the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson




S: Let’s talk about big Josh. Or let’s talk about that genre of manly dolls and their various defects, like having no naked pelvis but having a penis lump, but in the orange perma-panties. Which were the whole stuff of his pelvis; carve into his pelvic lump and you will find orange all the way to the core*. It’s a solid piece of orange plastic, which is really damaging to the illusion.

P: If it had been painted on we probably would have tried to cut it off with the knife, like Laurie’s face. But as it was we had to put the penis on top of the orange panty lump.

S: I think that made big Josh weirdly seem more like a eunuch than the other dolls did, because even though he was more manly to begin — had the swelling— there was no way you could plausibly endow him. So it was like he was castrated, even though he was so macho. Now I totally associate big Josh with the gay image of the really beefy but gentle and non-threatening man with a mustache. He’s like the Village People.

P: I don’t think I was ever really attracted to Big Josh.

S: I liked his hands, they were so big and curved.

P: He had nice hands. I just wasn’t interested in his manliness.

S: There’s that whole issue, which goes back to Little Women, of whether you want to be with a man or a boy, which in Little Women is resolved in favor of the man, but in our games, and we specifically referred to it with Laurie, we liked boys better. But the the man dolls like Big Josh and Alonzo became more attractive to us later.

P: I always liked Laurie and Jesse better.

S: Yeah, but they were less explicitly sexual.

P: For me they were more love objects than big Josh ever was.

S: Well are you more drawn to the person you can identify with or are you drawn to the masterful alien?

P: But you think big Josh became more attractive to us? Or to you? Because I don’t feel like he did to me.

S: I kind of liked him. I think as the games went on, I played some private games by myself and I often used Alonzo—Alonzo more than Big Josh, because he was a romantic figure as a pirate. With a peg leg. Which also goes back to the amputee fetish, by the way. As does the head-removal thing. The hands, the stumps. Poor Big Josh and his stump hands.

P: Big Josh was a total amputee.

S: He wasn’t my type really, but I think I was fascinated by the idea of virility and male attraction. But basically he was a bore, he was really square and goofy.

P: He was always sort of upright and virtuous.

S: And overlarge and bumbling, especially because of his legs —and not only when his legs began to dangle and fall off, but really all along. His toes would point accidentally, do you remember, and his hip joints were loose so his legs were always turning inward. There were many risible things about Big Josh. So what were your feelings about him?

P: Well like I said, I never really understood him. I feel like I never made him talk. Like he was too alien for me to either play him as a character or be interested in him as the romantic hero because he was just this big macho—

S: Oaf—

P: Even though he was always really nice, wasn’t he? Which didn’t make him that interesting either. Nice in a manly way. I thought of him as yours, your guy.

S: Did you like Alonzo? Because he was more dashing for sure, and had the manly qualities as well.

P: He was dashing, but he had a peg leg.

S: Which was appealing or not appealing?

P: I think it was appealing when he was a pirate, but it was weird when we played other games. He had a peg leg, he had a mustache, and he was short. And all of those things made him problematic for me. Although I thought he cut quite a dashing figure.