Doll Closet: Day Four
Streaming Footage Part One
Streaming Footage Part Two
Davecat Skype and Jesse + Mahtek Call-in Transcription
(timecode from Streaming Footage Part Two)
AMBER: Davecat, I can see some light moving.
DAVECAT: How’s it going?
AMBER: That was so good, I saw some light moving just in time.
DAVECAT: Yea, do you need anymore, because I could probably add just a little bit more.
AMBER: Yea, if you could adjust it just a little bit more, that would be perfect. And you know what? Your headset mic is in the perfect place, so thank you for that.
DAVECAT: Excellent. All right, I’ll be right back. See, the misses is in bed and won’t actually get up and do some of this stuff for me, so it’s like I could be sitting here having her wait on us.
AMBER: Well, and there’s two others who apparently aren’t helping.
DAVECAT: (sighs) Doll’s man. What are you going to do? Be right back.
AMBER: Ok, sounds good.
DAVECAT: All right, better?
AMBER: Oh my gosh, that’s perfect. Ok, so I am going to…
DAVECAT: Check to see if audio is still running on my recording devices which it seems to be.
AMBER: Awesome, I totally appreciate that you’re recording on your end, that really helps us.
DAVECAT: Not a problem. I mean, it makes sense, so. (Holds up too phones to the screen)
AMBER: Look at you. Ok, Davecat, so here’s the funny thing about me talking to you. I am looking at you on this Livestream computer. Does that make sense from last year when you were in New York with me?
DAVECAT: Oh, yes.
AMBER: So what I’m doing is I’m looking at the Livestream computer and then behind the Livestream computer is this live, beautiful audience.
DAVECAT: Awesome, see if I had found out I was going to be in front of a live studio audience I would really have made more effort to actually be in New York.
AMBER: I know.
DAVECAT: Hello audience.
AMBER: Oh, they all say hello. It’s lovely and of course we’re livestreaming and Ren is here who you haven’t gotten to see in a picture and you know, you can picture him from last year.
DAVECAT: Yea. Hello, Ren.
AMBER: Ren waves back.
DAVECAT: Got ya.
DAVECAT: And hello, Amber.
AMBER: Oh, hi. I wish you could see me but what I’m going to do is just like show you the uploaded Vimeo live stream footage later tonight. The other thing I want to mention to you but I think you already know this from following along is that there’s been a transcriptionist working on transcribing all of these conversations. So far I’ve only been chatting with Jesse, as I think you know. But what you say will be typed up.
DAVECAT: Yea, I kind of like got a chance to look over like the skinny basically of all three days.
DAVECAT: And some things that I’ve seen, that’s like, wow, I hope you got to like sit down and read this stuff because it’s…
AMBER: Yea, it’s really quite long. One of the days Jesse and I chatted for like an hour and fifteen minutes. He really got into the closet as a metaphor, which we’re going to talk about a little bit more today.
AMBER: But yea, I just kind of wanted to check in with you about, not how you’re entire year has been since we did Lolita since we’ve been emailing, but how it felt to perform in Lolita last year and then call into Doll Closet. It’s been awhile.
DAVECAT: Yea, it’s been about a little under a year, I’d say. Well, I mean, between this year and last year, yea, that was…I hope this a regular thing. Like, ok what’s Amber’s project going to be for 2215, you know.
AMBER: Oh my gosh, well I’ll tell you what it is. And if Cred and Camp are watching than they can know that I have something in mind with them.
DAVECAT: Oh ho, ho, ho. I think I have a vague idea, but I will not say anything. But if it’s what I’m thinking it is, that will be pretty awesome.
AMBER: And Dotty. But I’ll just leave it there. Ok.
DAVECAT: Ok. Well, um, I don’t know. Having been a part of the Sidore (ind), is there an official title for it. Is it Sidore/Mark 2 plus Heather equals Lolita or…
AMBER: Yea, I didn’t deal with the equal sign in the way that you are interpreting it, but I appreciate that you used it.
AMBER: I just usually say “Sidore Mark II, Heather Lolita” basically.
DAVECAT: There we go. Got it. I mean my involvement in that was I think well hopefully it was useful but I think it was pretty impressive.
DAVECAT: I actually enjoyed working in that context. Because it was really interesting, ‘cause it was just like, in like the context of like re-purposing a doll’s whole body into something brand new and more transformative. I mean, I don’t want to like, use a cliché here, but it’s very Phoenix-like.
AMBER: Yea, totally.
DAVECAT: That was just like, come on, to reduce it to it’s base terms, it was fun. It was fun being able to do that. It was fun being able to like, work with you. It was fun going to New York. And fun being able to like actually get a second life out of Sidore’s body.
AMBER: Yea. Out of her torso, right. Do you still have her calves?
DAVE: Uh, the calves? What did I do with those? No, those, I think you have those, actually. Yea, because the ones here, those are from loveable doll. Or Night Horse rather.
AMBER: Um, I don’t know Davecat because I had Sidore/Mark II’s torso and then one of her calves, but not the other and there was like a thigh missing too. There were some leg parts that you kept. Remember?
DAVECAT: Yea, well the leg parts actually I had ended up getting rid of.
DAVECAT: Um, I mean cause basically, yea, when I gave like Mark II to you, uh, it was just like the head—well, the head was missing—I still have the head. Um, everything from the waist down was pretty much, I just got rid of it, because it was just—
AMBER: All right. Because I was going to ask you if you could quickly run and get them if they were handy because it would be fun to have the pieces of Sidore/Mark II present with, uh, you’re not watching the livestream now, but I know that you will be and I’m pointing right now—there’s a thirty second delay to other people who are watching—but, eventually you’ll see the pieces of Heather who’ve been present for the, what I call the attentive reconstruction of the Doll Closet that Jesse made in the ‘90s. So, Heather’s actual pieces are present for the building of the replica of the closet where she lived for fifteen years.
AMBER: And I was thinking it’d be fun if you had the pieces of Sidore to bring them out and it could be a little virtual reunion.
DAVECAT: Yea, yea actually I could. Um, I’m trying to think of where exactly, because I know exactly where the head is. In fact, let me go do that right now. I’ll be right back.
AMBER: Awesome. (Clapping)
AMBER: Thanks, Davecat. (31:48)
DAVECAT: Not a problem. (Davecat exits and returns with head) There we go. Can you see her?
AMBER: Yea, is that Mark II?
DAVECAT: That is Mark II’s head, yea.
AMBER: Oh my gosh. I’m so excited. That is so super awesome that she was that accessible.
DAVECAT: Literally the head is sitting on our bedroom shelf.
AMBER: Oh my god, I’m so into this. I want to--Ok, I want to do something really quickly. Would it be distracting for you for me to remove the tape from the camera?
And you’ll see a little bit of the live audience but I really want to show you just like Heather’s hand really quick.
DAVECAT: Ok, go for it.
AMBER: Ok. Well, mostly because I want to show Heather’s hand to Shidore.
DAVECAT: Oh nice. Ok, cool.
AMBER: Ok, so get ready. There’s my torso.
DAVECAT: I love torso. I love—wow, that’s a big house.
AMBER: Do you, Davecat, do you want the hand with the wire with the pokey(?)
Or without the pokey?
DAVECAT: We’ll go without the pokey.
AMBER: OK. She’s missing one fingernail but…
DAVECAT: That will happen. Especially dolls that age.
AMBER: I know, 1998.
DAVECAT: Oh wow.
AMBER: Hello. (Holding Heather’s hand up to screen) I feel like their energy is connecting.
DAVECAT: They are definitely connecting.
AMBER: Ok, good. Well, it’s awesome to have her here.
DAVECAT: You should have let me know ahead of time. I would have gotten a little better set up.
AMBER: Oh, but I like to surprise you.
DAVECAT: Fair enough.
AMBER: But I also didn’t really think of it until we were chatting. All right, so a few things I wanted to check in with you about because we have until 4:40 or so to chat and it’s 4:16—
AMBER: Um, I was hoping because I’ve never really asked you this, well I have in person but not in a way where I’ve forced you on the spot like this about your role as the kind of archivist for our community. And I was struck by your email to me today that said that you need copies of course of Doll Closet for archival purposes and I was hoping that you could talk a little about how awesome it is that you have such a deep library there. In your apartment right?
DAVECAT: Yes, it is literally, the uh, without giving too much away, the archive as it were is located within arm’s distance of where I’m sitting right now. Um, it is basically compiled of, of course when I’m using synthetics I use that in the context of dolls, human robots(?) mostly female, some male, anything pretty much along those lines. Like, any synthetics which I can get my hands on, I will like almost obsessively collect and put in these archives. The reason for that initially started because, you know, for personal reasons. All these dolls, all these dolls are really attractive, I look at them, I have sex with them but it got to the point where like it was almost a running joke where I was calling myself archivist but then I realized like yea, I really am an archivist sort of thing. I’m trying my damndest to keep, in order to keep on top of of stuff. Like you know, as a matter of fact I got, this morning, I want to say, or off the top of my head like 840 new photographs a couple of dolls and I’m like, yea I’m going to rename those probably some day or something.
AMBER: Wait, you got them from other people in the community or?
DAVECAT: Hmm’mm. I’ll tell you this, like every day, at least once a day I want to say at least, like off the top of my head, at least 20 different sites that I check like Japan, England, the United States, um, couple other countries of like various people’s dolls, basically checking to see like you know, ok, are there any new photos up? You know, what companies have sales going on, what companies are bringing out new heads, new bodies, etc, etc.
AMBER: I see.
DAVECAT: And all that stuff I collect. And this again extends into like not just dolls but like robots, there’s like the new (ind) that Toshiba called Shikito Iko, so basically like any photos I can collect off the internet, any videos, documents, transcripts: hint, hint, and uh—
DAVECAT: It comes in handy. You know because a large part of this I think, well there obviously is history to synthetics I mean, I’ll run things by people like, oh well you know dolls have been around technically speaking since 1970—the late 70s I would say, I wish I knew that exact date, but um.
AMBER: Well, I’m really, I’m not going to interrupt you in a rude way, but maybe you’ll interpret it in that way, but I’m going to stop you there, and just say that I really enjoyed that part of our conversation from last year, when we talked about the difference in bodies, so we had Heather from 1998, and what year was Shidore Mark II from?
DAVECAT: Mark II was from about 2003.
AMBER: So that was nice to compare, even just the tin silicone from those different years, it was so strange. I was actually just reviewing that the other day, and remembering cutting Heather open and now I sit here with her pieces and the hardware is too the right the right of you. My right, Davecat. You’ll see on Livestream when you watch it.
AMBER: Of the computer where you’re being broadcast. She’s so rusty.
DAVECAT: Yea, yea. It’s , there’s just so many, and again this where archiving comes in handy because you can see the progression of you know how dolls used to be made verses how dolls are made now. A lot of companies used steel joints and now it’s stainless. I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me. And, but you know…you’ll let if you, really archives, I mean my archive serves the same purpose as any archive, to know a history you have to have evidence. We’ll like look back on how things were verses how they are now. (38:56) It’s fascinating.
AMBER: Well, and I don’t know if you’ve been following along because I know that you dislike Facebook, but I’ve been posting doll closets, images of doll closets. And so far it’s been Cred, who’s are especially sexy. There’s some dolls dressed in Home Depot aprons.
DAVECAT: Ah, yea, there a little—
AMBER: And then Mahtek sent some images of the doll closet that he had in his old home where it’s the sliding mechanism. And um, oh my gosh Seige posted some pictures, Ace posted some pictures.
AMBER: So, I don’t know, I’ve been, as you know especially interested in the spaces where people keep their dolls this year. And with Jesse thinking of the closet as a metaphor but some of why I was interested in having you call in is that you’ve been part of my work for a decade, but also because you don’t keep your dolls hidden, right? They’re out in your house, and you’re also really out about being a doll owner. Am I correct that you still describe yourself as a synthetics advocate?
DAVECAT: Oh yes, definitely. Definitely.
AMBER: So I just kind of wanted to offer a little counter to all of the closet talk that we’re up to.
DAVECAT: Closet vs. out of the closet: that sort of thing.
DAVECAT: Well it’s, I mean, I guess on some level you could say on some level that Cicon, Lenka, and Miu Miu are in a closet of a fashion, but if you define our flat being a closet, because I don't take them out of our apartment. They you know, don’t leave the apartment except for Dollstock, which I missed that again.
AMBER: I know, I was so bummed to miss you at Dollstock. And you know that Ren came?
DAVECAT: Yea, you know, honestly it sucked. Because it was just like the way things were, it was mostly I want to say the weather because we were going to go but it was just going to be way too expensive to do it. So, next year…
DAVECAT: Damn it.
AMBER: Well, we’ll be there. I’m trying to get everyone to change the location though because as great as it is to go to Fim Firm Feather, um, I don’t know I feel like we can switch it up a little bit and get some different backgrounds.
DAVECAT: Exactly, exactly.
DAVECAT: And then there’s always Dollapalooza as well.
AMBER: Yea, Dollapalooza in L.A. which is where I met Jesse and we haven’t talked about that in this performance but um, we talked about it a little last year when we all called in together.
DAVECAT: Yea, and that was fun. Because even just like bringing him back into the fold it was just really stunning to me. It was like yea he hasn’t really done anything in the community since ’98 and then things happen. He was trying to repair Heather, that didn’t work out. He got himself a synthetic and now he’s back.
AMBER: Yea. And we’re glad for it.
DAVECAT: Yes. Oh, and happy belated birthday, Jesse.
AMBER: I know, and he’ll hear it. He’s been watching the Livestream intimate—like, he’s watched all of it so far, which is awesome. Oh my gosh, that’s right because last year we got to wish him a happy birthday together, as we disassembled Heather, which is—
DAVECAT: Exactly, it’s just like happy birthday, here’s Heather in pieces.
AMBER: Yea. So Davecat do you, as the kind of archivist of our community, do you have any stories to share about—well, actually I’m curious because I haven’t asked you, what was it like to be out for the first time as a doll owner, because you were kind of one of, one of the early community members. Like, how would you interpret that, like how did you check in with people in those early days?
DAVECAT: Well, things were a little simpler back then, I want to say, like almost fifteen years ago. Um, instead of the main forums that people are aware of now, the main forum back then was RDOL, Real Doll Owners Lovers, and I was on that forum like pretty much like every day just hanging out talking with people, learning about like what to do with dolls, how to lift them, how to dress them that sort of thing.
AMBER: And what year was this, Davecat?
DAVECAT: This would have been about like, well, I started saving up for the misses about 1999 and she came into my life about 2000.
AMBER: So you and Jesse were both on RDOL?
DAVECAT: Yes, as a matter of fact—
AMBER: Sorry, did you know each other virtually?
DAVECAT: I want to say that we did I don’t recall because it’s been so long. But yea, I’m sure that we had spoken on more than one occasion.
AMBER: Can you move your microphone just a little bit away from your mouth again? Sorry to be picky about that.
DAVECAT: Oh, no problem. Audio.
AMBER: Also, I like bossing you around.
DAVECAT: (Laughing) I know it.
AMBER: So who else was on RDOL that’s in our community now? Screen name wise, obviously.
DAVECAT: Oh, well, jeeze, well, Mahtek joined a little afterwards. See that’s the thing a lot of people from RDOL, I know there are a couple people who basically were on it and then when people starting getting dolls from other companies—
DAVECAT: Left. Because, well like the whole point of RDOL is just for, well the first two letters are RD, Real Doll, you know, there’s other dolls. We don’t want to be involved. Which didn’t make a lot of sense to be, but um, there’s a couple There’s Tarn, who still runs Cover Doll, and –
DAVECAT: Yea, Cover Doll actually uh, Sidore had made an appearance in Cover Doll twice. The first time was like October 2000.
AMBER: Well, I remember finding Cover Doll when I was first discovering all of the different platforms for images of dolls in 2005. So, that was one of my first stops. But, um, so it sounds to me like you were on RDOL before Sidore arrived. Is that right?
DAVECAT: Yea, to do research—
AMBER: So there was no period of your doll life where you weren’t connecting with other people about it?
DAVECAT: Correct, correct. I mean, just like basically me being in that community was just for me to find out like exactly how to interact with dolls, how to handle them. Doll training is a way to put it. And like just basically how to (ind). Um, it was interesting because like back then I identified as a technosexual, a robosexual, whatever. I hadn’t decided what the proper term was, and no one else had.
AMBER: Say it again, technosexual or what’s the other term?
DAVECAT: Or robosexual. You know.
DAVECAT: Basically sexually attracted to robots.
DAVECAT: Um, when I first looked up about the Real Doll, it was real interesting because I had been on ASFR, back in the Usenet days, which is you know for you youngsters basically what existed before the internet. It was the internet—
AMBER: So, remind us what the acronym stands for.
DAVECAT: Yes. ASFR stands for Alt Sex Fetish Robots. And basically the Usenet was like it’s really kind of hard to describe, where as the internet is kind of like watching—contemporary internet now is really like watching television because you can like select what shows—
DAVECAT: Usenet was more like a filing cabinet. A vast series of filing cabinets. You just open it up and it’s “Oh, here’s a picture of, you know, sexy robot.” That sort of thing. And you know the various (ind) of media, the various sites and one of them was alt sex fetish robots. And what’s interesting to me was when I first got into basically the doll scene, there wasn't like a unification between like ASFR, like you know people who were attracted to robots, and people who were attracted to dolls. It’s like—
DAVECAT: They are usually exclusive groups. And uh, as I’ve learned over the course of my existence as a doll owner, just because someone’s attracted to dolls doesn’t mean they’re attracted to robots, and vice versa.
AMBER: But um, I’m struck by the fact that you found the community before you received your doll which is something I did also but that the kind of outness of your doll ownership started prior to you actually owning Sidore so I’m wondering how long—I think I know the answer to this, but I want to, I want to ask you here and put you on the spot in this way, to everyone in your life outside of the community about being attracted to (audio fuzz) or however you may identify now, and about your doll ownership, now that you have three dolls by the way, sir.
DAVECAT: I know. Three and counting. Three and counting. Um, I’m trying to remember when I like personally came out along those lines, to people. A large part of it was so many of my friends know that I’m unusual, weird, whatever—
AMBER: What? What do you mean? In what way?
AMBER: In what way? What would they say about you if you were here?
DAVECAT: Well just like that I’m into, like, similar to say, like a lot of my friends, most of them are into like Japanese animation, you know. So there’s always something where it was like I was always on the look out for like animation or any shows, or any media I guess you could say among other things that had to do with gynoids which of course are female robots. And they’re like, oh that’s what he’s into and I think somebody asked are you turned on by robots, Davecat? And I’m like ‘yea, I don’t know what part of that you didn’t pick up on.’ Yea. So. And just, they just know that, I mean like when I was younger I used to paint all of my nails and I used to wear eyeliner and that sort of thing so they’re just like, oh that’s just Davecat and how he does things.
AMBER: Let me stop you there because we’ve been talking a lot about fingernail polish in this performance.
DAVECAT: Yea, and how Heather had the missing finger on that one--
AMBER: Well, I’m going to, I’m going to take the camera off again, rather than tape off the camera to show you my terrible manicure right now. Look. Pink.
DAVECAT: Well it probably started out as a great manicure and then you started working with building a door.
AMBER: I know this is what I’m trying to tell you I can’t even explain how table saws, are you kidding me? I used a table saw, a circular saw, an angle grinder.
AMBER: I can’t even list all the tools and none of them have been happy on my fingernails but that’s some of what Jesse and I have been talking about is um, we had, oh, you and I also had this chat. We were sort of unpacking Lolita and the experience of performing together for that, that last December, and we were talking a little about the novel, Lolita and the status of captivity—
AMBER: And Jesse and I started chatting about gender and that time and he said that he really wanted to paint his fingernails and I knew that I’d be driving from Iowa to New York because I have a car that lives in Iowa that I use each summer. So I knew that I’d be driving through Ohio and I suggested that we just get together and paint our nails. He’s listening right now, I’m sure, so, hi. Hi Jesse. (50:24) We talked about this a few days ago so I don't mind sharing this story with you. Um, anyway I think I made a joke, like, you know, like let’s just do it. I tried to be a little bit flirty in like a friend way.
DAVECAT: Kind of spur of the moment, yea.
AMBER: Yea. And he said that he didn’t feel comfortable with that, that it’s not so much that he wants to paint his nails as they are now but that he’s a little bit interested in being reincarnated and he described then over chat wanting to be reincarnated as a hot lesbian. So, I remember then answering—
DAVECAT: I don’t blame him.
AMBER: Answering that I hope we meet in that life time as someone who identifies as a queer fat femme, so you know, we were just having fun with this conversation that started about nail polish but it’s come up in Doll Closet also because yesterday Jesse was explaining when he watches the live stream and he can see that I’m really struggling with a tool, which according to Ren is probably 100% of the time here (they both laugh) um, he said that he just wishes that he could be here and he wishes that he could help me. And I love how he said it, it was so sweet, it just felt full of care. And I realized in that moment that that’s how I feel when Jesse talks about wanting to paint his fingernails or some of the other gender stuff that we’ve been talking about that seems to fit on the transfeminne spectrum and um, yea, so—
DAVECAT: You just want to be there and help out a friend in that context.
AMBER: Well, it feels like we both have skills in areas that the other um, desires and so some of what we’re doing in this performance is I think sharing those skills to the extent that it’s possible and in really, really, really different ways, but I’ve now gone onto a really long monologue having stopped you about the fact that you painted your nails in high school. So I want to talk to you a little bit about what that was. I think of you as a little bit goth.
DAVECAT: Yea, it wasn’t so much high school, this would have been like college. Like the ‘90s, the early 90s. Lord knows that was a long time ago. But I remember distinctly, this was back before I moved out of my parents’ house for the first time which would have been 1998.
AMBER: Oh my gosh, ’98. That’s the year that Heather was acquired and that’s the year I graduated high school.
DAVECAT: This is why I like working—among one of the reasons why I like working with you because there’s all these like disparate things that you like, that exist, but then you make these connections between them, and it’s just like I didn’t really think of that, my god, she’s completely right. We’re all linked by, in these instances, these coincidences. I mean that’s…so there you go, there’s another compliment for you. Well done.
AMBER: Thank you. I’m glowing and grinning as a Leo.
DAVECAT: It is entirely true, though.
AMBER: OK, so ’98, you’re still at your parents house: go.
DAVECAT: I don’t live with my parents, well it’s like I moved out around ’98 but basically what I was doing around that time was that I didn’t have the courage to just buy like a thing of nail polish ‘cause I was still with my father and he would have been like, ‘No, um that’s unacceptable.’ That sort of thing so I spent a lot of Saturdays hanging out with one of my friends, Mike. We were making music together at the time, and uh, basically just sitting around brainstorming for songs, just screwing around playing video games, that sort of thing. Half making music, half making video games. I just basically, just picked up one of his sharpies and started drawing on my nails with a black sharpie.
AMBER: Oh my gosh.
DAVECAT: Yea. And it looked like crap, as it would. But then it just progressed from there like I said later that year I moved out into one of our mutual friends homes and I was just like well screw it, I’m just going to buy some nail polish.
DAVECAT: And uh, a large part of it now is just like being able to be comfortable at my job and to be able to just like paint the other nine nails but you know I’m getting away with like one nail which you, there you go, good reflection.
AMBER: Oh my gosh, is it silver?
DAVECAT: It is silver it is almost the exact shade of silver that my misses wears.
AMBER: Oh. ‘Cause I noticed Sidore’s nails when we um, remember in 2012 when I went to your apartment
AMBER: And we have that nice picture of me and Sidore on the sofa. I remember her nails that day. What was the name of that very first color that you bought in whatever it would have been, 98 or 99?
DAVECAT: Well I’ve always worn black because it goes with everything. Very slimming color. But I guess I’ve always painted this uh, I guess nowadays you would call it the accent nail, but my ring finer I just realized I used to do it on my left but I was supposed to be doing it on my right, I always painted it silver.
DAVECAT: And the reasons behind that without getting into too long of detail is I used to really, really (ind) on Pen and Teller. Pen Jilette, I don’t know if he still does because I haven’t kept up with them in awhile but Pen Jilette used to paint his right ring finger nail red.
AMBER: Oh, I didn't know that.
DAVECAT: Yes. And he said, basically when people would ask him- the first time he had asked, basically the first time someone had asked him why do you paint your nail red and of course his response was ‘if I told you, I’d have to kill you.’ There have been various speculations, rumors as to why he paints his nail red but the prevailing one is that he’s an illusionist and he’s constantly using his hand and if you as an audience member are constantly getting distracted by that red nail, you’re not really paying attention to his hands.
DAVECAT: So I just thought it was a really cool thing because it’s kind of a devious thing to do. ‘Oh my gosh a man with nail polish. What’s he doing?’
AMBER: It is a deviant thing to do, isn’t it?
DAVECAT: Yea, you know. It’s fun.
AMBER: What kind of deviant, what kind of deviance do you think it is for you? Specifically?
DAVECAT: The nail?
AMBER: But, are you commenting on, I guess when you said it was your ring finger I wondered if it was the symbol of some kind of union between you and Sidore, some kind of public-- I know that you also wear a wedding band.
DAVECAT: Yea, now that you mention that it was kind of cool because it was like oh, straight line down the nail, the wedding band. But then I realized now I do it on this finger and I think I was doing it for awhile, because I hadn’t been doing it for awhile and it was just like yea, a third ring finger, it’s got to be this one because it’s easier for me because I’m right handed.
AMBER: Oh yea, that’s the other thing about nail polish is when you’re applying it.
DAVECAT: Maybe that’s why Jesse was like you know what I don’t want to do this because it’s just going to be a mess and that’s where you would step in.
AMBER: Oh my gosh, I know. Hopefully that still happens. Hey, so can you tell me a little about when you first did a doll meet up and met other doll owners in person?
AMBER: What year would that have been?
DAVECAT: That was, that would have been, I basically-- very short story. I moved out of my parents’ in 98 and lived with a friend moved out with the misses into my own place, got a house, and then moved back in with my parents around 2003. So this would have been around 2003 the very first time I met up with other dolls and that actually was Mahtek.
AMBER: I think I did know that.
DAVECAT: Yea, cause it was cool cause basically I was back at my parents being plenty miserable, as one would be, I had been, I was spending a lot of time on the doll forum at the time and I can’t remember exactly how I learned that Mahtek was living about 15 minutes away from my parents house. I was just like, ‘Dude, let’s get together and have coffee, talk about doll stuff.’ And he was like, yea, let’s do it.
AMBER: That’s how Cred and Camp, right? They met online and then found out later that they lived really close.
DAVECAT: Yep. And we just met at a coffee theater over at nine miles Woodward which no longer exists, don’t try to look for it.
DAVECAT: And uh, we spent like three hours just talking about dolls. Like holy crap, it’s really neat to actually finally meet you in person because we, we’d known each other for a while online but it was just neat. It was very cool.
AMBER: Yea. Oh my god.
DAVECAT: So we met a couple times. We met up with, at some point we met TJ (ind) who is you know Sandy guy.
AMBER: Wait, are we talking about CJ?
AMBER: OK, cause we only have a few more minutes together and I wanted to make sure to do something that CJ asked me to do while we were together and I’m looking in my phone for it which you’ll see later when you watch the livestream. So, CJ has asked me to read something since he can’t—he can’t be around a phone privately today and he, unlike you is anonymous about his doll ownership—uh, let’s see. So, so also you’ve seen the pictures and everything on ODC but people tease him of what is a shrine for his dolls. It’s so epic.
AMBER: Like all the shelving and it’s so brightly colored and amazing.
DAVECAT: The misses is always like you know I’ve got some clothes but I don't think any doll on the face of the earth has as many clothes as Sandy does.
AMBER: It’s unreal. So what I’m doing right now is kind of going through my phone to find this thing that he’s asked me read. Ok, so here it is and maybe you can help flesh it out for us. So, um he says, ‘Hi Amber. Thanks for the compliments.’ I wont’ explain what it was. But I think you can imagine. ‘Again I’m really sorry I’m not available for the phone-in. I really would have liked to participate in that. But you can use—but if you can use a little written description, I can tell you a little bit of why and how the room became the way it is.’ And the pictures are on the Facebook event for Doll Closet.
AMBER: Ok, so, he says, ‘When Sandy was on order it really felt like quote someone was on their way here.’ Which I totally remember. ‘And I felt like making a place that’s her own. It was inspired by other doll closet hits I saw. I wish I could remember who but I can’t right now. But someone’s photos of their doll closet really stood out. It had a space for some clothes, some accessories, some wigs, some care items. You get the idea. I thought this looks nice and cozy. A special place just for his doll. I thought I’d like to do the same. I intended to make her room resemble a girl or young woman’s room.’ That's in quotes. ‘Complete with plush animals, souvenir trinkets from places we’ve been’--which is awesome—a shelf top table for a vanity mirror, lamp and other such things. There’s also a small bookshelf with some books, she even has some Playgirls for when she’s quote alone. (1:01:30) LOL. Over the years, as we came across more and more neat stuff in her room and it grew to become a busy looking room or quote shrine it has become now you’ll notice a few of her pics in the link I sent you are called summer, fall, and so on. We decorate her room seasonally. One year, a few years ago, my dear wife—I’ll not mention the name—and I were at a store looking on and she spotted these really nice mini patio lanterns and she suggested those would be nice in Sandy’s room. I liked the idea and we ran off with it to include some flower garland, which is also really striking.’ And Ace has flower garlands too also in his cabinet.
DAVECAT: Yea, I’ve seen that. That’s a pretty cool cabinet. Well, they’re all cool cabinets. But go on.
AMBER: As the seasons progressed we found other light and garland to suit each season: one for each season, plus Christmas. Since we don’t take Sandy outside she can share the seasons with a bit of seasonal themed garland.’ Um, CJ and then there’s an emoji as part of the sign off. So, oh, our alarm is going off and I feel bad about it because there’s so much else to talk about.
DAVECAT: We’re out of time but thanks for participating!
AMBER: (laughing) Not even like that I just feel when we get to talking we really get to talking so I set an alarm because looking back at Lolita to prepare for Doll Closet, I can’t even tell you I mean there was just like something out of those two days like ten full hours of dialogue between us. Which was great, you know, we have a lot to say to each other.
DAVECAT: It is. Every time we have a lot to say to each other. There’s never enough time.
AMBER: Is there anything you want to add to Doll Closet while we have you in your lovely Skype presence?
DAVECAT: Oh my god, you know people always ask that and I never know what to say. Um, keep up the good work.
AMBER: Oh, well. A compliment.
DAVECAT: Well, in addition to that no, I think it is, I think much like what—I don’t remember what I told you in that email that you sent to me-- I think it’s fantastic that you’re actually doing this because it’s you know, the whole concept of you like having a closet as a metaphor for like basically doll owners coming out of the closet and being able to say yes, I’m proud of my doll, she’s my companion, she’s you know, something, I adore, I think it’s fantastic and I hope it really does inspire a lot of other doll owners to say you know this is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s perfectly normal, it’s perfectly fine, fantastic and something that brings happiness to us. That’s the goal
AMBER: You know…
DAVECAT: So keep up the good work.
AMBER: Well, thank you. I have follow up things to say to you that I feel interested in saying now, I’m stopping myself so what I’m going to do is I’m going to hang up our Skype with main and them I’m going to hop on the phone and call Jesse. It sounds like he’s driving to a carwash as an excuse for why he’s leaving. (Davecat laughs) So we might actually hear the audio of the carwash. And if you want to join us by watching the live stream you’re obviously welcome to but I’ll follow up over email or text, OK?
DAVECAT: Definitely, definitely.
AMBER: Oh, thank you so much Davecat.
DAVECAT: OK, thanks Amber for including me and tell Heather I said hi and I’ll tell the misses, Ariel, and Lanka that you said hi.
AMBER: Ok, well all right. Bye.
DAVECAT: Take care, bye. (1:05:00)
AMBER: I’m getting a text. Can you give me a couple of minutes?
AMBER: Hi Jesse.
AMBER: How are you?
JESSE: Whoops, ok.
AMBER: You’re ok?
JESSE: Yea. I dropped something out of my shirt pocket.
AMBER: Oh no, what did you drop?
JESSE: My recorder.
JESSE: But, yea I’m just getting ready to leave and not going to a carwash. Because I’m home, uh, hold on.
AMBER: Do you have a really big front pocket?
AMBER: Is it like one of your work shirts?
JESSE: No, it’s a sweatshirt but normally my iPhone stays in it because of the silicone case and it stays tucked into the shirt that doesn’t slip around it.
JESSE: Yea, the recorder that I have is my actually my old PDA that I used to use 10 years ago for business and whatever, it doesn’t have a cover on it. It’s just plastic.
AMBER: Right, and that will slide right out of a dress shirt. Is it ok now?
JESSE: I’ve got a little time to talk and…
AMBER: How much time do you have?
JESSE: I’m supposed to be back at about a quarter till six.
AMBER: Oh, ok. Great. What is your excuse for leaving?
JESSE: Oh, well, it’s just that I came home to work on the house and she was getting ready to go to the party, so…
AMBER: Yea, what party are you going to?
JESSE: We’re just going out to a restaurant with a bunch of coworkers for pre-Christmas party.
AMBER: Oh my god, two Christmas parties in one week!
JESSE: Well, taking out some people. Is it really? Did I tell you, maybe it’s the same thing.
AMBER: No, I think that you had one at work on the 10th which is your birthday, and then I was teasing a little bit that it was also your birthday party.
JESSE: Yea that was just a little potluck at work. They do, you know, like shredded beef and stuff like that for being good employees and everybody brings a dish which I didn’t because it was my birthday and I forgot. And somebody else brought a cake and they claimed it was my birthday cake for me. So, yea, um. Well, I was just listening to Davecat calling in when I was getting ready.
AMBER: Oh yea.
AMBER: How was that for you?
JESSE: Good. I kind of, when I started to get into what you guys were talking about um, nail polish and being different in a community, you know Davecat was actually doing it in public because you said he was kinda goth. Um, yea, I was just starting to get into that conversation and kind of had a smile on my face, and was getting into it and my sister called me so I lost the connection.
AMBER: Oh no. Well you can watch it tonight. I’ll put it on Vimeo.
JESSE: Yea. I got it on my laptop also.
AMBER: Oh that’s right. You’re recording everything, right?
JESSE: Well not everything. Well, whenever I want to see something that I don't have time to sit down and watch, yea.
AMBER: Yea. Well, that’s helpful to me because I need your eyes on these closets parts. Can we talk about technical stuff really quick?
AMBER: Ok, one, I messed up a huge amount on something really big.
JESSE: What’s that.
AMBER: Ok, so, the first of all can I describe this from the positive side first? What I decided is the silver lining I’ll say first.
AMBER: I feel really proud of myself that the 2x2 frame fits perfectly inside of the 2x4 frame. Like, it took a lot of extra little shaving off on the table saw and it took the angle grinder to get the screws the right amount of stripped. So, like you know it was a lot of effort to get the 2x2 frame inside the 2x4 frame perfectly. However, now I recall it wasn’t in the video but it was in our conversation that I was not supposed to make it fit perfectly. That there was supposed to be an 8th or a 16th of an inch on the left side.
AMBER: So, now that I have used an angle grinder to actually like get rid of the strip screws I can’t take the 2x2 frame apart.
JESSE: What you can do then is um, that’s probably a little more trouble than it’s worth. I was going to say take the left side of the 2x2, or the 2x4 frame off if you could and then, um, that’s a little bit more than what you can probably do there.
AMBER: Well, I thought about like, oh I know I’ll just make the 2x4 frame a little bigger but of course it’s so uniquely made to the door frame which is wider on top than it is on the bottom.
JESSE: If it’s just the left side that should be that much of a problem, should it? You can use your angle grinder to cut down into the—you’ve got another 2x2 piece that you haven’t cut yet or even used. You can just go down between the 2 pieces of wood with your angle grinder to just cut the existing screws to release that left side part and then um, you know you could put another left side part in there but you’d have to make the top and bottom pieces just a hair shorter. Like you said they have to be, there has to be a gap in the left side of the door.
AMBER: OK, then hold on one second because using the angle grinder to saw away at the screws does not release it in my experience it so far on all four sides. Do you know what I mean, like it’s not—
JESSE: No. Do you have a saw valve? Or do you have a hacksaw?
AMBER: No, are you, are you saying tool names that would cut threw the screws?
JESSE: Well, yea the grinder will cut through the screws also but you have to, well, doe one thing you’re probably cutting through pine so the grinder is probably going to get a lot of pine wood build up into the grinding wheel so it might get a little bit hard for it to cut if you do that. But I would use a reciprocating saw to go down in between the 2 pieces of wood and cut with—they call them sawzalls: S-A-W-Z-A-L-L.
AMBER: Wait, say it again. S-A-W—
AMBER: Z-A-L-L. Ok, I thought you were going to say like, oh, that’s such a bummer, I’ll just come and help you.
JESSE: Oh, I could, I mean if I would, I would if I could. But, the other thing is if they have a hand saw, a hack saw for cutting pipe and stuff, just use that to go down in between the two pieces of wood to cut your screw.
AMBER: Ok, well I mean, you make it sound easy and I’m sure after I get a good night sleep tonight I’ll feel better about it. I mostly just, I—there was such a short moment of pride. You know, there was like 20 seconds where I was like, ‘Oh my god, this fits perfectly.’ And then, you know I remembered that, well it’s not in the tutorial video, it’s in our conversation. So what I’ll do is use a hack saw or a sawzall to cut the screws or cut the 2x2 piece off on the left and then I will trim on the table saw the top and bottom pieces but that will be hard because it’s already attached to the—
JESSE: Don’t, don’t use the table saw then. Just use the handsaw. All you have to do
AMBER: Hold on, hold on. Sorry, Jesse. I’m being bossy right now, and I’m a little bit crabby, but do you mean a circular saw?
JESSE: No, you don’t want to use, you don't want to use, uh, if everything’s already put together like that just use a handsaw because it will allow you to fine tune and control the speed of the cut and everything. You know what I mean? I mean it’s just a saw you know what a carpenter uses?
AMBER: Oh, right like just a normal saw. Yea, OK. Right, oh my god.
JESSE: Use that to trim off the top and bottom pieces by a quarter of an inch, maybe.
AMBER: So than that’s easy.
JESSE: Or like, I think I said a half inch yesterday. Didn’t I? It doesn’t matter. Half inch would be great.
AMBER: Half inch. Ok. On the left side. And then, so I need a handsaw and either a hacksaw or a saw saw.
JESSE: Yea, if you haven’t used a saw saw before you could just use a hacksaw if they have one. I’m sure they have something like that.
JESSE: It’s another handsaw, but it’s for cutting metal.
AMBER: Cool. Oh, I know that what is. I have that saw at home.
AMBER: Yea, I used to for Amber Doll Tilikum and also for Lolita.
JESSE: Yea, I remember seeing it. OK.
AMBER: Ok. But hold on really quick. Because, can I use the same piece of 2x2, moving it over slightly even though they’ll be that weird you know, screw in there.
JESSE: Yea, you can do that as long as you miss the screw that you already have in there. That’s no problem. Just try to shoot off to the side if you know about where the screw is. The other thing I have to say is I noticed you’ve been picking it up and laying it on the table which it doesn’t fit on the table very well anyway, and that being pine it’s a soft wood and there’s a chance that it might split if you’re holding it like that.
AMBER: Oh my god.
JESSE: Yea, you don’t want that to happen and –
AMBER: I actually don’t think I could handle that, if it split.
JESSE: No, and I think once, once you get the side and everything the right specs so that it fits into that 2x4 frame a little looser, I would go ahead and put the door skin, the door, the plywood on top of it. That will hold everything tighter and it will make it stronger so you can move it around. And then once you do that, all you’ll have to do is concentrate on getting the wheel in the right place and the reason I told you told you not to drill the bottom hole yet for the rod on the bottom was because that bottom rod is over a couple inches.
AMBER: I know.
JESSE: It’s not in the same place as the top one.
AMBER: No, I know that because I kept watching more of the video.
JESSE: Well, it’s not a problem. I mean, a hole isn’t going to hurt anything.
AMBER: I know but can I ask you some questions about your video now?
AMBER: Ok, so one thing is, um, hold on, are you watching the livestream? Or you’re not because you’re in your car.
JESSE: No, I’m not in the car. I haven’t left yet.
AMBER: Oh. Are you watching the Livestream with the audio off?
AMBER: Oh, ok in 30 seconds you’ll see that I’m squatting down, and I’m touching the thing that I super glued, but it was not that easy I had to use the angle grinder on the rods as you saw. And then I put them together and then I put the nylon, what do you call it? Bushing or something?
JESSE: Well, it is a bushing but it’s used as a spacer, so in the store they call it a spacer
AMBER: Ok, the spacer. And then it worked really well so that’s awesome, however, there’s a little bit of a difference, like, it moves here pretty ok when I push it on the top and bottom. But then like, I don’t know how to explain this because we couldn’t find any of the nylon spacers that had a small enough inside so it’s kind of a lot of space and I overlapped them inside which means that it doesn’t make a straight line from one rod to the other. Do you know what I mean?
AMBER: Is that ok?
JESSE: It should be as long as your, as long as it’s glued in tight and the one farthest, towards the wall from your hand, that other one, as long as that hole is big enough to allow it to move through without being in a bind, since they’re not in a straight line that should be fine.
AMBER: It’s ok. OK. So, that’s good. And then the other thing now that I don’t understand about the video, and maybe I could just get a little bit of call in help with you about this tomorrow…but it looks like, ok, so the when we were at the house and you made me that circle out of that thing you took from work—
AMBER: I don’t have it on my table but it’s in the other room. I get that that goes, I mean that’s like the locking mechanism and I get that 3 different rods go inside of it, but it looked to me like you curved the rods to fit the—
JESSE: I bent them.
AMBER: Did you?
JESSE: I bent them at a 90-degree angle, yes.
AMBER: Is that in the tutorial video? I think I’m missing one.
JESSE: That’s what the vice is for. That’s what the, you know you put the end of the rod in a vice and then you hammer it so it’s bent into a 90-degree angle.
AMBER: Oh. Jesse, can I ask you a big favor, which also if you don’t have time to do this I understand because I don’t mean to put you into a full-time job here, but if you did want to come I wouldn’t say no.
AMBER: I’m teasing you. Could you just send me that tutorial video again?
JESSE: Which one? The one with the—
AMBER: The one where you’re bending the wire, or the rod.
JESSE: Oh I didn’t actually have a video of it. I just said, I just said, ok, I went down and—‘cause my vice is downstairs—I said, ‘Ok, I went down and I bent this in a vice.’ And I said what you want to do is clamp—I think this is what I said in the video—but I didn't show it happening but you put about an inch and half, maybe just an inch of that rod into the vice just to tighten it up and then hammer it with a hammer as your pouring on it with your hand so that you can help the hammer you know, bend it, and then once you get it into a 90-degree angle you’re done. You can release it from the vice. Yea, it was just something I didn’t think I needed a video of. I was just going to tell you put this in the vice and bend it now.
AMBER: I mean, I can take it from there. I thought I had just missed the video.
JESSE: No, no.
AMBER: Ok. So, I have, remember how I didn’t have enough rods but my friend is in town and she kindly got me another rod so I can bend that one the way you described and maybe we can just talk about the lock tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, because the structure of tomorrow is the same as today where I build first and then talk to people second.
AMBER: What do you recommend I get started on, like, I should take apart the 2x2 frame and do all the things that we just described, using a hacksaw and all those other tools that I can easily find. And then, I should start working on using those other rods with the circle—
JESSE: I would mount the frame to the plywood first before you do anything because you’re going to have to figure out where you’re going to mount the circle and then you’re going to have to drill a hole in the plywood and then put that-- you have the bolt, right? With the (ind) on the end?
JESSE: The bolt that the wheel’s going to mount to. Ok.
AMBER: Ok, so you mean that I don’t have to, sorry to be so basic, but to back up you mean mount the plywood to the 2x2 frame?
AMBER: Ok. And then, really quick the other thing before we kind of move on from technical stuff that you know really well and I clearly don’t, um, I tried to use, and maybe you weren’t able to watch because I think you were with your girlfriend at the time, your fiancé. But, I used the hole saw and—
JESSE: I watched that.
AMBER: You watched it?
JESSE: And it got stuck and I was actually anticipating what you were going to, I thought you were going to text me and I had anticipated text written out, can you pry it out with a screwdriver in the slot on the side of the hole saw, but then it looked like it fell out. So it looked like you got it out, but did it crack when it hit the floor? Did it break?
AMBER: Hold on, you know what I used was some screws from Heather’s body.
JESSE: No. To get it out?
AMBER: Hold on. I just didn’t want to text you because I thought you were with your girlfriend. But hold on, I’m going to put the phone down and I’m going to hold this up to the livestream camera and then I’m going to ask you a question about it ok?
AMBER: So you’ll see it in 30 seconds.
JESSE: All right.
(Amber walks up to camera and holds out screw)
JESSE: 25 seconds.
AMBER: 25 seconds.
JESSE: Twenty seconds less. Ok, I see it.
AMBER: You see it?
JESSE: Yea. That looks good. I would say it looks good. You put tape on it so it fits tight in the hole already and everything.
AMBER: Uh, yea but I have to disagree with you because I don’t think it looks good at all. Like the whole knot--
JESSE: Did you knock the knot out of it yet?
AMBER: Well, yea, like I used a hole saw to get the knot out, but the whole (ind) part of the knot fell off of the space of it.
JESSE: Oh, I didn't see that. I didn't’ see the knot, the knot broke then.
AMBER: Yea, I mean honestly, I’ll pick another knot but are all of the tops—because the tops are the weak part of the plywood, but since the coolest ones look like they’re already kind of starting to break anyway, then I just come all apart in the holes saw.
JESSE: Normally the knot is the hardest part of the wood, but it’s got, it’s got like pine sap in between, you know, it’s another branch is what it is, coming out of the tree.
JESSE: And it’s got pinesap in it and stuff so where the sap was it’s probably starting to crack. And sometimes they’re weak, if you know, if they fall and hit the floor they can break. But I think you might be ok if you can go ahead and glue it back together where it broke and put tape around the knot. The piece that you cut out with the hole saw, get the knot out of it that uh, the actual knot is just removed from that piece, and glue the knot back together and hold it with masking tape.
AMBER: But the problem with that—I love that idea—the problem is the knot, the cool part of the knot broke into just tons of pieces.
JESSE: Oh, because it had a lot of—probably a lot of sap and stuff in it. OK.
AMBER: So, what I should do is find another knot that is less cool looking but will hold up better to be the secret lock, right?
JESSE: Yea. But honestly what I would do is not even worry about knot yet. I would get the rest of the door done and the lock cylinder and everything mechanically working and then later on, you know find a knot to put in that hole. Or, if we don’t even get to that knot, just go ahead with the painting and stuff.
AMBER: Well, I’m just so—sometimes when I feel frustrated with the task that isn’t going well I skip to another one that is more satisfying.
JESSE: Yea, I do that too. I understand that.
AMBER: I watched you do that a little bit on the video. Ok, but last question about knots and then I was hoping to ask you a little more about some of the stories that you told me the other day?
AMBER: It seems to me that I should use a smaller hole saw than the hole saw that I take the knot out of from the knot plywood, on the plywood that is the actual door, and then we can skip the masking tape. Because it’s like eh, a quarter inch around. Do you know what I mean? Like you can’t see this on livestream but when I put this knot back in with masking tape, there’s so much space. And what I like about your original doll closet is you have to use that little um…that little screw just to pull that knot out. I mean, that’s what made it look so secret and awesome.
JESSE: Well the masking tape goes around the knot itself, not the piece that you cut out with the hole saw. The piece that you cut out with the hole saw has to be glued back into the whole over the lock cylinder.
AMBER: Yea, I know but should I use a smaller hole saw? For the actual plywood of the closet than I did for the knot?
JESSE: No, you have to have the same size knot, or the same hole saw to cut out both things or else it won’t fit in there.
AMBER: Right. But given the like, this is what I’m learning about cutting wood, which you already know, but like, the um, the size of the saw, the size of the blade rather is something that I hadn’t thought about much in accounting for the measurement.
AMBER: So what I was thinking if I go just slightly smaller than that piece of knot will fit snugger without using so much masking tape.
JESSE: No, they don’t make them in sizes that—I mean, thick sizes are probably an 1/8th inch, I mean they go by 1/8th inches, you know you would have to I mean there’s just nobody in the world who’s going to make a hole saw just slightly smaller than the next hole saw. You know, they’re going to go by some certain measurements I think.
AMBER: I mean—
JESSE: I was just thinking maybe they make metric ones but it’s just even a millimeter is too much of a gap, you know what I mean?
AMBER: Well, then make really close in color nail polish, like there’s secret stash for the pink that I’m wearing and—
JESSE: It’s a shame that tools, I’ve found that yea I used to think the same thing, all I need is a tool that’s just a little bit—no, they come in such I don't know…the sizes are just so course in difference, I mean there’s, they’re not really fine, you just have to find a standard really when you’re finding, when you’re working with tools you just kind of find the closest standard--
JESSE: Size because they don’t make them that size or that different. That small of a difference.
AMBER: I find the whole thing to be pretty punishing.
JESSE: I’m glad we’re not trying to do a metal one then, but actually, actually the metal one to me was easier because I’m not as good with woodworking as I am with metal. And if you cut something that is metal a little bit too short one of the metal pieces, you just can fill it in with weld and make up a gap with your welder.
JESSE: You can’t do that with wood. You can’t just throw sawdust and glue at it because god, that would take forever.
AMBER: Well, I sure appreciate all your assistance. It’s been so great to be able to text you. I tried to not next you so much today knowing it was the weekend you were with your girlfriend but I really, really appreciate that you’re on call the way you are. It’s been really helpful. And it’s also been really nice to be in touch with you this much this week.
JESSE: Yea, so I’m glad to help, but um, I left the house, I left her place, I don’t know, probably around 11 or so, and I’ve been home ever since working on stuff here.
AMBER: Oh you’re working on the bay window stuff.
JESSE: Yea. So I’m going to head back over there.
AMBER: Oh wait—
JESSE: I can talk to you on the road.
AMBER: Ok. I also wanted to revisit the conversation we had, not yesterday but the day before, and I wondered if you were able to look online at the transcription at all?
AMBER: I’ve been posting them on my blog, which is something I emailed you about. And you know, some of what I’ve been thinking about in the last 2 days as I build, is that you shared a story that I had never discussed with you before. And I both really appreciated that and wondered if there’s other stories that you haven’t shared with me privately but maybe interested in sharing for the performance.
JESSE: Actually, that’s probably about as far as I want to go. I mean everybody does stuff in their experimentation and stuff, that they’re not too keen on everybody knowing. But you know, I’ll just leave it at that. I mean, I you know, like I told you when you were in my garage, I consider myself a good man, but there’s probably a lot of people that would think otherwise, that would think I was a little too weird or whatever. But yea, um, what story were you thinking of? The nail polish or getting caught by the cops when I was dressed up or whatever?
AMBER: Oh, I guess we, we had just never talked about you being pulled over. We talked a little bit when we were um, in your hometown and went to that little bar and had lunch. You were telling me about finding that abandoned home and finding all of the clothes with receipts and price tags. But, I hadn’t understood before that that you had got dressed up and driven to the ditch to call your girlfriend and then stopped by the police.
JESSE: Well, I can tell you some other stories. Some of the are actually kind of funny, but some of them are just, some of them are just kind of things that I wanted to get away with just to say that I did them. But then I was thinking, well who am I going to tell that I did this. Well, now I have an out.
AMBER: Yea. I think you found your venue.
JESSE: Yea. Um, not too long ago, when my wife, when she was diagnosed with cancer and I told you she moved out. Well I was here alone, and I was thinking that I was lonely but I was going to make the most of it and so I started to venture out into my little world that I discovered. And they were rebuilding the school that I graduated from. They knocked most of it down and were going to build a brand new school, so I thought that would be a great thing because you know, I’d go take my, I had a big car, you know, a four door, a nice big car, lot of stuff in the trunk and I went over to the high school, the old high school that they were knocking down, and I mean they didn’t have it knocked down yet but it was not secured, I mean you could get inside it. So, I got dressed up and had my, lots of stuff on you know—
AMBER: What were you wearing?
JESSE: Oh I don't’ know, I had some kind of dress and a long black overcoat and some stocking and heels and I went, got into the high school when I went into the auditorium and stood up on the stage and thought not too many years ago there were a lot of people looking up at this stage. I thought, what if there was a time warp or something odd that happened while I was actually standing there and they happened to see me. And I just thought it was kind of a daring thing to do. You know, doing my alternate ego in the high school that I was so…um, kind of a shy kid when I was in high school, and you know I was teased about things a lot—
AMBER: What were you teased about?
JESSE: I’m going to put my phone down a second.
AMBER: Oh, ok. Is that your car alarm--
JESSE: I had to tighten my seat belt. So, stuff like being skinny and you know being um, I was into computers and stuff and everybody else was into sports. I was one of those kids.
AMBER: Can I interject just very briefly to say that when we first met in L.A. I was so—I had no idea who you were other than that you were at Dollapalooza—and I took you to be just so traditionally good looking. And so—
AMBER: Yea, and so tall and you know we talked about identifying each other as Midwestern and, and kind of from the same farm stock. Driven immigrant farm stock, right? So, there’s that. And I’m sure that’s some of what I was picking up on but also looking back on that I found you to just be tall, traditionally attractive guy, you know, so—
JESSE: And you’d never guess—
AMBER: Go ahead.
JESSE: I was just going to say that you’d probably never guess that I have the issues that I have and that I had a hard time growing up and never really felt like I fit in and I have low self-esteem, and yea. And—
AMBER: Well, to--I don’t want to interrupt you, and now I’m doing it for the second time. But I have to say I don’t think of what you just described as an issue. And I—
AMBER: Go ahead.
JESSE: I was just about to say this about a couple girls that I’ve been with, and I don’t want to sound like I think really highly of myself because I don’t really know what I look like, or know what I look like in other people’s eyes unless they tell me. So, there’s been a couple girls that I’ve been with, well, they felt threatened and said, ‘well, we can’t keep doing this.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ She said, she told me, the one girl said ‘we really, we don’t fit together.’ I said, ‘what you mean?’ And she was a short red head girl, kind of, kind of a little thick, not bad but she, she was popular, but she felt threatened by my good looks. And she said, ‘Well, it’s not, one of us is going to get hurt. I’m sure it’s going to be me.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I’m not the kind to run around on someone.’ She said, ‘No, but,’ she said, ‘we just don’t belong together and I think you know that.’ And I said, ‘ I don't really know what you mean.’ And she told me that I was gorgeous and this and that, a pretty boy and she was going to get her heart broken you know, and I’ve been told that a couple times since then, and I’ve just never really thought of myself as that.
AMBER: Well, I think of you as a lot of different things, and you know, I’d be happy to tell you. They’re all flattering.
AMBER: I also think of you as someone who would look really fabulous with painted nails as we’ve described. And I’m picturing this moment of you on stage at the auditorium at what was your high school and imagining what a powerful moment that was.
JESSE: Well let me tell you this though—
JESSE: You know, I mean, I want people to understand my side of cross dressing, I don't do it for other people to see. I don't want anybody to see it, and I don’t even want to see—when I pass a mirror, I don’t look good. I really don’t look good. I just do it for the way it makes me feel, for the way it makes me feel like I’m not really who I am. It’s just a way to escape. And I did kind of toy with it one time, I had some makeup on, and some mascara and I took a picture in the mirror when I had the wig on, and it looked good. It looked like, it looked like a woman, like somebody that I knew. It kind of looked like her, and I told my brother about it. I said, you ought to see it because it doesn’t look like me at all. It looks like this, I told him about this woman at work.
JESSE: And the reason it did was because the picture was slightly out of focus but if would have been sharp, I’m sure it would have been a nasty looking picture. But, the way it was, the soft focus and stuff, and I had long fingernails and lipstick and everything on and a wig. It kind of looked convincing, but I don't do it for that reason. I really don’t get off on the way I look. So, I don't’ know if that’s different than the way most people are. You know, I just do it for the feel of it.
AMBER: Have you ever asked--
JESSE: Well I haven’t done it lately so.
AMBER: Have you ever chatted, I’m sorry, Jesse, am I interrupting you?
JESSE: No, I’m just saying I haven’t done it lately. It just, it comes and goes.
AMBER: I just wonder if you’ve ever connected with community other than your brother around—
JESSE: No, and my brother would never, well, actually, I can’t say he’d never do it, but his wife knows about it and they actually bought him some shoes and leather pants and leather mini-skirts and stuff together and she just chuckles at it you know, like it’s an innocent thing. And she just calls him her little kinky boy or something like that. Well, he…here’s how far I take it. Whenever I was feeling, when I was alone not in a relationship or whatever and to feel that feminine feeling, I shaved my whole body and did my toenails and everything. My toe nails –honestly my toe nails were still kind of a glossy purple when I—
AMBER: Oh, really, I didn’t know that.
JESSE: When I talked to my girlfriend for the first time and she wanted me to come over. And I though, well, nothing’s going to happen. I mean, I don’t move that fast. And I don’t think she does either, but I, I cleaned off the polish, got cleaned up because I didn’t want anyone to see it. But they would be like that for months at a time because I’d just think nobody’s going to see my feet anyhow.
JESSE: And I had shaved legs and everything. It just felt good for me to feel free. But now that I’m in a relationship, I wore shorts for the first time in 20 years probably.
JESSE: And we were actually sunbathing and having fun on the beach and I was feeling like I probably should be. But that’s what I’m saying, I don’t cross dress unless I feel lonely or feel like I need to feel like somebody else I guess.
AMBER: Yea. And just to back up. I just think we disagree about a few things including language around should. Right? So when you said you were wearing shorts for the first time in 20 years and presenting the way you should be, I just don’t know if I agree with that.
AMBER: Or I don’t know that I agree or disagree actually but we can—
JESSE: I was feeling like I should feel, you know, proud of my body as a man.
AMBER: Oh, I see.
AMBER: Well, I’m all for you being proud of your body, but…
JESSE: Yea. But, but normally and I can say this probably in most certainty, my legs were shaved probably for a good I don’t know, ten years. I mean I just did it all the time. And my wife that died, she knew about it. She just said that it was weird and she didn’t like but I just couldn’t help it. So, um, what I was getting at is I feel—I felt more free that way than I do as a man with hairy legs, and a hairy chest and everything—I don’t, I don’t feel good like that. And it makes me feel, I don’t really identify with, a lot of men are just, they pretty much piss me off the way they treat women, and the way they act, and the way they think they’re better than everybody else they’re hey man, you know and that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t really want to, I didn’t really want to fit in as a man. So that’s why I started to get rid of my leg hair and whatever. I did that years ago. The first time I did it—now I’m really getting excited talking about this, and I get to talking to much, but—
JESSE: The first time I did it was when I was still in the service and I was out of active army but I was still in reserve, and I got shipped out to Wisconsin for a couple weeks for you know, going to the field exercise two weeks in the summer. And I was out there alone and the unit I was out there with never picked me up so I stayed in the transit bearings which had porcelain bathtubs down in the vitrine area, and I went down there, I stayed there for a couple weeks and nobody came and got me, nobody bothered me—
JESSE: So, I thought, well, I’m going to go and rent a car and drive in to the next town and next city and buy some lingerie, come back and take a bath and shave my legs. And that was the first time I did it. (1:46:42) And I felt really weird, it felt really weird and out of place but I knew I liked it.
JESSE: And now I don’t feel that feeling anymore because it seems (ind) whenever I do it.
AMBER: Right. Jesse, what year was that?
JESSE: Um, probably 86 or 87.
AMBER: So, a good decade before Heather.
JESSE: Yes. And it, that’s one of the reasons, one of the reasons I bought Heather was while I was going to be married I couldn’t continue doing these sort of things while I was married so I thought if I had Heather it would kind of take the place of my feelings if I had something to project the lingerie on to or the feminine allure onto my Real Doll, maybe I would be satisfied. I even wrote, I participated in this article when I was part of RDOL, I heard you and Davecat talk about that—
AMBER: Yea, RDOL from the 90s.
JESSE: Yea, and I participated in an article that somebody was doing but I never got to see it in print so I don't know if it made it. That’s one of the things I was explaining to them, one of the reasons I had a doll. And you were asking before what other members might still be present from RDOL.
JESSE: I do know one that I used to interact with. Perry. Have you ever seen the name, Perry?
AMBER: Wait, I’ve seen that name but also someone just posted on my um, you know on general discussion we’ve been going back and forth on the thread about Doll Closet?
AMBER: Someone named Bezilla just replied but I can’t read it. It’s not that person. You’re saying Perry or Barry with a B?
JESSE: No, Perry as in, with a P. As in pizza or whatever. But anyway.
AMBER: P as in pizza.
JESSE: Yea. So he used to have a real doll named Sarah and that he would he would wrap her legs in Ceram wrap and I like shiny stuff and he’d take pictures of that and I thought that was really good.
JESSE: And then later on, years later when they started making the 2D body at Synthetics, Perry had a doll named Shannon, with the red hair and everything that I liked about um, Shannon, I ordered as an option for Rhiannon. And I told Perry about it, I said that it was really cool because I picked the name Rhiannon based up the classic rock theme names—
JESSE: I wanted to have two other dolls with classic rock song names and Perry thought it was funny that Shannon and Rhiannon rhymed and I said, yea they could be sisters. (1:49:26) And the only difference is, actually I think Shannon’s a 1H body—
AMBER: Shannon is a Synthetics?
AMBER: So from the last few years?
AMBER: So she had to have been from the last few years then?
JESSE: Well, I don’t know I thought Shannon was a 2D, but I might be mistaken. Maybe she’s a 1H. But anyway, someone just recently bought Shannon. Our friend from Dollstock, the goofy guy from California?
AMBER: Really, the cute one? The young one?
JESSE: Yea he bought her. The head.
AMBER: Wait, hold on. He bought Shannon, the Synthetics.
JESSE: That’s Sex Panther. Yea, he bought her.
JESSE: And I thought, wow, that’s really cool because that’s the one that inspired me for Rhiannon.
AMBER: Well, can he bring—I know that he comes from California so it’s hard for him to bring any dolls, but he should bring Shannon to Dollstock next year.
JESSE: Yea, he said they had to meet. He said they, you know if I can get away this time, and you know I definitely will--
AMBER: Oh, I really want you to come next time. I don’t like when you say things like now that you’re engaged you might not be able to come.
JESSE: Yea. I know. But, who knows how it’s going to go. I don’t know. I have to find out.
AMBER: Well, it would be very cool if Shannon and Rhiannon met. I have to say when we talked for even an hour, we were at that brunch in L.A. and you, I don’t know, I guess that, it’s probably annoying to people but I like to guess things. When I first meet people. Do you remember that, so you said something like oh, I’m going to name my new doll after a classic rock musician, or referencing one. And I said, Stevie, remember?
JESSE: Yea, classic rock song names. Well, I said classic rock probably and you said, ‘Stevie.’ And then I thought, are you serious, are you just guessing, are you do you know something?
AMBER: No, I was just guessing.
JESSE: You were guessing but I mean it was right off. I mean I said, yea, like Fleetwood Mac? And I don’t know if you really liked Stevie Nicks or—
AMBER: Yea I do.
JESSE: Yea. I thought that was really cool because I had already chosen the name, Rhiannon, based on Stevie Nicks’ songs and Fleetwood Mac.
AMBER: Well, some of why I chose Stevie is ‘cause I picked up something kind of gender-neutral about it, is that Stevie thing. I know that people in my queer community in New York resist the term gender neutral but there’s something that kind of fits all in that name. And that’s obviously why I blurted it out but I also got a Fleetwood Mac vibe from you.
AMBER: Oh my gosh. Are you driving where you’re driving? Are you getting close?
JESSE: About ten minutes away.
AMBER: OK, well you know I actually have Mahtek who’s going to call in, well, now that I look at my phone right now.
JESSE: Yea, it’s 5:34 now.
AMBER: Yea, but are we all set to talk again tomorrow? I like that this is a conversation that gets to continue over 8 days.
JESSE: Yea, that’s—today I lucked out but tomorrow might be another thing. I don’t know ‘cause we’re going to be working on the house. She’s going to come over. And if I do, it is going to be honestly one of those I have to go to the carwash or whatever. But—
AMBER: Well, I love the idea of us talking from the carwash because I think the audio could be pretty weird and cool.
JESSE: Yea, well I am going to go to the hardware store because I know I’m going to need nails for the trimmer on the window.
JESSE: I could use that but I’ll only be gone 20 minutes.
AMBER: That’s ok. It would be really fun for you to call in even if it’s for 5 minutes and the fact that you might call in from a hardware store is pretty cool.
AMBER: Since I’m surrounded by tools which is not my normal surrounding you know.
AMBER: I much prefer being surrounded by cats and the smell of something slow cooking.
AMBER: Well, I guess I’m going to hang up. I’m going to be the one to hang up today. Even though usually I’m the one that like, you know sad to let you go and trying to get you to stay on the phone as long as possible.
JESSE: Yea, who else is calling in? Is it Mahtek or?
AMBER: Mahtek. Yea, Mahtek’s calling in and remember his old house?
AMBER: Well, I don't know, yea, yea, you know how he had that sliding mechanism?
JESSE: Yes, yes.
AMBER: So we’re going to talk about that. He emailed me just now to say that he also wants to talk about the first time that he met a doll owner.
JESSE: Ok. Is that at 5:45, is it?
AMBER: Uh, you know we talked about a range from 5:30 to 5:40 so I think right now is probably the perfect time to give him a ring.
JESSE: Yea. All right. All right, well I’ll talk to you tomorrow then.
AMBER: OK, sounds so good. You have a good time at the Christmas party.
JESSE: All right, thanks.
AMBER: OK, I’m going to call Mahtek.
JESSE: All right bye. Tell him hi.
AMBER: Ok. I will. Bye.
AMBER: Oh hello.
MAHTEK: How are you?
AMBER: I’m really well, how are you?
MAHTEK: Oh, I’m just peachy as usual.
AMBER: You sound so happy and I’m picturing you right now with your big smile.
MAHTEK: Yea, I am.
AMBER: You’re also giving us just a little taste of that great laugh.
MAHTEK: Oh, yes, yes.
AMBER: So, how are you doing? Are you recording audio with your video camera?
MAHTEK: Yes I am.
AMBER: Great! I’m really grateful for that
MAHTEK: Not a problem.
AMBER: So I just, I don’t know have you been watching the livestream this week?
MAHTEK: No, I missed it. I’ve had to work late and I haven’t been able to get on, so…
AMBER: Yea, you work a lot of hours I remember you telling us at Dollstock.
MAHTEK: Yea, yea, um, well a lot of it is because we’re gearing up for the Christmas holiday so. The end of the year is always rough.
AMBER: Are you off work a few days for the Christmas holiday?
MAHTEK: Yea, yea, a few days.
AMBER: I’m sorry. Say that again.
MAHTEK: I’ve got a few days available so I will be off.
AMBER: Oh, nice. So I’m going to catch you up just a little bit. I have been building a replica of Jesse’s doll closet from the 90s, which I’m sure you know from the texts we’ve been sharing on ODC. But he and I just chatted. I made a few not I guess, huge, but I did make a few mistakes so we’ve been talking about technical stuff but we’ve also been talking about closet for a metaphor and some of what he isn’t necessarily public about, though he’s public and anonymous for Doll Closet, which has to do with dressing in the clothes that he purchases for his dolls. And there’s a lot more to it so you may want to read the transcriptions that I’ve been posting on my blog. (1:57:14) If you want to know more of what we’ve been talking about. But I was really excited that you were interested in participating partly because I’ve heard for years about this awesome sliding mechanism that you have. Or had, right, in the old house?
MAHTEK: Yes, yes. I made a store room in a knee wall of an upstairs bedroom, the master bedroom in fact.
AMBER: What’s a theme wall?
MAHTEK: A knee wall. It’s a oh, if you have an angled roof and you have a short wall on one side because of the angle of the roof, that short wall is called a knee wall.
AMBER: Oh, I mean I can picture it from the pictures that you sent. But I didn't know that term, so thank you.
MAHTEK: You’re welcome. So yea, well, it was totally enclosed and in other places that I had lived that had walls like that, it was very common to have a little door there for storage. So I knew none of my family would take any great notice of that, so I was able to put that on there. I put deadbolt locks on there. One for privacy but two, I told people I didn’t want the doorknob sticking out to where I might hit it or get in the way of furniture, or things like that. And it seemed to make sense so nobody questioned it. Um, now when people first came over to see the house they’d ask to see this attic storage that I built. So what I’d do is I’d stack boxes up completely in front of the door so when you opened it up it looked like it was packed to the gills with boxes. There was nothing to see.
AMBER: Yea, that’s pretty smart.
MAHTEK: So we closed the door and that was it. The girls were still hidden.
AMBER: And how many dolls lived in there at that time?
MAHTEK: Four of them.
AMBER: Now Mahtek, is this, remember we met in 2008 in Detroit?
AMBER: Is that the time period of this doll closet?
MAHTEK: No, no, this is uh…probably the last four years.
AMBER: Oh, ok, because I’ve seen the difference between the two that you posted that kindly shared pictures of for me on that thread. But I’m recalling now that we’re talking about back in 2008 when we met in Detroit that um you built what you talked about as a panic room. Am I misremembering?
MAHTEK: You’re actually pretty close. What it was it was a hidden room that even if someone broke in and ransacked the house they wouldn’t find because what it was, I had a ranch style house and they had one of these small 16” by 16” openings to get up into the attic crawl space. Well I was able to put an electronic winch up on the rafters and I made a floor up there and I used these same foam pads and what I was able to do is I’d take the, open the closet, drop down the winch, run the girls up, put up a ladder, climb up, take them off, lay them down there and then when it was all said and done no one could see anything. I’d take the latter away and no one has any idea there’s anything up there.
AMBER: Did you ever spend time up there yourself?
MAHTEK: Uh, yea actually I did. Whenever I had to do like a major repair, I would put, I would do that up there, because I could leave them in whatever state they were when I was done for the day.
AMBER: Right. Well, that’s when, as I recall, you were doing things like injecting into the fingers to avoid pokeys.
MAHTEK: Yep. Yep. That’s what, where I was first learning my doll surgery skills.
AMBER: Yea, I remember that because we emailed a good bit in 2008.
AMBER: So it sounds like everywhere you’ve lived, you’ve built some kind of hidden space for your dolls?
MAHTEK: Yea, this house is the only real exception and that is because it is just so small. When I moved to this area I didn’t really know exactly where I wanted to live but I needed to get some place to live just to learn the area, so I decided to get just a small house that I could easily sell when I decided I wanted to move.
MAHTEK: And um—
AMBER: Oh, go ahead.
MAHTEK: That meant um, not having the luxury of you know space to make hidden walls and things like that. So right now the girls are in their travel cases, two to a bedroom closet because I got a small 3 bedroom home and the closet will fit two of their travel cases so.
AMBER: So that’s what you sent me in the second email today?
MAHTEK: That’s correct.
AMBER: OK, got it. I see. So I got to see the sliding space and I got to see the current situation which is just as exciting as, I’m really, really thrilled that you sent me kind of this timeline of doll closets.
MAHTEK: Yea. I looked forever and I could not find any pictures of the hidden attic room where I had my first kept my dolls. I just, in fact I think the only picture that I had was looking up from the closet into this hole where you could see the lynch on the rafters. On the roof.
AMBER: You know, you know who I bet would have them?
MAHTEK: Davecat may.
AMBER: Yea. If anybody has those pictures it’s Davecat.
MAHTEK: He is the ivory of Alexandria of doll pictures.
AMBER: It’s really, really impressive isn’t it?
MAHTEK: It is. It is.
AMBER: And we just skyped him in and there was a small spoiler in our skype in with him because you emailed me saying that you wanted to talk about the first time you stepped out of the closet, for being a doll owner and can you guess what story he told us?
MAHTEK: What was that again.
AMBER: Well, maybe I should just ask you instead of prefacing this as a spoiler because I don’t mean to tease you. But you did email me saying that you wanted to talk about the first time you stepped out of the closet and met another doll owner. Right?
AMBER: Do you want to tell us that story?
AMBER: Oh, thank you.
MAHTEK: Ok so this was oh back 2006 maybe 2005 it was just after I had become a doll owner. I think it was 2006 because I had two dolls at the time. And uh, I was active on one of the doll forums, yea, actually fairly active at that time. I was posting a lot of pictures. And out of the blue I got this PM from this rather big name in the community called Davecat
MAHTEK: And I was pretty blown away. It was truly one of those Wayne’s World moments where I’m like Davecat wants to hang out with me? I’m not worthy! I suck! And actually I said, yea, not a problem. And we met at a coffee shop and it was like a whole new world because this thing that I kept so private and so afraid that anyone finding out about, suddenly I had a kindred spirit that I could speak openly about my experiences and share their experiences and you know, share knowledge. And it was great and we met a couple times and one of the moderators on the forum mentioned that hey, there’s another guy named Uker that lives close by and maybe you should get in touch with him.
AMBER: Now can I stop you for just a minute?
AMBER: When Davecat first PMed you, how did he know that you two lived close.
MAHTEK: Because I mentioned that I lived in the Detroit area.
AMBER: Oh I see, you posted that.
AMBER: Now, I guess, I don’t mean to get to into moderator questions, but how did the moderator at the time know that Uker lived near by? Had he also posted that publically?
MAHTEK: I think so.
AMBER: Because that’s the time, I guess it would be two years later that I met up with all three of you?
MAHTEK: Yep, yep, and—
AMBER: So…go ahead. Sorry, I interrupted.
MAHTEK: That’s ok. And well I sent Uker a PM saying myself and Davecat would like to you know, meet with you. We’ve been getting together and would you like to join us? And he had the exact same reaction as I did. Again, another Wayne’s World moment. But it was great because it was the same for him. Finally meeting kindred spirits. And that’s where we developed what we called the Michigan Doll Congress where we get together, break bread, and talk dolls.
AMBER: Well, that’s pretty great. I was so honored to be a part, but now I have to say it’s so great to be in the, involved in some of the doll meet ups, at the L.A. the Dollapalooza, and the Dollstock and I know that we were talking privately so, I don’t mean to bring up something that we first referenced together but just how important it is to both of us and I didn’t know if you wanted to talk a little about how all that’s come together and what it’s like for you to meet up with the big groups.
MAHTEK: Uh, big groups, uh that was great. Um, the first time I actually had to travel to meet another doll owner, um, another forum member named Z Doctor, he PMed me and said hey uh I’m going to be working a booth with one of the doll manufacturers at the AVM and he seemed kind of cool. We’ve been talking and chatting. Would you like to come out? And I thought about it and thought well gee you know, hop on an airplane and not tell anyone where I’m going to meet up with total strangers in Vegas at an adult show. What could possible go wrong? And I did exactly that and had a great time. Uh, and again met new people, the manufacturer was really happy the way I worked his booth and told me if I came home with and he was going to keep me.
AMBER: Aw, I think I know who you’re talking about and that’s a really sweet story.
MAHTEK: Yea, so anyhow and then from there on out we just started expanding the number of people and it just ballooned from there.
AMBER: Well, it’s pretty amazing. I know we talk about it each time we get together but it is kind of amazing to have that kind of boots on the ground in person commiserating even just carrying the dolls and that sort of thing. Even just to be around people who—I don't know, I don’t mean to speak for everyone here but—I’m personally so attracted to the material silicon and I know there’s a good number of people who come to the events who feel that same way and it’s really powerful for me to just be in a space where that’s a thing.
MAHTEK: Yea, its pretty amazing you know one year when we got to the Dollstock event we had some 23 different silicon dolls there. And we started counting up, and it was like you know, we’ve got over 100,000 dollars worth of dolls in this one venue. It was pretty amazing, you know, it was a lot like a classic car show.
MAHTEK: Where everyone brings their prize possession to show off. And everyone’s a proud papa, you know. Um, walking around squeezing boobies.
AMBER: Yea, there’s a lot of squeezing boobies. But you know what I like about the classic car analogy is that it’s not particularly, well it’s sexualized somehow—
AMBER: The dolls are replicas in some ways. Sexualized replicas of organics that are penetrable in 3 orifices but it’s not particularly sexual and that’s what I think, you know when I go to Dollstock and take a photograph or two and use it in my art practice there’s always a conversation about what that space is like for me as a woman, right? So, there’s so many misconceptions about doll ownership and doll owners are thought to be not only misogynists but you know, um, somehow hyper-sexualized, this question comes up and it’s so not that. Would you agree?
MAHTEK: Oh, absolutely. The car show is a perfect analogy because if you’ve ever gone to a car show nobody lets you drive their car. So, uh, and it’s the same way at a doll meet. You know, yes, you can touch, you can look. This last meet I actually did some major repairs on two friends’ dolls.
MAHTEK: So there’s a lot going on that’s definitely not sexual at all but then again but we love to dress them up and take pictures and take pictures of our dolls together. Things that normally you’d have to use Photoshop to get these dolls together now you have them sitting side-by-side or standing around a pool table together.
AMBER: Which is awesome. It’s awesome to see them standing.
AMBER: Um, you know some of what I think about at those events and some of what’s been interesting to kind of carry as a thread throughout this performance is some of why we’re dressing the dolls up and photographing them, right. We talked about the space not being particularly sexual, um, what is it to you? Like what is it of interest to you in dressing your doll up and photographing her?
MAHTEK: Uh, just make her beautiful. Again, you’ve got, you can have a basic going back again to my Detroit upbringing where you can have a basic car, or can you put a nice set of wheels and tires on there and (ind) and really make it stunningly beautiful and that’s part of the point. That’s part of the showing off. We’re actually a very small group of people as my friend Uker pointed out. We’re a lot like Ferrari owners. There’s not many of these things out there and you know I’m not trying to be big headed but we’re kind of an exclusive club.
AMBER: We are. I like when you put it that way.
MAHTEK: So um, so yea, there’s a little bit of friendly competition there. My dolly is prettier than you’re dolly. You know that sort of thing but uh again it’s a friendly competition. Nobody ever says, ‘Gee, that’s a really ugly doll.’
MAHTEK: Yea, and you know, well you’ve seen my Roxyanne(?) she’s a demoness with horns.
AMBER: That she is.
MAHTEK: And uh, no one’s ever said, wow that’s hideous. They’ve always said, well that’s kind of different. Kind of cool. Um, maybe not for me or I couldn’t imagine doing it with something like that but then, you know once I explain to them how you have to immerse yourself in this whole forbidden fruit sort of fantasy, you know, they get it.
AMBER: Yea, a very accepting space would you say?
MAHTEK: Oh, a nicer group of people you never want to meet. Yea. We get our occasional troll, but usually people are coming to these forums and doll meets and they’re really opening up a very vulnerable part of themselves.
MAHTEK: So, you know, they’re going to gentle with you hoping you’ll be gentle with them and most people are very respectful of that.
AMBER: Yea, and I really like what you just said. I just want to take a minute with that because it’s so intimate and I think you just described it in a really nice way.
MAHTEK: Yea. It is very intimate because again, you know, you’re, you know, this is a sexual thing in a context. It’s not completely sexual for everyone. For a lot of people it’s just the photography, and the beauty of the dolls having a, that presence in your home. I know even though I like being single, having a doll in bed next to me, under an electric blanket so I’ve got that warm body next to me, I sleep better.
AMBER: Oh yea.
MAHTEK: There’s a comfort there even though uh, you know, I come in from work dog-tired and I have no interest in sex, it’s nice to cuddle up and know that she’s there. And you know, unless you’re another doll owner, you’re not going to really understand that, so…
AMBER: Yea, well and I’m particularly happy that there’s space for people in the community who, I don’t know if this is describing it accurately but, to, to be reductive who kind of want to be the doll, or dress in the doll’s clothing at least. I’m glad to see that there’s space for those feelings in our community.
MAHTEK: Oh, absolutely. There’s a lot of people who enjoy um, how should I say it, playing the part of their doll. They may not necessarily dress in their doll’s clothing, but you know, they’ll come in to chat and chat as their doll or they will post as their doll and allow their feminine side to come out. There was one member a few years back who came in immediately as their doll and always stayed in character and one day said I have a big announcement to make. I’m going on vacation. When I come back, you know, I’m going to you know, I’m going to make this announcement when I’m sure I’m clear in my head.
MAHTEK: And a few of us got in a chat and wondered what this is I told them right out, this man is going to have a sex change and become a woman. He’s been a woman for years now. He just hasn’t realized it. And sure enough, that was exactly the case. The doll was, he, the bridge that needed him to find, for him to find out who he really was and have the courage to make that change and then he did. Though he’s left the community or she has left the community. Um, I hope everything worked out wonderfully for her. And she’s happy.
AMBER: What, what year was that Mahtek?
MAHTEK: That was…I think 2012 was the last that we heard from her.
AMBER: OK. Yea.
MAHTEK: Yea. She went through the full change and posted about it and the recovery and then one day I guess she decided she didn’t need this forum anymore, she had a new life. And, that’s fine. That’s the beauty of the forum. You can come and go as you like, so. It’s kind of nice when somebody does at least post a goodbye because sometimes you just wonder, you know, you get—these are your friends now and you worry about them.
AMBER: Yea, well I just want to underline that I feel so grateful that there’s a space for all of us in the community. And I love that there’s a space for me as someone who identifies as a queer fat femme who dates transmasculine people and um, who I date is never a question to anyone in the community and I think that’s the other thing that comes up for people in my particular queer community in New York because I do think there’s this assumption that doll owners are misogynist as we talked about before, which I just haven’t found to be the case. And I often get questions in addition to questions about my perceived safety in events like Dollstock, if the community is accepting of me and my sexuality and uh, I feel really glad that that’s never been a question to me. It’s just never occurred to me that it wouldn’t be.
MAHTEK: No if anybody tried to mess with you it’d be a hole bunch of doll owners jumping on them.
AMBER: (laughing) I love that. You just kind of made my day with that.
AMBER: Um, that’s awesome. And same for you, you know we would protect that little lass, voraciously.
MAHTEK: Well, thank you.
AMBER: Do you have anything you want to add? I’m realizing we’re a little bit over time and I want to respect that you’re so generously calling in on your weekend.
MAHTEK: I’m happy to uh, participate and I’m glad you had me on. I think I’ve spoke enough for now.
AMBER: OK. Well, two years in a row almost to the date. So I really appreciate you making the time, and we’ll follow up over email so I’ll say goodbye to you on the phone but check in with you digitally.
MAHTEK: All right. Thank you.
AMBER: Ok, well you have a good night.
MAHTEK: Good night, goodbye.
AMBER: Bye bye.