Having kids at Christmastime gets me thinking…thinking about gifts I got, gifts I wanted, and gifts I wanted and never got.
When you’re a grown-up you still pine, but it’s different. It’s when you open the baking cabinet for flour and sugar for cookies but half eaten bags of Kettle chips topple out onto your face and you curse the idiots who sometime in the 1970’s thought it was a good idea to drop the ceiling in your 1920’s bungalow kitchen, install fluorescent lights and leave it with absolutely no storage space. How I long for a pantry. It’s when you put your husband’s undershirts away and you can’t open his chest of drawers and you’re like, “I wish for 2 more inches of drawer space.” Pining grownups are different than pining children.
My little girl wants literally everything she sees. I can remember feeling that way-if I didn’t get those purple cat sunglasses with the loop that held them around my neck, then I just, might, die. It’s a helpless feeling. When you’re a grown-up you just throw away the old bag of crumbly chips or toss the holey undershirts that impede the drawer from opening…but when you’re a kid, there’s really nothing you can do.
There wasn’t anything I wanted more and longer as a kid, than some men in my doll collection.
You see, from a very young age…I was a romantic (this is obviously secret code for pervy).
Initially, as little girls, my mom bought us dolls. Big beautiful baby dolls, called Sasha dolls. They were made in England and they were all female and their clothing was mid 1940s. When my sisters and I played with them…there were boys and there was love, but like the Greeks who performed all of the gory stuff off stage, so it was with us. Our imaginations filled in the gaps of what happened when they went to the dance and met Prince Charming or Gilbert Blythe or Almanzo or whoever.
But then someone gave me my first Barbie. I haven’t asked my mom-but I doubt she was thrilled about this development. The Barbie was blonde and had the characteristic disfigured female body that moms of little girls love to loathe. Shortly after that, we received a “Hawaiian Ken” doll. He was 90% naked (pronounced ne-ked because he caused nothing but trouble in our house) wearing only swim shorts. Over the years, we added several more Barbie and Skipper dolls to our collection, but no other male dolls. There was just neked Ken. And man was he neked. He got all those girl dolls to form a nudist colony and to have sex (they always got married and the sex act between them was an uneducated 11 year old’s version of sex, but still-Barbie immorality was rampant). And after years of promiscuity, he got his butt, along with the other dolls (ie. mere victims of chauvinism), taken away by my mom. Good call, mom.
After this development, I had to go to my friends’ houses to play wedding night Barbie. Not only that, their Barbies had houses that were not repurposed desk chairs and cars that weren’t shoe boxes. And I’m embarrassed to say…when my youngest sister got a Jason Preistly doll WITH a full outfit and who’s arms bent at a 90 degree angle (important for smooching), I maybe played with him and a female doll when I was 14…and there was definitely making out.
Now that I’m a mom, I cringe at the thought that someday my little girls will ask for Barbies and Ken dolls. I see now, why Ken dolls and Ken doll accessory requests were just simply ignored by my parents. And perhaps, I will do the same. I will smother my little girls with baby dolls and stuffed bears and tennis rackets and Little House on the Prairie books and pray hard that Ken dolls and Barbie dolls with their disgusting disfigured tanned bodies never ever make their way into our cramped little Bungalow. But if they infiltrate, somehow…I guarantee you-I will be watching that pervert Ken doll like a hawk, and if he takes his clothes off for one minute…it’s off with his head!
**Update. I wrote this piece three years ago and since that time, several Barbies disguised as “Princesses” (sneaky) have snuck into our home. But luckily no boy dolls…ok, just Woody from Toy Story, but I think he’s in everyone’s friend zone. Whew.