A young woman who prefers puppets to men says it is impossible for her to find love because potential suitors are put off by her intimidating collection.
April Brucker, 30, who has been looking for love for the past ten years, says men are jealous of her 16 puppets which altogether are worth more than £20,000.
Miss Brucker spends hours every week looking after her “family” and performing as a ventriloquist, leaving boyfriends to struggle to get her attention.
She said: “My puppets are my children. They all have their own distinct personalities. I spend time talking to them and looking after them, just as if they were human children.
“I would rather spend time with puppets than men. Some people prefer dogs to humans. For me, it’s puppets.
“Puppets do what I want, when I want. They say what I want, when I want to hear them say it. With the best will in the world, a man can’t do that.
“Men have come along who say they are fine with my collection at first. But when they inevitably realise just how passionate I am about puppets, they struggle to understand.
“I’m still waiting for a Prince Charming to come along, who accepts me and my puppets for who we are.”
Miss Brucker was given her first puppet as a joint Christmas and birthday present shortly after she turned 13 years old.
She said: “He was modelled after the late, great comedian, Groucho Marx. He was the puppet who got me hooked – he changed my life.
“The most recent one is ‘Mortimer’, a lovely blue guy who was given to me after I’d finished filming a recent short movie at the end of last year. My collection continues to grow, which is such a blessing. They give me so much joy.
“I also have ‘May’, a valley girl, who acts the superstar. She was made to look just like me. There is also ‘Chef Cinnamon Toast’, a chef who can neither cook nor sing.
“‘Don Juan’ thinks he’s suave but it rarely works out for him. ‘Esmerelda’ is the world’s worst fortune teller. ‘Polly Parrot’ is a terrible gossip. Then there’s ‘My Mom’, an ex-beauty queen and a real hot mess. She’s actually based on a friend’s mother.
“It’s sometimes difficult to remember everybody in the group, even though they’re all equally important to me.”
When she was 21 Miss Brucker became engaged but the relationship broke down after a year.
She said: “There were problems with the relationship anyway, but at one point I felt as if he was asking me to choose between him and my ‘children’. I couldn’t bring myself to leave my family behind. It was a difficult time, but I made a clear decision to keep the puppets.
“I spend time every single day making sure they’re clean and looked after. I have to make sure that their clothes look good.
“When I transport them, I need to carry them in such a way that their heads don’t get wet, so if it’s raining I make sure they’re under the umbrella with me. I really feel like a parent sometimes.
“Although they don’t have exactly the same needs as real kids they in every meaningful way my children. The roots of my interest lie in love. I love all the children in my collection.”
As Miss Brucker, of New York City, has collected more puppets, which are worth around £5,000 each, she has attracted attention from talent scouts and has appeared as a ventriloquist on stage and on television.
She said: “I didn’t find ventriloquism – it found me. Since discovering my passion it’s been my dream to be a professional ventriloquist and recently that’s been starting to happen. I love performing for children and just recently I was part of a record-breaking marathon variety show.
“As more people see my performances, the more I’m approached by strangers, and the majority of them are men. So meeting people is not a problem.
“For me, meeting someone is not enough. They need to understand my passion for puppets, and be a kind, romantic gentleman.
“I haven’t given up hope that a man for me is out there.
“Maybe I will find love one day with a fellow ventriloquist – you never know. It would be interesting to see whether our puppets get on with each other.”
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