Sex-doll news roundup: coronavirus edition; plus a guy who wants to marry his doll, but only after she gets work done

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      No, the "sex-doll news roundup" isn't going to be a regular thing. It's just that sometimes you fall down a weird-news rabbit hole, like I did today.

      First, from RealDoll, the U.S.-based maker of high-end virtual sex partners, comes a claim that, in these pandemic times in which we live, their products are perfectly safe. Just in case you had any doubts. The company (which is also known as Abyss, presumably a reference to the Uncanny Valley in which its dolls reside) posted the following to Instagram: 

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      "Self isolating doesn’t have to be the worst! All RealDolls are made from Platinum Grade Silicone and are naturally antibacterial and nonporous!"

      That's right: antibacterial. It's unclear whether or not this claim has been independently verified.

      In semi-related news, a U.K.-based company is blaming the coronavirus for a shortage of sex dolls in the country. Jade Stanley, who operates Sex Doll Official, told the Sun Online that factory workers in China, where her dolls are manufactured, took off for Chinese New Year but were then quarantined when the virus hit and never returned to work.

      The same article notes that Stanley, who hails from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, "launched her business in 2018 and last year it became the UK's first to offer a rental service"—which has me really, really hoping that these things are indeed antibacterial.

      Yuri Tolochko is no renter. No sir, the Kazakhstan-based bodybuilder owns his sex doll. And ownership clearly has its privileges, as Tolochko has announced his intention to marry his latex ladyfriend, which he calls "Margo".

      Folks, I couldn't make this stuff up (although I fully acknowledge that someone might have). Thanks to the U.K.'s Daily Star, which is surely a reputable news source and not a sleazy tabloid, the Kazakh muscleman actually popped the question back in December, but today he officially set the wedding date: March 27. According to the Star, Tolochko said there was significance to that particular day: “It was very important for me that the party took place on that date, World Theatre Day, and my baby supported me on this.”

      While that tidbit—and the fact that Tolochko is an actor—would seem to lend credence to the notion that this is some sort of performance piece or publicity stunt, we'll take the word of the Star that this is all very real. Or at least as real as a marriage between a man and an inanimate object could ever be.

      According to Tolochko, Margo recently underwent cosmetic procedures to address insecurities about her appearance: "When I presented her photo to the world, there was a lot of criticism and she began to develop a complex so we decided to have plastic surgery. She has changed a lot. At first, it was hard to accept but I got used to it later on. It was at a real clinic with real doctors."

      See? It's all real!