Song Bo, a middle-aged man in China, was diagnosed with a serious mental illness that left him struggling against crippling headaches and intense depression spells. He resigned himself to the thought that his illness would never let him have a good marriage or family. his life changed one day as he was browsing through an online store on Taobao (China’s equivalent to eBay), and found an item that could give him hope: a petite US$2,200 life-like silicon “love doll”.
The doll, measuring 145cm tall (4’10”), is Song Bo’s most precious possession. Named Xiao Die (小蝶“little butterfly”), Bo takes her wherever he goes and lavishes her with all the love and care a father might give his daughter. His mother raised no objection when he brought the sweet-faced doll into their household and their lives.
Despite being inanimate and speechless, Xiao Die seems to have become a source of positive change in Song Bo’s life. The photo series show him taking her around to cafes and cinemas, poring over menus, enjoying each other’s company.
Out in public, whether in malls or in train stations, the pair sometimes draw double-takes and stares from passers-by, but by the look on his face, Song Bo is content to have this little girl beside him and share in making memories.
Song Bo also lovingly carries Xiao Die as he walks down the busy streets in Tianjin, across zebra walks, and simply soaks in the moment with her while waiting for their train.
In the pictures, it certainly seems Song Bo has found hope and a new reason to live in little Xiao Die.
While the idea of fostering such a relationship with an inanimate doll might draw flack from some people, we appreciate how Song Bo has chosen to do so, knowing the responsibility of adopting and caring for a real-life human being might be too much of a strain on himself with his mental health. It takes much courage to find your own solutions within your own means and live with it with integrity and dignity.
We wish Song Bo and Xiao Die all the best, and hope this sad story has a happy ending.
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