Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Retail frustrations: boy parts

I've been looking for an anatomically correct baby boy doll for K as a big sister gift. I have three criteria for it, which seem like simple desires:

1. Non-mechanical
2. Under $25
3. Available from Amazon.com, since I have a gift certificate

This is turning out to be much harder than it should be. The first problem is Amazon.com, which it turns out has a criminally bad search function. I can understand why they wouldn't want the standard search to search an entire entry since that could produce an insane number of results, but it's not an option in the advanced search, so there are parts of entries that are simply impossible to search. So if I search on "anatomically correct" in toys, there are any number of things it misses because "anatomically correct" appears in a part of the entry that isn't searched.

The second issue is how inexplicably coy some manufacturers are about the gender explicitness of their dolls. I've found any number of dolls on lists of anatomically correct dolls that don't so much as whisper that fact on either the manufacturer's website, on Amazon, or even on the package. Some of them use the euphemism "Real Boy," as in, "We may not come right and say it, but our doll is ALL BOY under that diaper, if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink." This seems like a particularly stupid move, since they run the risk of both losing customers like me who are looking for a feature they aren't advertising, and offending the sort of customers who get the vapors at the thought of their children having a doll with genitals.

It's hard to describe just how absurd this search has become so quickly. I find myself going through toystores fingering doll crotches like some sort of mad doll pervert. I think things that I never thought would go through my head, like "Why won't they just say if the doll has a friggin' penis already?" and "Well, I could get a soft-bodied doll and enhance it, so to speak. How hard can it be to sew a doll penis?"

I won't even get into how looking for an anatomically correct doll inevitably brings you into the deeply disturbing world of reborning.

Out of what I've found so far, my choices range from the hideously expensive, those that possess more computer circuitry than a NASA satellite, the non-committal and the just plain hideous. And sometimes all of those at once (okay, I exaggerate a tad, given that the price is only a little bit over my limit. But trust me, seen in person, I have rarely seen a creepier doll). Right now, I'm debating between a nice-looking doll available for the right price from Amazon that doesn't seem to be anatomically correct (I can't find any references to it, ahem, packing in the diaper area although it does say it has a "lifelike bottom," a maddeningly vague potential euphemism if I've ever heard one), and a doll that is exactly what I want, but while absurdly expensive on Amazon, available for a reasonable price elsewhere. The problem with elsewhere, of course, is I have to spend my actual money instead of using my handy gift certificate. At the moment, I'm leaning toward the doll available from Amazon and trying to decide if I want to try my skills as a fabric pornographer.

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