For some unknown reason, people are talking an awful lot about Barbies. When I think about Barbies, I instantly think of my dad.
What? No, it’s not weird at all. C’mon, you totally think of my dad when you read about Barbies, too.
I had many, many Barbies – some were hand-me-downs and some were fresh from the cellophane. Some were white, some were black. Some came with props some did not. Regardless, they all spent the majority of their existence naked.
I’d love to tell you it was some sort of political statement and my Barbies lived in a nudist commune. I could probably sell you on the idea that I’ve never been terribly patient and I couldn’t bear sliding those hard plastic hands through the tiny polyester sleeves, inevitably catching those tiny thumbs on loose threads. That is entirely true, but not the entire reason behind my naked Barbies. In reality, my Barbies were total sluts.
My slutty naked Barbies lived side by side with a herd of My Little Ponies in their Dream Castle. Sure, they had their typical roommate disputes (like the time Loving You Barbie brought Optimus Prime back for a little intergalactic nookie) but for the most part, they lived happily ever after in long-haired harmony.
You’re right. So far this post has nothing to do with Dad. Plus I’m four paragraphs in and I haven’t used the word vagina yet. Clearly the world is coming to an end. I blame my unicorn-to-be, Apocalypse.
So even though I really couldn’t be bothered with dressing my Barbies, I still liked to accessorize. The problem was, I could never keep track of all the Mattel made adornments. I suspect my little brother absconded with them to make the Decepticons feel pretty. Regardless, I was left with no Toys R Us sanctioned embellishments and I was forced to be resourceful.
I had no less than nine hundred and seventy two of those ridiculous plastic jeweled rings that could only be found in grocery store vending machines and elementary school fundraising festivals. I also had a few of the cheap plastic spider rings the candy scrooges distributed at Halloween. I thought that both types of rings would make for some pretty bad ass choker necklaces.
The spiders were flawless in that Barbie of the Undead kind of way (props to Elizabeth for turning me onto that site). They were no muss, no fuss and I had an endless supply. Sadly, plastic spider choker necklaces don’t match every outfit…er…ensemble of nakeditude. I really wanted to get one of those plastic jewels around Barbie’s neck.
So I popped off her head.
Then I was able to slide the ring onto her neck and wedge her head back on top of her body. When I wanted to switch out the necklace, sweet little Bowtie would scream, “Off with her head!” and the rest of the pretty ponies would nay in amusement. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Until I ripped Barbie’s head and snapped her neck.
Apparently Barbie’s neck hole is the most fragile orifice on her hard plastic body. Technically, I think its the only orifice. I think I need to back away from this train of thought. I don’t see it going well in the comments.
Enter Doctor D.O.D., otherwise known as Dear Old Dad. (See, I told you we’d get there eventually.) With some rust colored epoxy, a minuscule drill bit, and a length of old wire, D.O.D. was able to resurrect FrankenBarbie. Sort of.
Her head always lolled to one side after that. The ponies didn’t like the way the epoxy smell still lingered around her. Plus the bubbly drips down between her cleavage were somewhat distracting. None of the Ken dolls wanted to get with her because they were constantly getting stabbed by the twisted wires sticking out the left side of her face. Even Optimus abandoned her after he developed a crush on Spike the Dragon.
Over time, dust and thread adhered to the epoxy Dad used to resuscitate Barbie. Her hair became so knotted we chopped it off into a buzz cut. She was the UGLIEST Barbie the world had ever seen. Yet I still smile every time I think of her in all her hideousness, because she embodied all the traits I love about my dad:
- His loyalty – you don’t stop loving something just because it’s broken.
- His tenacity – if neither the epoxy nor wire had worked, I’m sure he would have found another means to repair her.
- His frugality – why buy another Barbie when that one was totally fixable?
- His generosity – I’m sure he spent hours with that poor doll in a c-clamp, mixing different adhesives.
- His gullibility – “Yes Dad, she’s as good as new.”
- His ingenuity – he seriously drilled through a doll’s neck and permanently wired her head in place – that’s a little fucked up.
- His weirdity (shh, it’s a word) – to this day, he sees nothing odd about FrankenBarbie.
I love you, Dad. I can’t wait to see you in two short days to celebrate your retirement. Please don’t permanently wire anything in place on Rocco while we’re there.