All the Christmas toys lining the shelves at department stores makes me miss my best friend, Barbie. She and I go way back. I loved her as a child and I still love her now.
The Christmas I remember the most was the one when Santa gave me the pink Barbie camper and the blow-up furniture. I lost my mind.
I couldn’t wait for the Sears Wish Book to come. I would flip to the toy section and see what was new in the Barbie world. I would cut out the pictures and give them to Mom, so she would know exactly what Santa needed to bring me.
My room was full of Barbie’s. This beautiful little doll introduced me to the world of fashion and shoes. I would spend hours combing her hair, dressing her and changing her shoes. To this day I claim I have a ‘Barbie foot’ because I wore high heels for so long.
Barbie inspired me. This single gal born in 1959 had it all and never needed a man. She was a teacher, a doctor, an astronaut, a police officer, a veterinarian and a business woman. You name it and she could do it.
She had her own Barbie dream house, town house, pink sports car, camper, loads of furniture and all the clothes you could fit into her closet.
Then there was Ken. I mean come on. Every little girl knew Ken was Barbie’s gay best friend. Barbie never married. Ken was an accessory just like her shoes and purses.
Truth be told, my Barbie had a long fling with G.I. Joe that I stole from my brother. G.I. Joe would cruise over in his camouflage green jeep with those ripped stomach muscles and his kung-fu grip, and pick Barbie up for an exciting ride around my bedroom.
Oh, those romantic nights.
I had a huge Barbie wardrobe that was stuffed with every outfit and accessory Santa could find. And I played with her until I was about ten years old. Then someone told me I was too old to play with Barbie. It was the first time I realized there was an age limit on fun and imagination.
I packed up my best friend and all her stuff and put her in my closet. But when no one was around I would take her out and comb her hair and change her clothes. I did that until I was about sixteen.
Then I convinced myself that I was cool to play with Barbie. I gave my entire collection to my Mother to give away.
I regret that decision.
When I gave birth to my daughter, Sabrina, the first thing I bought her was a Barbie. Throughout her childhood we would sit on the floor in her room changing Barbie’s clothes, combing her hair and changing her shoes. My daughter would make Barbie and Ken talk to each other and I would bring G.I. Joe over for old times sake. Every Christmas I would give her the most beautiful Barbie on the shelf. It was an annual shopping trip I looked forward to. I believe the doll was more for me than her sometimes.
Then she grew out of Barbie.
When she became a teenager, she packed up her Barbie collection and we gave them to a friend. I put the special ones in a showcase in my house.
I thought Barbie was gone from my life for ever. Now I have a granddaughter and she loves Barbie and I love buying Barbies for her. Sitting on the floor in her bedroom, combing Barbie’s hair brings me back to my Barbie’s and how much I loved playing with her.
Some critics claim little girls look at Barbie’s tiny waist and perky boobs (without the nipples) and feel their own body is inadequate. I am not one of those little girls. I loved Barbie’s body and long plastic legs, but I knew she was a doll. I knew she was only real in my imagination.
Barbie never made me feel bad about my body. Fashion magazines did that.
Barbie made me celebrate who I am. She allowed me to be a little girl that played with dolls and developed her imagination.
When I was with the RCMP as their Senior Communications Strategist, Mattel came out with the Barbie Mountie. I was thrilled. I picked one up and she sat on my desk for the longest time. Even though the uniform was wrong, and her boots had high heels, I still loved her. She sat next to my computer with that ‘you got this girl’ smile on her face. Every now and then, I would pick her up and comb her long hair down over her iconic red uniform (which is against protocol to wear your hair like than when in uniform). When I retired, a co-worker asked if she could buy Mountie Barbie for her little girl. They were hard to get. So, I gave her my doll.
I regret that. I wish I had Mountie Barbie back.
I love seeing parents putting the latest Barbie in their shopping carts, knowing that Santa is going to give it to some little child for Christmas. When I visit friends during the holidays and I see a Barbie, I can’t help but pick her up and say, ‘Hi. Remember me?”
When I think about it, Barbie did influence my life. I love fashion, especially shoes. I love getting dressed up and driving around in my sports car. I love make-up and doing my hair. I have had several great careers. Now I am using my imagination to write blogs and best-selling novels.
You know what? I am a grown-up Barbie. I live in my dream house and married my G.I. Joe. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world. Life is plastic it’s fantastic. Come on Barbie, let's go party!