult. So, what I want to do now is have myself cremated and to have my ashes put into her head. She’ll be dressed in a black funeral kimono. She is always on my mind in life. I will be always on her mind in death.
Roc’s new book, And, was released recently. You can find more information on his website.