Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barbie Girl

I recently came into the possession of two Barbie dolls, which Jeff and I got in our swag bags for The White House Project's Epic Awards (this was an event held the night before we went to DR. Meryl Streep was there, I drank some kind of vodka-lemonade mixture, and the rest is all a blur. Which obviously means that I was roofied by Meryl Streep. Bitch! At least I got some free shit.)

Anyway, I've already foolishly given the Barbies away to Twitter followers who claim to have children. I should have thought to hold some kind of blog raffle--I'll do that next time. But for now you will listen to my Barbie stories, dammit (even though they are as fractured as my Barbie's knees were after I tried to bend them the wrong way to make her double-jointed like my grade school BFF Halima).

Holla, bitches! This weave would make Tyra Banks shit twice and die.

I have no idea how many Barbies I had; I just know that they all ended up with hideous double chins because I would pop their heads off every so often in order to marvel at the little round balls at the tops of their plastic necks, and when I tried to put the heads back on they always got all square and misshapen, a Perfect 10 body with the head of Jabba the Hut. I was like a factory for Butterface Barbies in the mid to late 1980s.

My friend Adri had a lot of Barbies. For some reason she always named her Barbie "Michael" when we made up stories. Michael and my Barbie had a relationship that consisted of fighting over Ken (or my Donnie Wahlberg doll--I KNOW YOU ARE JEALOUS) and changing outfits approximately every five seconds. I didn't have this cultural reference at the time, but our Barbies were basically Carrie Bradshaw if she were given a horse's dose of methamphetamines and locked in her closet. They got dressed, admired each other, changed clothes, sat down, swapped shoes and put on hats, and then decided to go shopping, which of course necessitated a dressing room montage. One time we decided that Michael would travel to Hawaii only to be kidnapped by natives who plotted to burn her passport and birth certificate. Michael, naturally, changed clothes to attend the bonfire ceremony.

I can't remember when I stopped playing with Barbies, but I think it was around the time I brought home Jem. Jem, apart from being truly, truly, truly outrageous, was also larger in scale than Barbie, so much so that you just could not play with the two of them at the same time, because Jem ended up looking like Yao Ming. Her feet, as I recall, were giant and unsightly, and since I didn't have any of the Hologram or Misfit dolls I decided the only thing to do was to make Jem into an outcast. I gave her a crude buzz cut using dull scissors that nipped off bits of her scalp. I then wrote on her face with my purple gel pen. It should come as no surprise, considering my early affinity for obscenities, that I gave Jem a forehead tattoo that read, simply, "FUCK." The Barbies retreated (possibly to Hawaii to reunite with Michael) and I soon tired of playing with a doll that resembled a cross between Sinead O'Connor and Charles Manson.

Still, though, even drunk on vodka-and-lemonade, I got a little misty when I saw Barbie in my swag bag the other night. She seemed well; apparently she's a Pet Vet now (remember when Barbie's career was the same as her outift and made her sound like a cheap exotic dancer? Peaches N' Cream, Tropical... and who could forget Crystal Barbie, who soon went the way of Crystal Pepsi?). Each outfit now is matched with a career, modeled after successful women like Anne Geddes ("Baby Photographer Barbie") and Hillary Clinton ("Politician Barbie," who wears a sapphire blue pantsuit). We can only hope that someday there will be a "Blogger Barbie," resplendent in her burrito-encrusted sweatpants and threadbare t-shirt, inspiring little girls the world over to overshare their twisted childhood memories with the world.


  1. I used to pretend that all my Barbies had died in some mass destruction and I would load their naked bodies in the back of my Barbie ranch jeep thing and roll it down the hallway dropping bodies as I went.
    The clothes were way too cool to bury them in.

    And Jem was a total freak of nature doll.
    You did right by her.

  2. Anonymous10:14 AM

    One can only hope for a Blogger Barbie. Can she also have the "secretary spread" from sitting at the computer for hours on end?

  3. I was JUST singing the Jem theme song to my coworker yesterday! I had a Jem doll as well (yes, boys can play with dolls). I was obsessed with her. My friends and I used to make up choreography to her cassette tape in my basement. I still remember some of those moves to this day.

    Smell is the most memory-inducing sense for me. To this day every now and then I'll get a whiff of something rubbery and can instantly see myself holding her in all her glory, one missing star earring, metallic leggings and all.

  4. I inherited my aunt's Barbies (the original Barbie that looked like creepy cross dresser AND had a wardrobe of WIGS!). Since my mother refused to buy me a Ken doll, I decided Retro Barbie was plenty man enough to carry off that role in Barbie's life. I dressed Retro Barbie in a man's leisure suit and that was that...

    Until the day my friend and I decided to have White RuPaul Barbie and Quick Curl Barbie (she had a wire weave that made it oh so easy to curl her wiry hair with a faux curling iron)go swimming (nude) in the Raging Rapids (gutter in front of my house during a rain storm).

    White RuPaul's hard plastic breasts made contact with the concrete gutter. By the end of the swimming session, White RuPaul had the Barbie equivalent of a radical double mastectomy. The result, two gaping holes in White RuPaul's chest.

    The leisure suit never fit so well.

  5. I would have to buy Blogger Barbie if she were ever created. Tuh-awesome!

    Also...TOTALLY HAIR BARBIE! I had one of those! She was awesome! Until her hair got totally snarled up. Then she became Prison Haircut Barbie. Hm.

    Loved this!

  6. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Hahahaha, we used to have a HUGE tub of barbies. We even had every Disney princess barbie and prince ken doll out there. Our dog chewed off Aladdin's legs--twice. No, I don't mean each leg on a separate occasion. We replaced Aladdin and his legs were taken again. Shadow did not play fair. "He chooses me or he never walks again." Apparently he made the wrong choice...more than once.

  7. I am on a conference call right now and literally laughed out loud when I got to "a factory for Butterface Barbies." Thank you for reminding me that I have a mute button. It would have good to remember prior to the awkward moment I just shared with my boss and coworkers.

  8. I remember Jem dolls! I don't think I ever had one, but I did have a collection of Barbie and the Rockers, which were around the same time and pretty much riding the Jem popularity wave. They came with a tape of songs, and my sisters and I would put the tape on and pretend that they were singing. It was so much fun!

    I was in Target the other day, perusing the toy aisle, as I am wont to do with a 2 year-old, and I came upon something TRULY outrageous. No, not Jem, but Peaches and Cream Barbie! They have resurrected her! She is back on the shelf, in the original box. Too bad I have a son and not a daughter--I just couldn't justify buying a Barbie at this stage in my life. Maybe I'll get lucky and the kid will be effeminate so one day he'll want to play Barbies with me. *fingers crossed!*

  9. Too funny that your Ken doll was Donnie Wahlberg! Mine was Joey from NKOTB! And I didn't have very many Barbies, but the ones I did have ended up with tattoos and black sharpie nail polish. Also insane haircuts. Oh to be a kid again... :)

  10. Yeah, Jem! I always used her as my enforcer. I had one Barbie that always had really long, nasty, tangled hair. She would kidnap Ken (my only Ken), so my Asian Barbie, Black Barbie, and Jem would go kick her ass and save Ken.

    Then they would execute the Long haired Barbie.

    Wow, telling that story out loud is a lot more intense then I remember it being.

  11. I supplied my daughter with TONS of Barbies thinking she and her cousin were being cute little girls dressing and redressing them. I found out years later they were playing Army and used Barbies hair as her launcher to send her across the room to kill the

  12. I, too, am hoping for a day when Barbie will accurately reflect me and my career. "Unemployed Barbie" would be a good one (with TV remote and frozen dinner in hand). So would "Disgruntled Grad Student Barbie" (she'll need a laptop and a big stack of library books).

    Also, here's my own personal Barbie rant: Why on earth do all of the Barbies have blond hair (except those who are supposedly African-American or Hawaiian)? What percentage of American women actually have blond hair?

    A Rabbi friend recently requested "Tefillin Barbie" ( Yet even this Scripturally-versed Jewish Barbie is only available in BLOND. Seriously?? How many blond female Rabbis with disproportionately small feet (and a "frum denim skirt") do you know?

  13. I played Barbies until an embarrassingly late age. I will not admit how old I was, but I was old enough.

  14. My Barbies were all whores, and my play time was filled with the percussion of plastic Barbie bodies slapping against each other, because I didn't actually know what sex was. Also, her favorite partner wasn't Ken-- it was the neighborhood boys' Michael Jackson dolls, because G.I Joe was, at that time, too little.

    I also grew up playing in a cemetery, so perhaps we shouldn't look too closely at my childhood.

  15. My Barbies were all crackwhores. Most of them had buzz cuts, and they took turns "doing it" with Ken & Jordan from NKOTB.

    Then Ken & Jordan would slap them around a bit & move on to the next one.

    I guess in hindsight I've always been fucked up in the head.

  16. Well, I'm a bit older than all of you, so my sister, Jane, and I, with our Barbies, would fight for the love of Little Joe, on Bonanza, until I decided I preferred the dark good looks of Adam, anyway. Love this post.

  17. I never changed the hair of my Barbie. Probably because I was too busy driving her through the drive-thru of our Barbie Burger King. She was just too depressed to keep up proper hygiene.

  18. I would buy a blogger Barbie in a heartbeat. I would change her sweatpants every 3-4 days, push her horn rim glasses up on her nose when they slide down her face, and order Chinese for her anytime she wants. Then make sweet, bloggy love until we felt guilty about not posting for a few hours and update our wildly successful sites whilst cuddling..

    ...too much for an inanimate object? Yeah....might have just creeped out some of your readers. My bad.

  19. My daughter won a deluxe Barbie in a radio contest right before her 8th birthday last year (

    Fifty-one years later and that doll still gets girls excited.

  20. LOVE this. everything about it.

    did you ever make your barbie pregnant?
    i used to stuff toilet paper (or other barbie clothing) underneath her baggy "barbie and the rockers" T and say she was pregnant.

  21. Ah, memories. My sister and I weren't excessively girly-girls in our day to day lives, but we routinely lost our shit for Barbie. Drawers full of Barbies, and one Ken doll with a missing leg.

    I don't remember if we even played with Barbie so much as we tried to trump each other with the better accessory. I'd get the doll with the extra-long hair, she'd get the one who could goose-step. She'd get the Mustang that could convert from a two-seater to a four-seater, and I'd get the horse that could walk on its own. Somehow she ended up with all the houses, but I might have matched her with the handmade clothes from Grandma.

  22. I'm so glad to read about other people doing horrible things to their Barbies. We used to cut up all their clothes and turn them into hookers (of course, we didn't call them that at the time. But that's what they were.) We had a Ken doll whose head we had tried to pull off, and so the little wire holding his head on (why did Kens have that, but not Barbies?) stretched all out and his head sort of flopped to the side. We called him Retardo (being the eternally politically correct kids we were) and he was always trying to sleep with Hooker Barbie, with the end result always being Pimp Ken throwing him from some high structure, or trying to flush him down the toilet in Barbie's Dream House (or the real toilet, whichever).

  23. Anonymous12:17 PM

    The last sentence left me misty-eyed. I was not a barbie fan, though. I begged for one, got one, played for exactly 15 minutes with my friend and neighbor, Michelle, then left her on the concrete carport to go play hide and seek, where I'm sure Michelle's dog eventually did her in, but I never saw her again. Hey, maybe she is in "Hawaii with Michael" too!

  24. You know, you can now buy the 1985 Peaches and Cream Barbie at Target???

  25. I had approximately 7 Barbies..and I hated them all.
    I hated their smug smiles and size -34 waists.
    I used to have my army men and California Raisins do surprised ambushes on them.

  26. I broke up with Peaches 'n' Cream Barbie when I discovered her alter ego, Sexy Sadie (thanks to my bro). Her crew cut and tattoos didn't jive with the other Barbie girls.

    Actually, she probably would've jived rather with them well...

  27. My dear sweet cousin was the one that made all my barbies have the Jaba the Hut heads. Especially the blonde ones (I was blonde, she was not)

    I also loved Jem and had her tape along with barbie and the rockers of which I would always jame to in my dad's truck.

    By the way my dad is a redneck so you can imagine the looks he got while driving down the road singing along with his little girl to Jem!

    Love my dad! Miss the Barbie days!

  28. I used to force my Barbies to enact very complicated sex scenes. Barbie and Ken and Barbie, or just Barbie and Barbie, sometimes.

    I was a very sheltered child, and I have no idea where that came from. Like so sheltered I undressed my Ken doll to see what boys had down there, and became very, very confused for an embarrassingly long amount of time about why boys were different from girls.

  29. I'm afraid I'm going to be forced to recount the great Barbie Thanksgiving Day Massacre. Prepare yourselves, it wasn't pretty.

    Seven or eight years back we had our family Thanksgiving feast on the Saturday after the big day. It saves everyone from having to play musical feasts all on one day. Anyway, one of my granddaughters, who really despised Barbie (she was all about the Bratz though) had come into possession of a large box full of nothing but Barbie in her many forms and fashions with a smattering of Ken dolls and one GI Joe. Her dislike of Barbie was so intense that she had mutilated almost all of them in very disturbing ways.

    My two sons and my older sister got to digging around in the box and ended up spending the entire day and long into the night playing with those mangled Barbies. We had to just fix them plates and take them to them because they wouldn't stop their game. They had an elaborate drama set up with dialog and a thrilling denouement of a courtroom drama.

    It turned out that one of the Kens was a sadistic mass murderer, causing many decapitations and other various horrors. They made chalk outlines around the victims on my DIL's coffee table, my son broke out his old toys from when he was a child and they built sets with Legos and Lincoln logs.

    And the names of the Barbies: There was Paraplegic Barbie (arms and legs so mangled they wouldn't hold a position at all), Quadruple Amputee Barbie, Hooker Barbies one, two, three and four, Shiftless Drifter Ken, Banker Ken, Transvestite Ken, Male Hooker Ken, Prosecuter Ken, Don't Ask Don't Tell GI Joe, Lawyer Barbie, Judge Barbie. I can't even remember them all, there were many bit players, including a few Weebles.

    While the defense tried to pin the murders on Shiftless Drifter Ken, it ended up that it was actually Banker Ken who did the deeds. DADT GI Joe, who had actually saved the life of Quadruple Amputee Barbie by running off the attacker, applying tourniquets, and making the 911 call before disappearing into the night, was forced to come forward to identify the killer, which resulted in his being outed in court, as his tryst with Male Hooker Ken was revealed. Gasps were heard throughout the Weeble gallery.

    So, yeah, that's how my family rolls during the holidays. How sick is that? At least we're not at each other's throats. There's that...

  30. Being British I had 2 Sindy dolls (like Barbie but fatter and with less exotic accessories) and a whole mass of the smaller version called Pippa (2x Pippa, Marie, Brit etc.)I had a Mary Quant Daisy doll too. I always wanted a barbie though. . . .

    My Sindy's used to have affairs with my friends Action Man dolls and they were a lesbian couple and single mothers to Daisy and the horde of Pippas

  31. I used to play barbie dolls religiously with my neighborhood girl friends.

    When one of my friends was angry at us or jealous (either about changing the plot of the barbies lives in our Barbie's favor - meaning they end up with the convertible AND the hot guy, OR when I got the barbie dream house for christmas one year) she would rip the heads off of our barbies.

    I had to get rid of a lot of barbies because she did that. Brat.

  32. girlfriend you are too funny! i am embarrassed at how much this post made me laugh, despite the fact that i am alone in my home office

    someday you must publish a collection of your all-time-best exit lines....

    "We can only hope that someday there will be a 'Blogger Barbie,' resplendent in her burrito-encrusted sweatpants and threadbare t-shirt, inspiring little girls the world over to overshare their twisted childhood memories with the world."


  33. Oh man, you guys are hilarious and awesome. I'm so sorry I haven't been commenting/responding more -- what with vacation and birthday shenanigans and catching up on work. But I read them, and love them, all. Thanks!

  34. How many people can actually say they were roofied by Meryl Streep? Actually, maybe a lot more, I don't know how often she does that...

    I had one Barbie I called "Experiment Barbie", which meant I cut her hair, dyed what was left, and drew all over her. She was an outcast.

  35. Ok, so you should know that I started to sing "Jem, I'm gonna live forever" only to remember that, that was the song from Fame and not Jem....however, I do think my version has a nice ring to it. LOL! Hilarious post!

  36. In defense of naming my favorite Barbie 'Michael,' I thought that I was being so unique for a 9 year old. Michael was cool, made out with Ken in between costume changes, and was popular enough that people wanted to kidnap her.
    But, damn, we did have a lot of Barbies and a lot of fun dressing them up while we ourselves wore some nasty 80's duds. Blogger Barbie wouldn't have been a big stretch from what we were wearing other than her colors might be more drab than our 80's day-glo.
    ps - Do you remember that we always made them get married at age 26? We must have pulled that number out of our a$$es, but I still used to see it as the ideal age. That is, until I was 26 and not married.

  37. Your amazing post inspired me to break out the photographic evidence of a Barbie-obsessed (and fat) childhood. See the following links:


    Also fatty- but note (in the background) the minor hair bow collection and purse made out of jean shorts and some sort of rope:

  38. Oh man, every time I think I will end up in the boobyhatch (as my mother used to say), I read your blog and practically wet my pants laughing. Sincere thanks to you and to your parents for producing such a child with a sick sense of humor similar to my own. Saw a saying on the wall at the dentist today while awaiting my eldest to get clean teeth. It said "Raising children is like being pecked to death by a chicken." May I underscore the truth of that statement. Thanks for saving my sanity!

  39. I totally have that Barbie in the picture...and I also had one of the brothers from NKOTB...thank God I can't remember any of their names. I used to reenact whatever was happening on the Young and the Restless, which meant a lot of sex and cheating. All the Ken dolls cheated with the gymnast Barbie, who if you remember had bendy legs that could go behind her head (I started my perversion young).


    WV: chited, which is almost what I did in my pants....LOL

  41. Nice to see the TWHP shout out...I was there!

    p.s. I saw Meryl drop something in your cup. hehe.

  42. That settles it. I want to spend all my holidays with iamandyleigh's family from now on.

    My Barbie was kinky. She always wanted Ken to spank her. (You think I'm making this up. I'm not.)

    I want a 12 Step Barbie and Co-Dependant Ken for my birthday! "Hello, my name is Barbie and I'm a fashionista. It's been five minutes since I last accessorized."

  43. I had a Joe M. from NKOTB doll. He was great... leather jacket, microphone, big yellow socks that meant his shoes didnt fit. Good times. :) x

  44. I had that exact Barbie when I was a little girl. I once accidently smacked my little brother in the face with that long mane - I was trying to get her to casually toss it over her shoulders. Harder to do than one might think.

  45. Janina, you'd be welcome to come. Just be prepared for whatever crazy shows up at any given gathering. We're a twisted, yet fun-loving, bunch.

    I'm apparently old enough to be at least the mother of most of you. I had the original Barbie, the one that really looked just like Eva Gabor. She was stiff as a board. Nothing bent, although you could make her goose-step if you had the strength to make those stiff joints move. It was easier to open a pickle jar than it was to turn her head.

    My grandmother had tatted all these beautiful dresses for her. I mean, it was couture. Unfortunately, Barbie was too stiff to allow putting them on her. She was a rigid bitch.

    The house I grew up in was struck by lightening and burned down before I had removed all my childhood treasures, and all the beautiful clothes grandma made were lost. But my original Barbie survived, due to my mother's lust of dolls and her willingness to steal them from her own children. When my mother passed, I found my original Barbie in one of her treasure boxes. I'd forgotten that I'd dyed her hair using the only magic marker colors available at that time, red and black. I made it red first, then black. I was very anal about the process, as the hair is the only thing with color on it at all, each hair is thoroughly colored, and no stray marker abuse anywhere, not even her scalp. Oddly, she's dressed in a short SaranWrap sheath held in place by a neon green bow.

    I had the original Ken, too, but I didn't like him at all. I used him as a digging tool for several years, but the last time I remember seeing him, his legs were protruding from a large cowpie (from a real cow, I was a farm girl). Such is life.

  46. I got a Peaches 'N Cream Barbie for my birthday one year and I cried. I asked for She-ra and got Barbie. Didn't they know She-ra was the F(*^ing princess of POWER? Gah... I was mad.

  47. When I was little I used to cut Barbies' hair try and change their eyeshadow color using nail polish. Every one of them ended up looking like a cracked-out tranny with fresh hair plugs. Oh the memories... hahaha.

  48. I, too, had at least one doll that was bigger than the rest and was therefore obviously the "different" one when I played with them. But instead of a Jem doll, it was a Sailor Jupiter doll, and instead of being an outcast she kind of became some kind of weird fashion dictator over all the other, because she had the power to hit all the other dolls with a bolt of lightning and steal their lunch money.

  49. Una, You should check out the documentary Marwencol--yes strange name but it is good and let's just say that it is real life fun with Barbies and other dolls--and no, sorry it's not kinky--well maybe a little. Saw it at the SXSW Film Fest in March so I don't know if it's available yet like on video rental sites but keep an eye out for it.

  50. I will date myself as a youngin' of 23 (that's what my 27 year old co-worker calls me so I'll live) but I totally have that Barbie seen in your picture. With original hair & dress. Clearly that picture does not highlight her dress rides up with wear factor that is bound to happen. Also in carefully brushing her hair her head would always want to come off or at least squish to one side.

  51. Ah, you brought back some fond memories for me by sharing yours. *stares off dreamily* And though I don't remember the doll, I know I had that barbie dress in the photo; Renee is right, that thing flashes Barbies assets the toyworld at the drop of a hat.


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