Thumb through any adult magazine from mid-century through the seventies, and you’re bound to land on a “love doll” advertisement. Call it sick, call it depraved, call it whatever you like – the fact is, these ads were ubiquitous in men’s rags; so, they were definitely finding plenty of customers. Evidently, a low-maintenance gal who didn’t talk much was a hot commodity back then. Let’s have a look at some examples…
This ad from 1971 demonstrates how unbelievably dishonest the love doll marketing could be. Obviously, the vinyl inflatable Judy is not going to serve you drinks. Plus, she’s not going to look remotely lifelike. My understanding is that Japan is developing some disturbingly realistic “love robots”; but back in 1971 for $8.95 plus 95 cents shipping, Judy was laughably unrealistic.
Why bother with a real woman when, for $7.95 plus shipping, you can have Helga, who “makes all other dolls sold look like toys”.
This ad just makes me sad. How lonely do you have to be to order Judy “for conversation, for companionship”? Or you can order Susan, “Judy’s negro friend”.
Sweet Lord. There really is no hope for humanity, is there? Do yo use the cartoon depicting a guy taking his inflatable girlfriend (Judy again) to a party and camping? “We’re popular” it says.
This one specifies that it will be delivered in plain brown wrapping… because, although it’s cool and “sexational” to have a blow-up doll, I don’t think the neighbors will approve.
Check this dude out – he’s livin’ the dream. “I’m so flexible you can put me in the car as your traveling companion… or even hold me in your lap and tell me all of your secrets.”
At least this advert from 1973 doesn’t pretend Candy will be your soul mate who you take to cocktail parties.
“Sophie has many of the qualities a man looks for in a woman… her mouth permanently open as though amazed by who stands before her.” Oh, brother.
“Floats in water.” That’s a relief. That would be really disturbing to come home to find Gretchen at the bottom of the swimming pool.
You might hope that, by the close of the 1970s, we’d moved past the love doll fantasy. Alas, the price has gone up to $29.95, but the dream remains.
I have no idea why the blow-up doll at right is a whopping $69.95. It’s the oldest ad of this entire selection, so it should be cheaper.
My advise to the ladies – if you find out your boyfriend has a Judy or Susan stashed away, don’t hold it against him. It was probably just from a lonely period of his life. However, if you find he has stuffed women’s heads mounted like trophies – run. Run as fast as your legs will carry you.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.