In A Nutshell
Some people have unusual relationships with mannequins. There’s Davecat, the man who married a mannequin and has a mannequin mistress because he doesn’t like human inconsistencies. Then there’s Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka, who bought a mannequin to cope with a lost love. When he finally got over the real woman, he decapitated the mannequin. Finally, there’s the story of Cynthia, the mannequin who enthralled a nation as a public celebrity when Life magazine published a photo shoot with her in 1937. Cynthia starred in American movies, had a TV talk show, and was engaged for a short time to a radio star. By the 1940s, her star had faded.
The Whole Bushel
Some people have unusual relationships with mannequins. For example, there’s Davecat, the man who married a mannequin and has a mannequin mistress because he doesn’t like human inconsistencies. There’s actually a word for an extreme, abnormal sexual attraction to a mannequin, doll, or similar object: agalmatophilia. However, Davecat (that’s his videogame name), sees it as “choosing the synthetic option.”
Now in his forties, Davecat bought his wife, Sidore, for approximately $6,000 when he was in his twenties. She’s a Doll, and the capital D signifies that she’s anatomically correct and can be used for sex. Although they’re not legally married, Davecat did give her a wedding band. He’s an iDollator, meaning he views Sidore as a life partner rather than a sex toy. However, they do have an open marriage, which is why Davecat was able to purchase another Doll, Elena, as his mistress. Both Sidore and Elena are bisexual, so they’re also friends with benefits with each other.
Davecat has had relationships with human women, or “organics” as he calls them. However, he’s uncomfortable with making a long-term commitment to an organic who might bail out of the relationship. “A synthetic will never lie to you, cheat on you, criticize you, or be otherwise disagreeable,” Davecat explained to The Atlantic. “It’s rare enough to find organics who don’t have something going on with them, and being able to make a partner of one is rarer still.”
Next, there’s Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka, who bought a mannequin to cope with a lost love. His human lover, Alma Mahler, jilted him when he was fighting in World War I. In a rebound reaction, Kokoschka ordered a life-size replica of Mahler. Six months later, the mannequin was delivered with fur on its arms and legs. “The outer shell is a polar-bear pelt, suitable for a shaggy imitation bedside rug rather than the soft and pliable skin of a woman,” complained Kokoschka. “Even attempting to pull on one stocking would be like asking a French dancing-master to waltz with a polar bear.”
Nevertheless, the artist appeared to develop a relationship with his mannequin, taking her to the opera and painting her as he had done with his human love. When Kokoschka felt that he was finally over Mahler, he threw a lavish party and decapitated the mannequin in his garden.
Finally, there’s the story of Cynthia, the mannequin who enthralled the nation as a public celebrity when Life magazine published a photo shoot of the “starlet” in 1937. Cynthia starred in American movies, had a TV talk show, became a fixture in the fashion world and was engaged for a short time to a radio star.
Cynthia’s creator was Lester Gaba, who began his career as a soap sculptor in Hannibal, Missouri, during the Great Depression. By 1932, he had moved to New York to be closer to the fashion industry and (some say) to director Vincent Minnelli, supposedly his lover. Gaba changed the way mannequins were made, from frightening-looking wax creatures to more human-looking young women. His “Gaba Girls” even had freckles and were designed to model the latest fashions for women.
Then Gaba created Cynthia, the 168-centimeter (5’6″), 45-kilogram (100 lb) mannequin who accompanied him to parties and nightclubs on New York’s social scene. All over America, upscale stores sent Cynthia free clothes and jewelry. She even got a credit card at Saks Fifth Avenue. With Cynthia now a true celebrity, gossip columnists featured her in their columns as though she were alive. By the early 1940s, however, the public had tired of Cynthia and her star faded. Even Gaba admitted that the public fascination with Cynthia hadn’t made any sense. No one knows if she still exists somewhere today.
Show Me The Proof
The Atlantic: Married to a Doll: Why One Man Advocates Synthetic Love
University of the Arts London: Drunken Painter Decapitates Mannequin Lover at Champagne Party
Life: Cynthia the Mannequin: A Curious Star Is Born