Yelena was one of those beautiful women who seem to walk with a slight but visible hunch. Shoulders kept high as though to ward off the gaze of all the men who pass.
She was a treat to look at however. Long blonde hair with misty blue eyes. Tall, but not too tall, with a figure that filled me with longing whenever she walked in front of me. The fact that she pushed all my sexual desire buttons should have been a warning.
The city itself was built on many islands with a huge number of bridges connecting them. The buildings were a complex mixture of baroque and neoclassical, their empty cleanliness reminiscent of a painting by de Chirico. The effect was diminished by the huge, out of context, skyscraper stabbing the sky in the city's downtown.
It wasn't until we were in some large, chilly square surrounded on all sides by impressive Romanesque buildings that I made a move on the, until then silent, Yelena.
"Why do you hide yourself in this polished mausoleum? A girl as beautiful as you could do well elsewhere."
She finally turned to look at me, her perfect face as empty as a reflection in a soapbubble.
"I like it here. It's where I belong. It's where I was born."
"We all feel that when young. Then we grow up and begin to desire the exotic."
"You and your kind do. We wish only for stability."
Then I realised, later than I should, that the lovely Yelena was a puppet.
How many generations of selective breeding, how much training, were required to produce a puppet as nearly perfect as Yelena I don't know. I will admit that on understanding what she was my heart leapt. All human men experiment with female puppets. It's one of the perks of being human. Most grow out of it, however, as they realise the greater joys of human women. When one can have a willing partner at any time the attractions of having to make an effort to find a one become great.
All men, even those attracted to other men, can fall into treating sex as a form of masturbation, a fact true even with those we love the most. Sex with puppets makes that tendency all the greater, the puppet being totally focused on its masters pleasure.
The saying is, "Real men don't use puppets. All men do."
I used Yelena that night, that milkily blank expression never changing although her eyes, at times, became hard and opaque as I experimented in treating her as I would a human woman.
It was late when I was done and, through that feeling of exhausted satiation, I measured my image of myself and found it diminished.