Barbie’s Life In Our Not So Dreamhouse

Another Christmas list, another request for a Barbie.

Our playroom is a tribute to toys from Christmas past. A train table lay idle in the corner while matchbox cars gather dust. Children have grown out of stages, moved on from fads, but it is Barbie who continues to rule. The second and fourth little traveller have a set playlist. Barbie’s swimming pool is constantly in use, her house decorated, meticulously worked on, and constantly rearranged.

In the car we discuss what Granny and Gramps might consider as they do their Christmas shopping.

“Do you think Gramps knows the Butterfly Barbie? Her name is Mariposa” I think about my 70 year old father in his bowls whites enjoying a post bowls beer with his mates – I can’t imagine she comes up much in conversation.

“How many Barbies does one need?” my question is genuine, I’m sure I’ve purchased roughly 267 tall leggy blondes over the past ten years.

“I only have eight.”

“Are you sure?” I raise an eyebrow.

“Well I need at least eight”

“Why?”

“You need at least eight for a good pyramid” it suddenly becomes clear why the requests are always for Barbies whose knees bend.

“What do the Barbies do together? You know, when they’re not forming pyramids.”

“Weddings, they go to lots of weddings, and you need bridesmaids, guests, ushers. You need a lot extras.”

“What happens at the weddings?”

“They talk fashion, hair, accessories, and plastic surgery.”

“Do Barbies have plastic surgery?”

“Mum! Duh, they’re like plastic, all their surgery is plastic.”

“Do the same people go to the wedding all the time?”

“Yeah, and there’s always a pregnant Barbie.”

“Do we own a pregnant Barbie?”

“We just put a cotton wool ball under her dress”

“So THAT’S where all my cotton wall balls are going!” says Ms 14 raising her head from a book in the back seat.

“What happens at the wedding?”

“They wonder what the bride will look like, but they already know – she always looks the same. They eat cake, they dance, they throw a bouquet, they just, you know, party.”

“Is there alcohol?”

“No! Barbies don’t drink alcohol, they drink pineapple and black current juice.”

“So what happens after the wedding?”

“They sometimes go to the beach – sometimes they hang out with the mermaids, ballerinas and the fairies. Not all the time though, mainly just at weddings.”

“Wow – sounds like they’re pretty busy with the wedding stuff, you guys have got it all worked out.”

“Mum, that’s not the busiest bit. You should see when she goes to the salon – now THAT’s full on. We have so much to do on those days, we have to heat the water, wash everyones hair and become stylists. We can only really fit the salon trips in on the weekend”.

A little later in the evening I kiss the second little traveller goodnight.

“It worries me that Barbie only thinks about fashion, plastic surgery and going to the spa – shouldn’t she be going to work? Studying? Helping people? ”

“Mum – you know Barbie’s not real right? It’s just make believe. That stuff is real life – Barbie’s just fun. So what are you and Aunty Linda going to do tomorrow?”

“We’ll go and see some sights, we thought we might even have a treat and maybe get a manicure or a pedicure if we have enough time.”

She smiles at me, “that sounds like fun” she kisses me goodnight.

It’s been about 10 years that Barbie’s been completely messing with my head.

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