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Robots for Romantic Old Maids (1928)

The July 1, 1928 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) ran a syndicated story titled, "Romantic Old Maids Can Hear the Words of Love They Long For."

The excerpt below tells the tale of a futuristic unmarried woman who keeps a robot under her bed. This automated man, which was naturally all the rage in 1929, gives her all the love and attention no "mortal man" will give her. The woman, even in such a contrived environment, must feign astonishment that a "man" would be in her bedroom.

I found it interesting that an article from the 1920s would mention the existence of gigolos (who of course, only exist in Europe). The article explains that such gigolos, who "pay attention" to old and unattractive ladies of wealth, will now be put out of work by these gear-driven casanovas. And here you thought the idea of sexbots was new...

At the same rate of progress it should not require more than a decade or so before a person can go to a store and pick out from the show case most any kind of automatic man or woman he or she might fancy -- an ideal servant or workman who would ask no food or wages but a little current and an occasional drop of oil; or even a flattering admirer could be purchased who would whisper in a neglected wife's ear, all the nice things that a busy husband forgets to say.

In this happy future, no old maid need look under the bed for a man, in vain. He would always be there and such a nice man, a perfect imitation of her favorite matinee idol or film star, with blond or dark hair, moustache or clean shaven, anything her heart desired. These would be stock models, turned out in quantity production and quite reasonable in price. This year probably a "Lindy" model would have been a big seller. Or, if the customer is willing to pay a little more and have one made to order, the manufacturer might send artists and photographers to some notorious lounge-lizard and deliver a perfect counterfeit of him. She could order the late Rudolf Valentine's face and John Barrymore's voice or most any other combination.

The present crude automations can be made to start on most any combination of tones, therefore the man under the bed might be set to react at the words:

"Sir! What are you doing there?"

At that cue he would crawl out and on bended knees, pour out words from 1,000 feet of phonofilm, revealing his hopeless passion for the love-starved old maid, telling her how beautiful she is and all the other sweet things that somebody out to have said but no mortal had bothered to.

When she tired of hearing this over and over, a word of encouragement would be the end to slide into place in his manly chest, another reel and at the same time he could sit beside her on the couch or take her on his substantial knees, embracing her with a tireless mechanical arm. The introduction of this kind of automation would throw out of work a small army of "gigolos," young men who in Europe, pay attention to old and unattractive ladies of wealth, for a consideration.

You can read the entire article here.

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Reader Comments (6)

That is too funny. Makes me think of the movie "Mumford".

Regarding your comment, "And here you thought the idea of sexbots was new...", it seems we rarely have new ideas, just new improvements thanks to technological advances.

July 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwr3n

Reminds me of (and even kind of resembles) Jess Fink's comic Chester 5000 XYV (NSFW), a tale of a Victorian-era inventor who builds his neglected wife a dapper mechanical man for companionship.

July 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAaron T.

Hey, my wife has a mechanical replacement for's much more compact however; it only takes a couple batteries and stows easily into any purse or drawer. ^_^

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrainwreck

The article's gigolo isn't really that shocking. The era seemed obsessed with them, if ever you hear a song from the time, gigolos are often part of the lyrics.

August 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob

The predecessor to the blow-up doll or the dildo.
We're slowly getting there, though.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

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