America is desperately trying to bridge the pillow girlfriend gap with Japan.
Like most technology, they get the really great stuff in Japan and then it filters to us Yanks. We followed their auto design (until they started moving a little too fast for us, hi-ooo Toyota joke!). They got Dance Dance Revolution first. They all had smart phones first. They have ubiquitous WiFi and I still have to sit within four feet of my wireless router. The latest import from the land of falling birthrate is the girlfriend pillow. Read: Lonely Japanese Turn To Dolls For Companionship, Intercourse
The pillow is for men who aren't really into exposing themselves to the awful, painful, no-win, time-consuming thing called real ladies, but who still like a little comfort. You can see what one looks like in the photo above, and SlipperyBrick can give you the rundown of what's going on with this twin-breasted, one-armed bandita. Frankly, I'm not sure if this item is designed to be the outside or inside spoon.
As you may know, there is a Japanese cultural phenomenon called otaku. While the translation is as sticky as Japanese rice, it's generally defined as extreme fandom of a particular niche. When the word "moe" is added (i.e. otaku moe), it refers to obsession with cutesy, sometimes pubescent lady cartoon characters with huge eyes. The pillow girlfriend is designed for young men who lack the desire to meet real ladies; instead, they purchase pillowcases emblazoned with the likeness of these anime characters and begin earnest, no-chance-of-rejection relationships. The whole kit, kaboodle and pillow were the focus of an ep of a recent 30 Rock. James Franco (whom I give a B- for his performance as himself) was in a relationship with a girlfriend pillow and his agent arranged for him to date Jenna Malone (Jane Krakowski) to keep the media off his trail. If a woman who dates a gay man is called a beard, a woman who dates a pillow-lover is a...sham?
A Japanese journalist named Maki Fukasawa has dubbed timid, young Japanese men "herbivores," but if I'm correctly recognizing the looks on some of those girlfriend pillow's faces, "pillovore" seems more apt.
Along the lines of guilty love, check out Tina Fey and the man of her dreams below: