Posted in Family, PostaDay, writing

Tit for Tat: Tokidoki Barbie & Me

Can't beat Barbie's tits, but I beat her to the tats...

For once in my life, I beat Barbie to the punch.  For once in my life, the latest Barbie is a wanna-be-ME.  (Hey, allow me my little moment of delusion here.)  I don’t know why this should make me grin–I’m not a fan of Barbie, wouldn’t buy one for my daughter.  (Interestingly enough, my daughter has never asked…)  I cringe to remember the one year I succumbed to the insidious evil of cartoon-morning advertising and campaigned relentlessly through Advent for a “Pink’n’Pretty” Barbie under the Christmas tree.  (That was the year I’d figured out my mom was Santa.  But I didn’t think she knew I knew, so I spent at least a month engaging in loud and continuous speculation about whether “Santa” would understand how desperately I desired this absolute necessity, the Pink’n’Pretty Barbie.  I was so obnoxious with my protracted and public pining, I’m lucky “Santa” didn’t stuff my mouth with pinecones to shut me up.)

Barbie in her classier days

Santa did, in fact, deliver–as Santa always did in my childhood.  In fact, Santa was a helluva showman.  He visited our house twice every Christmas: once while we performed in our church’s Christmas Eve program, and a second time while we slept.  We would come home Christmas Eve to find our stockings filled, always accompanied by a hand-written letter.  I still have his note from the year I was four, advising my baby sister, “it’s about time you tried walking,” and admonishing me to “work harder on staying dry; Santa doesn’t like to see lazy girls & boys.”  He finished kindly by observing that we were “both good kids” and that our Mommy and Daddy were very proud of us. (whew!)  When we woke in the morning, we would find he’d been there a second time to eat the peanuts and beer we left for him (Daddy said he must be tired of milk & cookies), and his reindeer even left hoof-prints in the snow around the pan of water and carrots we left out for them.  (One of these days I’ll have to ask my mother how on earth she manufactured reindeer-prints!  Given her no-holds-barred creativity, I’m only surprised, in retrospect, that they didn’t also leave reindeer-poop.)

Tokidoki Barbie
Tokidoki Barbie: girl's got ink

So Pink’n’Pretty joined the cast of characters in my room–which, incidentally, included my mother’s own vintage Barbie, a much classier gal whose double we later saw featured in a doll museum.  (Imagine my mother’s horror at realizing her own thousand-dollar doll was at that moment besmeared with makeup from Pink’n’Pretty’s arsenal… I recently saw that a single shoe–from one of those vintage outfits I so carelessly played with–was the subject of a small bidding war on eBay…)  Aside from that one ill-judged Christmas season, though, I have not been a fan of Barbie.  Her horse, yes–but Barbie? Meh.

Enter, this week, the controversial Tokidoki Barbie, who comes with (gasp!) tattoos.  Not the stick-on temporary tats–this girl’s got INK.  Cue the Nationwide Parental Outrage!

Elena Grace's lighthouse--because "Elena" means "light." The kanji translate to "Mother's love."

And here I am, for the first time in decades, thinking, “Now there’s a Barbie I might actually like to meet.”  Because tattoos mean stories, and (Writers, listen up!) they are also a “free pass” to hear the greatest stories from a perfect stranger in the produce department or wherever.  As in, “Go directly to jail Story, do not pass Go up a Story, do not collect $200 inconsequential things like introductions”–because a simple “I gotta check out your ink” will gain you instant access to the most interesting material you hadn’t imagined.  On the flip side, they give us the chance to tell stories–I’m thinking of my second-grade classroom-visit last month, when Elena Grace seized the opportunity of her teacher complimenting my Art to show him (proudly) HER tattoo on my arm, and explain how it relates to her name…

So yeah, this is a Barbie I’d like to meet. I won’t be buying one–my daughter still doesn’t need a Barbie, and she doesn’t need me to “push” tattoos at her, any more than the kids of  the flipping-out conservative crowd need to be “protected” from seeing them.  (As for me, I’m an open-minded parent–if my kids grow up NOT wanting tattoos, I’m okay with that.)  And if she did take it into her head to want a Barbie, I could wickedly (but truthfully) tell her that “Santa” reads Mommy’s blog… ;)

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Author:

I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

15 thoughts on “Tit for Tat: Tokidoki Barbie & Me

  1. Poor old Barbie can’t get a break. If she looks perfect – we don’t like her. But people are having a hissy fit in some places about her, not to mention Schweddy Balls ice cream. I’m glad you like her and I think she would be a great spokesperson for a certain ice cream. Time to take Barbie out of the doll case!

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  2. I love your tale of Christmas and the Barbie! I don’t really care for Barbie either but for several years I have been buying all of the “I Love Lucy” Barbie’s for my husband who is an “I Love Lucy” junkie. I too was amazed when the catalog they send me every few months (even though they’ve stopped making the Lucy dolls)arrived in the post. What shock, -what horror, to find that Barbie now has ink, what’s next? Ken comes out that he is really into GI Joe? What is the world coming to??

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  3. I can’t get over the idea of serving up peanuts and beer to Santa, that’s nothing short of fantastic. And a heck of a lot more interesting than just simple cookies and beer, for that matter. I love the care that your parents put into Christmas, it’s the kind of thing I’d like to do if I ever have any of my own. Maybe I’ll shoot for reindeer poop. Have to up the ante with ever generation, right?

    Also, I love this Barbie. I was never into them as a kid, but this is the most interesting Barbie I’ve seen yet. Outraged parents be damned, I want more!

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  4. I saw this Barbie on the news yesterday in a leopard-skin mini-dress. What a hoot.

    But I won’t be buying her, either. One of my first memories is of holding my sister Judy’s Barbie’s feet while the dog chewed on her head. It is a fond memory! I enjoyed it, Tippy, the dog enjoyed it, and Barbie’s self-esteem was damaged. A win-win-win! My sister Judy never did forgive me though.

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  5. This totally makes me want to go out and buy that Barbie! I remember when I was 15 I found out that Australia made a Barbie with piercings and pubic hair….I think that I would like to start a collection of Alternative Barbies. :)

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  6. Who’d a thought? I’m a big admirer of tats (too afraid of needles to ever get one), but my daughter has the most amazing flying tiki god motif across her back. I’d say tats are becoming more mainstream than anyone ever imagined they would. The ink at my daughter’s wedding was impressive and mostly on the young women (all of whom I must proudly say are professionals in the fashion industry).

    Yours are beautiful. I also like the style of you narrative as well.

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