I watch a lot of TV. A lot of TV. Especially during baseball season. When the season ends, or the White Sox are eliminated, I turn to basketball. Pro basketball. Bulls basketball. I used to say that I could live without the dish if only for hardball and hoops, but I was lying. In between seasons I tend to watch the program guide almost as much as actual programs, which is how I stumbled upon Sex Robot.

I was expecting to find one of those infomercials they play late at night promoting something with a latex jack rabbit, but it turned out to be a documentary on the Discovery Health network (Actually, I think the full name was Strange Sex – Sex Robot, but the title was too long to fit in the box and it reads better this way). Despite my reservations, on account of the ick factor, my interest was piqued. After all, it was the Discovery Health channel and I just caught the start.

All over America, there are thousands of men with an unlikely obsession…

Now I don’t really concern myself with the sex lives of others. I don’t care what consenting adults do in their private lives. People can be straight, gay, into furries or dress up as Princess Leia and Jabba the Hut and have at it. That’s their business and as far as I am concerned, let’s keep it that way. So I don’t want to make fun of the men featured in the film, because that’s not my point. The jokes are too easy. Besides, I was really hoping it was gonna be a new reality show.

At the time, I was just finishing up reading The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes that came out last year. Reading about discoverers and inventors such as William and Caroline Herschel (who discovered Uranus and numerous comets, respectively) and Humphry Davy (who discovered nitrous oxide by testing it on himself), I’ve come to appreciate their dedication and sacrifice to science. So as I sat there watching Sex Robot, what fascinated me was the work of Douglas Hines, the inventor of Roxxxy, which claims to be the world’s first robot girlfriend. Prior to that, I had never really imagined there was an inventor or sex robots. But somewhere in America, there is a man in a basement working on a prototype.

Conservatives like to ridicule spending money on research when they see no benefit or the answers are obvious, yet they like to be in control of bodies not their own. On the other hand, liberals generally favor any spending on health research. Men always think about sex. And who doesn’t appreciate an appliance that helps with the housework? So I think this is science everyone can get behind. Sure, there are moral consequences to consider. But as with the dawn of the Internet Age, this is the era of the sex robot frontier. We’re making up the rules as we go along.

Ultimately, I was bored with the documentary format of Sex Robot. Maybe a reality show is too much to ask. But I could see this as a buddy flick.

Tom Long is one-third of the seldom heard Chicago band The Ethyl Mermen. The name Tom Long can be found in the dictionary, Baseball Encyclopedia and a pub in Ireland. Tom Long is not affiliated with any other Tom Long; he won the rights to use his own name after prevailing in a three-way game of Jan-ken-pon by choosing "dynamite!" No Toms were harmed in the making of this blog.

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