For some time now, a few companies in the sex trade have been offering rubber doll rentals. A service that, for want of a better description, has been going down very well indeed â€“ despite the relatively high price and potential hygiene problems.
However, perhaps not surprisingly, this demand for dolls has resulted in the opening of a downtown establishment for silicone sex seekers. The difference being that rather than having the dolls shipped out to customers, LaLa rents out private rooms that are furnished with a bath, toilet, and most importantly, a latex lover.
The shop currently has a staff of 17 ‘ladies’, with a going rate of 12,000 yen (60 pound) for 90 minutes. A price that obviously doesn’t deter many potential customers, as the store’s manager claims that, â€œOn a really good day we get as many as 30 customers.â€ In regards to the kind of patrons LaLa attracts, he says that they â€œage from teens to men in their 60’s. For the most part they appear to be quiet, timid types, who probably feel more at ease with a doll than a young woman. Some bring along shopping bags with a couple of extra costumes. I suppose they enjoy dressing up the dolls and taking snapshots.â€
In an attempt to get the low-down on this burgeoning business, Dacapo magazine sent two intrepid students to try out the service. First up, so to speak, was 21-year-old Hiroshi. Opting to watch a racy video beforehand to get himself in the mood, he was disappointed to find that, â€œAfter I undressed her, I was upset to see that her head hadn’t been properly screwed on.â€ This inauspicious start set the tone for Hiroshi’s rubber rendezvous, and despite a few tender moments, the experience wasn’t an especially good one. â€œI felt something, but it also gave me something of a guilt trip, and I was asking myself, â€˜What am I doing here?’ and I guess at that point I got completely turned off.â€
Not exactly a glowing report for the new service it has to be said, but Hiroshi’s friend Takuya had a slightly more enjoyable experience. Finding himself in a room with a doll dressed as a flight attendant, he wasted no time on the preliminaries, quickly finding out that â€œthere was no problem in the missionary position.â€ However it wasn’t all plain sailing, as â€œwith some of the other positions we tried I had to hold her up, and since she was quite heavy my arms got tired.â€ Not that these minor setbacks slowed Takuya’s progress too much, as he confessed that â€œafter thinking of previous enjoyable experiences, I was finally able to go all the way.â€
Yet with LaLa’s service costing the same as establishments offering real women, coupled with the mixed reactions of the two students mentioned above, the shop might have its work cut out to survive in the long term, despite its early success. Even the temporarily relieved Takuya pondered after his exertions, â€œIt made me realize how futile it can feel to convey love that doesn’t get reciprocated.â€