Sex dolls, love dolls, blow up dolls. So many names for these women who often “take care” of lonely men.
In Japan, love dolls were known as “Dutch Wives” until a few years ago because during Indonesia’s colonization from 1602, Dutch soldiers had sweaty sheet problems: they so used a bamboo bolster in bed to keep their bodies cool. Due to the lack of their wives, soldiers also needed someone (or something, in this case) to hug through the lonely nights.
“A voyage around the world, during the years 1835, 36, and 37” written by the surgeon William Samuel W. Ruschenberger and published in 1838, describes his stay on the Indonesian island of Java (passed from the Dutch to the British in 1811): “We found our sleeping rooms pleasant. The beds were supplied with an additional hard bolster or pillow whereon to rest the lower limbs, which has obtained the somewhat equivocal name of “Dutch wife”.
These pillows, lately known in Japan as “Dakimakura” (from the Japanese daki “to hug” and makura “pillow”) became really famous and appreciated over the years and slowly took the shape of a real woman.
Love dolls, at first made of used clothes, are older than they seem: also Spanish and French sailors enjoyed their companionship while isolated on the sea for several months.
So next time, walking through Rembrandtplein or the Red Light District, you’ll meet one of these “beautiful” inflatable women, think about how long that piece of vinyl’s history is!