I just spent more on a single BJD outfit than I ever have for one in my size: ~$335.00 for Souldoll’s Eve-ZF. [Thanks to the Doll Peddlar, which had this outfit in stock Stateside so I only had to pay domestic s/h.] Well, technically, I paid that much for the mask and happened to get a dress along with it. I sure hope I can sell the dress…
Last night I decided that the un/masked doll’s name is Never, but her full name is Never the Less. I think of “the Less” as her cognomen. There’s a whole family of Nevers, including More, Do Well, Mind, Ending…and the Less, who I have. Even though “the Less” is the closest thing she has to a personal name, she goes by Never the Less, although her closest associates may be permitted to call her Natheless, an archaic form of “nevertheless.”
I picked her name because I was thinking of it as a tripartite word made of “never,” “the,” and “less.” The first is an absolute denial, the second a definite article, and the third a comparative adverb. You can’t have a greater or lesser amount of an absolute absence of something, and it certainly isn’t a definite article itself; in fact, it’s an anti-article. The competing concepts hidden in the parts of “nevertheless” make it an ambivalent, riddlesome word, especially to a language lover like me.
Never the Less has an ambivalent riddle for a name because she’s an ambivalent riddle of a character, playing with the concept of “doll.” Resin BJDs in particular are generally thought of as lifelike [despite the proliferation of fantastic anatomies] because their materials [resin, glass eyes, fiber wigs] can mimic the appearance of human skin, eyeballs, and hair to a more realistic degree than, say, a playline fashion doll. But what if Never the Less flouts the expectation of lifelikeness by clearly having no face? Is she still a traditional doll? Or is she more of a floating signifier?
Of course, there’s a whole line of questions about the relationship between her head, her mask, and her identity. She has a head, but her head doesn’t have a face. Her mask has a face, though. Is her mask her face? If her mask is her face, then is it really a mask anymore? Is she her mask? Insert stack of questions about the relationships between masks, personae, personalities, characters, inner selves, outer selves, and representations of selves here. :p
Another burning question is…what the hell else is Never the Less going to wear besides her mask? I’m thinking jeans and a T-shirt and canvas sneakers — i.e., the most realistically bourgeois and undifferentiated casual outfit I can think of. She’s operating on the same principle as the Terrible Trivium from Norman Juster’s Phantom Tollbooth, who creeped me right the fuck out because he was described as a perfectly ordinary man wearing a perfectly ordinary suit, except for he had no face, just a blank head.
She also needs a doll too. I mean — I have her mask, but I need something to put it on.