If you haven’t been paying attention, I’m a boy. Shocking, yes? I was born a boy, grew up a boy, and am currently still a boy. This is relevant because today I’m going to talk about Barbies. What could a boy possibly say about Barbies? Plenty, because while I grew up as a boy, all my friends were girls. Plus, Barbie is still incredibly popular these days, so it’s time for a follow-up article to the most famous girls’ toy from a boy’s perspective. Grab your pink convertible and let’s go for a ride.
The Exhaulted Backstory
The year is 1959 for those keeping track. No, not for my childhood, for Barbie’s. Barbara Millicent Roberts was created by Ruth Handler in an attempt to replicate a German doll named Bild Lilli. That’s right, Barbie may just be a replicant of her German ancestors. Would that make her any less successful? I seriously doubt it.
Anyway, Barbie came out way back when and held strong from her inception to yesterday (I haven’t checked today, but I assume she’s still Mattel’s star product), and eventually her life and mine intersected around the late 80’s and early 90’s. I was busy with my current love, Ninja Turtles, but I also had another love: girls. Girls were awesome and I was a smart child, so it was inevitable that I’d find the usefulness of Barbie.
My Childhood With Barbie
Sure enough, my friends that happened to be girls (not girlfriends, unfortunately) coincidentally enjoyed Barbie just as much as the next female. The standard models of Barbie came into play, such as Barbie in a bikini, Barbie in an elegant dress, and naked Barbie, a staple of every Barbie collection. Her sisters were in the mix, too, with Skipper, Stacie, and Krissy tagging along in the pink cars to the convenience stand that Barbie owned for some reason or wherever else my friends decided these dolls should go.
I found a nice way to compromise while playing, of course. I had a few G.I. Joes that were the same size as the Barbies, so I’d bring those along and they’d fight right in front of Barbie’s hotdog stand or whatever it was while she swooned. I assume my friends were making her swoon and that sound wasn’t just them getting bored. Even better, I had a Ninja Turtle the same size as well, so Michelangelo got in on the Barbie action a few times, fending off Joe and Ken at the same time.
By the way, I was never quite clear on where Barbie and Ken stood. I knew they were together, but then Mattel came out and said the two broke up in 2004 or something and then got back together in 2006, but I didn’t buy it. Their romance was never genuine, a fact I could see by the fake smiles they always had on when seen in public together. Ken was so lame to me even as a guy that I’d refuse to play as him, opting to be one of Barbie’s friends or sisters or whatever, as long as I wasn’t Ken.
From a guy’s perspective, Barbie had a lot of cool stuff. I mean, she had dozens of playsets and accessory packs. While it didn’t really interest me to look at clothes and shoes, I could relate insomuch as G.I. Joes had accessory packs with guns and suits and stuff, so the two worlds weren’t really so different. I could definitely see the appeal of all the playsets as well. Barbie had a dream mansion with a real working elevator. None of my Ninja Turtle playsets had a real working anything, let alone an elevator.
My sister had the Barbie Dream Mansion, a super Christmas gift my parents got her one year that even got ME jazzed. Heck, that thing was huge. Plus, I guess I liked my sister. She had a few Barbies but nothing outrageous. Probably the coolest thing I remember seeing her do was gather all her Barbies in a circle, and when we’d asked her what they were doing she said they were having a Bible study. When we’d look back at the circle, our cat, Alex, had grabbed one of the Barbies by the hair and drug it under my sister’s bed where he proceeded to lick its face. Yes, he was the manliest man cat of all man kind.
That’s about as far as I’d like to remember Barbie at the moment, but I know for sure that when I have a daughter, I’ll be getting her a Barbie as soon as possible. But what about you kind folks reading out there? Do you have any good Barbie memories? Or do you prefer not to think about her? Let me know and leave a comment. I have to go play with Ninja Turtles in the meantime to rekindle my manliness. Please excuse me.