…be sure to wear some artificial flowers in your hair, Part I

typed for your pleasure on 14 May 2012, at 12.50 am

Sdtrk: ‘Folk window’ by Hair stylistics

Speaking engagements! Everyone does them! From Crispin Glover, to John Waters, to Henry Rollins, to Crispin Glover! That’s both Crispin Glovers, incidentally. Crispins Glover.

Since roughly 2005, various students have come a-callin’, asking if they could get my input as to the nature of being a Doll husband and all that entails. The majority of these students, I find, are usually in the field of either sociology, sexuality, or psychology, which means their questions are pretty salient. One such student, Sarah Valverde, had initiated a conversation back in late 2010, regarding the lack of legitimate research in the medical community concerning iDollators, and asked if I could help. Which I did! It started out as a paper, which caused a bit of a stir with the academics she’d presented it to, as most of her audience had either never heard of high-end ‘love dolls’ such as RealDolls, Sinthetics, etc, and were thinking in the context of inflatables, or they knew what such Synthetik partners were, and weren’t keen on the idea. Some members of the crowd thought it was a fascinating presentation she’d made, however, and her academic partner, Dr Kelly Moreno, proposed that she perhaps take it to the next level. What Kelly had meant by that is essentially putting forth a presentation at the 2012 Western Psychological Association convention, due to take place in San Francisco in April. It would be a coup on multiple levels: for one, as stated before, no significant research in the medical community had ever been done on iDollator culture; also, it’s extremely rare for a subject to actually represent themselves at a psychological presentation; not only would an iDollator be speaking at this thing, but a Doll manufacturer would be there as well, in the form of Matt Krivicke and Bronwen Keller of Sinthetics, and Bronwen would be relating her perspective of being female in a market where most of the consumers are male. We’d be setting trends!
Although they weren’t able to fund my planeticket (or car rental, or hotel fees), I was able to get the appropriate days off work and agreed to meet with everyone in San Fran from 25 to 27 April, for high adventure.

WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL
As my flight from Metro Airport was leaving at 6.15am, I got out of bed at 2am, to leave Deafening silence Plus by 4am. Which would’ve been more effective had I not gone to bed at a wee bit after 10pm Tuesday eve. Why so late? Well, I’m an idiot. Also I was putting together the finishing touches on my speech that I’d been fretting about for the previous month and a half. What I realised early on that I’d do is end up saying mostly the same thing I say whenever I do interviews, as that’s usually what happens anyway. It wasn’t until about a week before leaving that I realised that I wouldn’t have to write a speech per se; all I had to do is jot down some bullet points, and I’d just kinda answer each one, with the least amount of tangentalising possible. At the very least, I figured I’d sleep on the plane. Had I mentioned I’m an idiot?

With a fistful of complimentary mini pretzels and window seats on both my two hour flight from DTW to ATL, and my five and a half hour flight from ATL to SFO, I managed to get halfway through reading A. Ferguson’s ‘The Sex Doll: A History‘, which is rather like a prize fighter listening to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ before a match. Our plane reached our destination a wee bit after noon, and as per the custom of San Franciscan culture, I was presented with a complimentary box of Rice-A-Roni upon entering the terminal. Ripping the top off the box, I poured the contents down my throat, which got me no small amount of applause from the greeters! And with good reason.
I then went to retrieve my rental; I’d asked for a Chevy Aveo, they gave me a Ford Escape (How do people drive those things? They’re massive!), and I’d checked into my room at the Hyatt Regency Burlingame, with its impressive views of that motorway, and whatever that bay is. Ostensibly the plan was to obtain PBShelley, who lives across the bay, and meet up with Matt & Bronwen, as they’d brought up two Sinthetic lasses and were going to do photoshoots of them in the area, get some lunch, etc. Matt & Bronwen were extremely knackered after their drive from SoCal to NoCal, as it lasted longer than they thought it would, and Matt was in the midst of getting a haircut, so they could go do a thing at 5pm. Bronwen advised I join PBShelley, and we’d work from there. So I let him know I was on my way, fired up my the satnav on my Droid, and headed out to pick him up.

One thing I’d noticed about San Fran — really, this could be said of California in general, as it comprises 70% of the west coast of the United states — is that it takes at least thirty minutes to get anywhere, and that’s if traffic is in your favour. Getting from where I was to where he was took about forty minutes, and of course, when you’re in a bit of a hurry and the terrain is unfamiliar, all of that seemed longer. But it was good to finally meet the esteemed PBShelley in person! He’s a writer and fellow iDollator whom I’ve known since at least 2005, and his Synthetik muse-partner would be the ethereal Lily Godwin. We did a bit of catching up while I signed his copies of Still Lovers and Des poupées et des hommes, and after showing me a few minutes of some of this season’s anime series he was watching, he introduced me to Pennie (their adorable black Manx), Soony (their Luts-Delf ball-jointed doll), Eden Gardner (a Britney-type RealDoll face), and Ms Godwin herself. Being made in 2004, she looked initially a bit careworn, but she still has a radiance that reflects the love PBShelley has for her. A lovely couple, to be sure.
As it was quickly approaching the time when Matt & Bronwen had to do the aforementioned Thing, PB Shelley and I figured we’d meet them tomorrow, so we both piled into my rental and headed to San Francisco’s heralded Japantown, for shopping and dinner. On the way there, PB Shelley pointed out various landmarks, such as Alcatraz, the Golden Gate bridge, and the Transamerica Pyramid in its final stages before liftoff. It’s times like that when I wish I wasn’t the driver, so I could’ve gotten still pics and video footage of the surroundings, as I was distracted by this strange new landscape, with its 45° angled roads. So distracted, in fact, that I ran a red. You see, in Michigan and other (relatively) civilised countries, we hang our traffic signals above the road itself, whereas in the greater metropolitan SF area, they simply put them on poles on either side of the road. Which is kinda dumb. But there was no loss of life, and as ‘no cops, no crime’ is one of my credos, we did alright.

Japantown was very impressive! Two Kinokuniyas, a toy store, various other stores offering tchotchkes, a cluster of restaurants, all across six city blocks. If you had combined the enormity of Toronto’s Eaton centre (one of the few malls I’ll actively set foot in) with the Japan-centrism of Arlington heights’ Mitsuwa, you’d have Japantown. If I lived in NoCal, I’d be there every week-end, blowing my hard-earned cash. PBShelley and I spent an inordinate amount of time in the ground floor Kinokuniya, where I picked up a copy of the Kamen rider Official Visual 40th Anniversary book for $19. One of the only strikes I have against Kinokuniya is that all their books are shrink-wrapped, so as to prevent sweaty gaijin hands despoiling the merchandise. Guess that means I have to get back to learning Japanese!…
Japantown in particular is an example of the phrase ‘What is freedom? Slavery of choice’, as it took us nearly ten minutes to select a place to eat from the many restaurants on the second floor, as they all looked really, really enticing. PBShelley recommended Mifune from personal experience, but there was a queue to get in, and if I had to wait any longer than necessary for something to eat — remember, I hadn’t had anything decent in me since driving to Metro Airport — I would’ve gone feral. We settled on Kushi tsuru instead, which had great food at affordable prices, and had a pleasant chat about iDollator culture (onward and upward, depending on your perspective), and the current state of the anime industry (derivative rubbish, depending on your perspective).

Round 9pm, most of the shops were shutting up… shop… so we reluctantly made our way out of there. Even with my Droid’s satnav, I was still pretty much at a loss as to the most effective way to get back to my hotel, so instead of having me drive him all the way back to his place in one direction, then all the way back to the Hyatt in another, PBShelley offered to take the BART back home. Good to actually see him and his for the first time, though! I’m personally spearheading a campaign to get him to move to Michigan, as he knows more iDollators in the tri-state/Ontario, Canada area. Maybe I should turn to Kickstarter.
At some point nearer to the Hyatt, I had tears literally streaming non-stop down my face for about five minutes. Not because of any emotional reasons, mind you; my eyes were just really fucking dry and irritated. Keep in mind I’d been awake several hours without proper sleep, having spent a decent amount of my day in an airborne bus with dry, recycled air. Stinging, gushing eyeballs, ladies and gentlemen. Christ, that was annoying. Almost as annoying as realising that PBShelley had neglected to autograph my copy of Still Lovers. *clenches fist* All the more reason to get him to move to Michigan!

Overall, it was a cracking day, but the whole reason I was in California once again was to take place tomorrow…


At some point, this happened

NEXT UP: A rubbery rhetoric!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Repairs are required / Asylum'd on October 31st, 2010

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (May 2013): Part II on May 23rd, 2013

9 have spoken to “…be sure to wear some artificial flowers in your hair, Part I”

  1. Kat writes:

    Welcome to the place where I was born! I would definitely agree with the recommended places which you visited in Japan town. I could get lost at that bookstore all day.

    Any chance you have business in SoCal?

  2. M writes:

    *sigh* Damnit, we’ll give you a proper visit!

  3. veach writes:

    Wonderfully written advencapade part 1.

    I don’t know why (yes I do) when I read the …rare for a subject to actually represent themselves at… part, I flashed on this scene (from about 2.30). Maybe because I’m a pessiskeptic, but I have difficulty imagining a large quantity of open-minded shrinks (even in that open minded city).

  4. Isabel writes:

    It sounds like you had a great time in San Francisco. I’m just so impressed by your ability to be so open about your lifestyle. My hubby still thinks it’s weird but he’s coming along. I got him from thinking you’re a wacko to saying that you’re a very courageous man. So I see growth there. I’ve been doing some research and the Japanese are gonna have Sidore walking around in no time 🙂 I can’t believe the stop lights in San Francisco are on the sides of the road. I would get into a wreck within 5 minutes in that town. Bless you Davecat and keep doing what you’re doing.

  5. Vfan writes:

    Thank you for represent’in us bro!

  6. PBShelley writes:

    A little late to the party, but at least I’m consistent! DC, you did amazingly well in navigating our city streets (and lights) in that behemoth of a rental. Better than most of the drivers here, anyway 😛

    But you probably sussed that for yourself LOL

    The next time you find yourself on the Left Coast we’ll have to spend a little more time together! There’s a LOT you haven’t yet seen of S.F. @_@

    And KINOKUBIYA DEMANDS MONEYSSS!!!

    Next time 😀

    PBS, Lily & the ladies 🙂

  7. PBShelley writes:

    (EDIT-post-post)Errr… Kinokuniya, evennn~ 😛

  8. Ray Rentell writes:

    Hello Mr Cat.

    And about time you posted something you lazy good for nothing scoundrel
    And yes still fading in and out mysteriously that I am.

    Good to see PBS is still alive and kicking.
    Waves hand at PBS

    And its great to be reading about all your adventures again, if you get time to pop in to ODC sometime thats where I lurk most of the time.

    Regards RR

  9. Davecat writes:

    Kat —
    Good lord. Japantown’s like IKEA; it’s an all-day affair. Next time I’m in your (former) neck of the woods, I’ll be better prepared…

    And you’ll see all about The Business In SoCal with Part II!

    M —
    And next time I’m in your neck of the woods, I’ll let you know! The three Californian Doll manufacturers are in the SoCal/LA-ish area. Which stands to reason.

    veach —
    I find it amazing/amusing that ‘The Elephant Man’, of all things, is on YooChoob. I don’t think David would be too keen on the idea, oddly enough. ssshh, don’t tell him.

    Interestingly enough, when Sarah and I were in the planning stages of the whole symposium visit, originally we were aiming for putting in an appearance at a similar symposium taking place in August in Miami — the APA, I believe. Thankfully, Kelly hit upon the idea of doing the WPA, as San Fran is more open-minded than Florida by far, and it being in the same state as Sinthetics worked to everyone’s advantage. Plus, I can’t even imagine the humidity-laden horrors of being in Florida in August.

    Isabel —
    Thank you, as always, for the kind words, as well as being a buffer/negotiator to your husband! Tell him I’m sure people thought the whole ‘horseless carriage’ thing would be a passing fad, too! On second thought, don’t tell him that.

    I, too, hope the Japanese get Shi-chan up, out, and about! That way she could drive us, and I wouldn’t have to worry about SF’s ridiculous traffic signal placement! 😉

    Vfan —
    Just doing what I can to open minds! DAVECAT: mind-opener. *nods*

    PBS et al —
    I’m glas you thought I did a good job! I’m fairly certain that were that rental not something the size of Delaware, I would’ve been less nervous. But still, no lives were lost! *thumbs up*

    And YES, we need to hang out more/longer! Two and a half days is not enough time to spend with mates, especially if they live on the other side of the nation!
    Of course, you could always migrate to the East coast. There’s a Kinokuniya in Chicago, y’know…

    Ray! —
    Good to hear from you, as always! (Didn’t I say that last time you popped in?) Hopefully you’re keeping your Synthetik lovelies busy with things over there!

    As always, you’re right — I do need to drop round to ODC more often. It’s hard enough for me to keep up with ‘Shouting etc etc’! I’m afraid Shi-chan’s lazyitis is rubbing off on me… Take care, and give Betty et al kisses from the pair of us!

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