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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Totally Birthday Barbie

Looking at us together, you probably can’t tell that Barbie and I are the same age; sister Baby Boomers from 1959. It’s hardly a fair comparison. You can’t help but notice that plastic face and wide-eyed stare. Frankly, I think she’s had work done. Either that or she’s been cooking up something in her cutting edge gourmet kitchen besides Vegetarian Delight. If it’s Barbie’s fault that I have to sign for Sudafed during allergy season, I hope she gets a sinus infection that all the pills in her executive briefcase can’t cure.

But even with all the corporate trimmings, the girl can’t hold a job. Of course, what do you expect from someone who tattoos her underwear on her body? I can think of some suitable careers, but nothing she’d want to write home to Totally Downhome Mom and Dad about. After all, who knows what’s gone on in that Dream House over the years?

Fifty years ago Barbie hit the fashion scene as a teen—the first Supermodel that didn’t eat. That famous high step the runway models use come from Barbie before she had knees put in. Now we know where Heidi and Giselle got their inspiration. Barbie was around even before Victoria had a secret.

Frankly, I wouldn’t give the girl a job reference. A jobhopper like that will just ruin your reputation. Honestly, if you run for president three times and can’t collect a percentage of the popular vote, it’s time to move on. She’s been through more careers than Hilary Clinton has power suits. The next profession that comes out with a powderpuff pink uniform and a logo crafted from Swarovski crystals, she’ll ditch the corporate office for the double dipper position at the ice cream shop. And who knows what kind of shape the files are in at the job she left behind. It’s not like she can bend properly to put anything away. The last time she leaned over to open the bottom drawer, Ken had to go in for surgery that ultimately led to their breakup.

As a matter of fact, career stress is probably the cause of that pasty face and wide-eyed gaze. After fifty years of fretting how she’s going to make payments on that luxury Malibu lifestyle, there should be a worry line or two across that smooth forehead. Who does she think she is, Jennifer Anniston? Instead she shows up day after day with a new dress, a plastic smile, and a recycled boyfriend. One more accessory binge, honey, and Skipper and the gang are going to have to stage an intervention.

It's not that I don't love Barbie. I still have my 1960 Bubble Hairdo Barbie in a box in the closet. And come to think of it, she doesn't look anything like the perfect models on display. She shows suspicious signs of sharing a tea party or two over the years, and her home perm makes her look more bobblehead than Bubble Head. In my living room, she was the center of more weddings than a handful of Gabor sisters with an Elizabeth Taylor kicker. She never had a career, but she played out all my childhood fantasies and made a little girl’s dreams come true.

And that’s the most important job of all.

Happy Birthday, Barbie.


Anonymous said...

As always, I love your writing!
I never owned a Barbie. My mother said she looked like a street-walker, with all that make-up and "her lungs hanging out." I didn't know what a street-walker was; I thought it was someone who just liked to walk and window shop. So I didn't window shop for many years.
Happy birthday to you and Barbie!

Nancy said...

Great piece!

I had the first Barbie with the curly bangs and black & white swimsuit.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the doll type and kind of trashed her. But I did show early signs of excellent taste in accessories when I removed her pearl earrings for new ones. When I stuck the tasteful "silver" straight pins in her ears, the other ends popped through her neck. Frankenstein Barbie!

Amy Mullis said...

Your mama was right Anne. Barbie does have that special something that brings out the breast, I mean best, in all of us. And Nancy, I did the straight pin thing to hold a kleenex on her head for a bridal veil. Instant lobotomy.

Anonymous said...