Monday, February 27, 2012

Memory Lane Monday- Barbie & Ken

Barbie & Ken
A Romance for the Ages
Note it says
Make her kiss! See her lips pucker! Hear the sound! See the lipstick mark!

Long before I put pen to paper and let Love bloom with words, I was playing out the workings of relationships and Love with my Barbie and Ken. I mean, after all, THEY were made for each other- I mean SERIOUSLY made for each other. There was never another man in Barbie's life. Her "parents" were conveniently absent, though she did later have to take on the responsibilities of her younger siblings who came out of the woodwork, it was just her and Ken, right?

And what little girl, any time after 1961, didn't want to believe that someday she would grow up and find HER Ken and live happily-ever-after?

This was the way most girls were taught to believe in love besides what they learned from their parents and what was on television- I took a lot of cue from watching Days of Our Lives from the time I was 5 years-old and up. What didn't my mom's soap opera have? Love triangles, marriages, divorce, deception, reunions, amnesia, etc.

And Barbie and Ken were also all those fairy tales I'd heard brought to life a la marionettes sans strings. You had some say in what happened, how long they were together, whether they fought and made up, whether they might ever get married, have a career, have a family.

Note it says
"Shave" him! He's athletic. He's all man.

And you probably made them do all that. I know my younger sister and I sure did. We spent a lot of time setting up detailed story lines about how Barbie and Ken's date would go, or fighting over who got to play Barbie and who got Ken. Sometimes our ideas didn't mesh, so Ken would say or do something annoying and Barbie would kick him to the curb and my sister and I would pout and put the dolls away, vowing we'd NEVER play with them together EVER again. But we did.

There might even still be old audio cassettes somewhere of us playing dolls. We were always recording how the story played out, like some sort of 1980's version of a radio soap opera. I always got stuck talking in a deep manly voice for Ken.

The images I've used today are of two dolls I once had. I don't know what I ever did with them, but I don't have them anymore- I just have really fond memories of them and from what I gather online they are now very collectible if still in mint condition as they are rather rare.

Kissing Barbie came with a tiny tube of "lipstick" that you could put on her lips. I think, from descriptions I've read on ebay- more of a "stamper" that you pressed on her lips. When you depressed the button in her back, her lips would seem to pucker and she would make this "smooching" sound.

The Sport and Shave Ken came with a bunch of athletic, sporty accessories and a marker that you could "draw" his beard on and then a toy "razor" that you could "shave" it off with.

I believe Barbie and Ken taught me something though- how to take what's fictional and give it heart. I still love my old dolls- some of which I've passed down to my daughter- the ones that are still in decent shape and haven't lost their heads or become discolored by pigment separations in the plastic/rubber. A lot of the stuff has deteriorated over time, but the one thing that hasn't are the good memories I have that remind me that stories of the heart have been with me for nearly all my life.

1 comment:

Ciara said...

Great post! I couldn't help but laugh at a realization I just had. My FIRST real boyfriend was named Ken. He was a sweetheart. We are called Ken and Barbie (we both were blonde with blue eyes). Wow, I guess your theory is proven for me. :) Happy Monday!