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The anxiety of doll repairs

Doll Care

I'll start right out, and say, people who don't take care of their dolls piss me off. Never mind that my way of seeing dolls is not everyone's way of seeing them. I heard a well known photographer in the doll community once say, "When my dolls need more than one repair, I just throw them away." That's the other side of the aisle from me in this discussion. I would never throw Mikasa (my doll, and portrayed as DollBanger's girlfriend doll on the DollBanger website) away. Even if I can't have sex with her anymore. She's a doll that was made for me, and not cheaply. But, more over, I've come to "care" about her a lot. As I've said in other doll philosophy posts, I know what a doll is, and even calling a doll "she" is stretching credibility, but I also explain why I think of my doll as "she", not a person, but Mikasa. But again, this is not a universal view on dolls. Bottom line is, whether you see dolls my way, the "throw them out" way, or anywhere in between, letting a doll fall into disrepair seems like a stupid thing to do.

Case in point, I received a used doll a few weeks back (of this posting) and the doll was dirty and the feet were damaged from being stored badly. I was frankly put off, and felt bad for "her" - she's a Doll Forever Mulan (one of my favourite dolls), so I felt particularly annoyed. I took these quick snaps of her feet.

It was heartbreaking to see a beautiful doll in this disguisting state, so I put her on my doll table (a cushioned table) and I cleaned her and re-applied her body makeup. This guy was trying to sell this doll, and I didn't have to do this, but I decided to repair her feet on my own time. Not to help him sell her because, well, fuck that guy for letting her get to this state, but because she's a beautiful design and pretty doll and I just FELT bad. So, I fixed them. These photos were taken, after which I decided to smooth out the flakes - a cause of the TPE flaking under the heated sculpting tools. I'm still learning about repairs and not a pro at it yet, but getting there.

I say all of that to make the point that even though there's irritation at seeing dolls in disrepair, I feel much more anxiety about repairing them. The fear I'll make it worse or ruin the doll. That's a legitimate concern because it can happen easily if you're not careful, and you'll for sure make mistakes in your repairs. But, its necessary. Another saying I picked up from The Doll Forum (a statement made by someone who repairs dolls a lot) was, "If you own a doll, 100% you own a damaged doll. It's just that you haven't seen it yet." He was right. Even brand new dolls out of the box will have some looming defect yet to present itself.

I have the privilege of access to many dolls. Before you assume I'm just rolling in financial resources... nope. Our doll seller partners provide the dolls for us to shoot content. An arrangement we're very grateful for, and as such, the condition of the dolls is very important. Not only do they need to be visually "perfect" for the cameras, they also need to remain in the same new condition they arrived in, and leave as good as new when they are returned. So, cleaning the dolls, storing them safety, standing them up in the day, and laying them down at night - all part of the daily routine here at the DollBanger home/studio. Paying this much attention to the dolls' condition really sharpens my appreciation for how good a doll can look even after years of use, but also for how terrible a dolls' condition can get if neglected or poorly used.

If you own a doll and you're terrified of damaging her for fear of having to fix her... you're right, so don't damage her. That, however, is impossible. I have less anxiety now about fixing dolls than I used to. I have a better graps now on how far I can push TPE before the repair goes too far and just becomes new damage. But it's no easier, even if I'm less anxious.

Being emotional about dolls, more than just practicle (I drift to this side of the line myself) means repairs are going to feel personal. I'm not using a heat gun to anneal the thermal plastic elastomer surrounding the should joint of my sex toy, I'm "fixing Mikasa's boo-boos" and that is a feeling I have a hard time shaking, even though I'm entirely aware that the previous statement is more true. If damage and repairs scare you, you're not alone. Hit me up for advice - or to vent - if it helps you get through it, but also spend some time practicing on scrap TPE before that day comes that you have to "take a hot knife" to your precious girl. A little earned confidence before you have to do it for real will help you a lot.

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