In my youth I was into playing with fashion dolls Barbie and Ken, along with their friends Midge and Alan. My collection of the dolls never extended past that core group. Alan was lost early on and all of Ken’s fuzzy hair rubbed off, so he was essentially bald for as long as I can remember. Maybe that’s why I find Studly Doright so darned attractive.
Unlike most of my friends I didn’t go in for dressing my Barbie dolls in ball gowns and high heels. The latter never stayed on for more than ten seconds anyway. No, my dolls were meant for greater things than parading about in too tight skirts and sweaters that showed off their alarmingly enhanced charms.
I had two favorite scenarios:
1) “Space Barbie” in which Barbie and Midge are the first women in space. They travel to a distant planet where they rescue Ken who had been marooned for months. Together, the trio fight off strange life forms and build the foundation of a dynamic colony. There might have been some mild romance. I wasn’t very old, and had no idea where babies came from.
2) “Cave Barbie” in which Barbie and Midge are foraging for food in prehistoric times and wander too far from their home village. They take shelter from a violent storm in a cave and discover Ken who’d been exiled by another tribe. Together, the trio fight off strange beasts and build the foundation for a dynamic new clan.
Anyone see a pattern forming? There were other scenarios–“Pirate Barbie,” “Ranch Barbie,” and “Archeological Barbie,” to name a few. In each scenario Barbie and Midge had to pull Ken’s butt out of a life threatening predicament. Keep in mind, this was well before the popularity of career minded Barbie. I was either way ahead of my time or suffering from delusions of grandeur.
Two of my granddaughters play with Barbies. I tried to tell the oldest one about my dolls’ adventures. She wasn’t impressed.
“Did you have a Barbie house?” she asked.
“Well, no, I piled up blankets and created little caves in the folds. That’s where they lived.”
“Did your dolls have lots of pretty dresses?”
“No, but my mom found some fake fur scraps and I draped them around my Barbies to keep them warm in their caves. Cool, huh?”
“I think I like my way better,” she said.
“Fine. Be that way,” I retorted. “But just know that Ken’s blood is on your hands.”
I’m not allowed to babysit anymore.