The illicit love affair between guys and their dolls

NBA athlete Robin Lopez does the unthinkable!NBA athlete Robin Lopez does the unthinkable!Paul Greenwood is the kind of man who could gain his clients' trust and then steal $75 million dollars from them. He's also the kind of man who collects teddy bears. Connection? Sure.

Both break the rules--one belonging to the state, the other to culture. As evolved as we've become, the hard and fast rule is: Men shouldn't play with dolls. Action figures, miniature cars and Star Wars memorabilia aside, showing childlike interests that lean towards the vulnerable is a flat out no-no for guys, especially beyond the age of 12. But attachments to childhood, can be comforting and healthy in small doses. Women are allowed to keep their kid's stuff-- in fact we're encouraged to buy it all over again (Hello Kitty, anyone?). Not guys. They're supposed to have the hardened, weary machismo of Tommy Lee Jones from the minute they're spanked to life. Even if their parents support their stuffed animal habit, god help them if their little league team catches wind of the secret obsession.

And what you can't have, you covet. Money, stuffed animals, what have you. That just may explain why a hedge fund manager who bilked clients out of fortunes, also spent $2 million dollars on a collection of antique teddy bears (which he now has to auction off at Christies.) He wanted to. Screw all of you!

That's not to say all men with stuffed animals are jailbaiting con-artists. A recent study in the UK revealed that 25 percent of guys admit to packing a teddy bears on trips.

"I travel enough that it's a nice reminder of home," Scott Hardy, a 34 year-old online entreprenuer, tells ABC News, on behalf of the male population. But comfort comes with ribbing. "I've had some friends who are like, 'What's with the stuffed animal?" Odds are they know exactly what's with it. They just don't admit it. Another recent study showed at childhood doll attachments carry over into college years--both for girls and boys.

The Frisky scribe, John Devore,admits to keeping his childhood Grover doll, albeit in secret. "When it comes to stuffed animals, the only difference between women and men is that women keep their dolls on their bed, and men keep them under the bed, or in my case, in a box in the back of my closet," he writes.

And why wouldn't he hide it? Look what happened to basketball star Robin Lopez when he fell asleep on the road with his Minnie Mouse doll. Snapshot. Email. Public humiliation. Even Greenwood's getting more attention for his doll collection than his guilty fraud plea. The headline of one NYMag.com story was: "Greenwood is never going to live this teddy bear thing down." And it's true.

That kind of pressure causes people to go to extremes. Look at Sir Patrick, the subject of a recent "Hoarders" episode, who boasted a collection of child-size dolls stacked from wall to wall in his house and car. An army veteran, his eccentric tendencies didn't fly in the military. Now years later, his natural impulses turned into the big F-U, also called addiction. Instead of burying the doll, he buried himself in the dolls. Now his best bet is getting cast in a David Lynch movie. Take a look at a clip here.

"Squirreling things away may also be symptomatic of a high level of generalized anxiety about the world-a fundamental insecurity," explains hoarding expert Randy Frost in Psychology Today. "We see the objects in our home as symbols of safety and comfort. This tendency seems to be exaggerated in people who hoard, because they think everything they own has this power."

Sir Patrick (Yup, that's his given name--he also wears a kimono and a beanie) is hard-pressed to sell his dolls which he not only associates with real romantic love, but also spent a fortune on. Unlike Greenwood, his prized possession don't hold the value he thought it would.

On a smaller scale, it's not unlike Michael Jackson. The pop star, who admitted to a tortured childhood of repression, also found himself in debt after taking his proclamation of Peter Pan-dom to the extreme. He didn't just purchase dolls (some even life-sized), he bought actual animals.

The point? If a guy wants to keep a doll on his bed, let him. Keep the jokes to yourself, and your concern to a minimum--lest you find yourself living with a man and his collection of teddy bears you're not allowed to touch. Stranger things have happened.