It Sucks To Be Ken
P.J. was the coolest of the Barbies
What little girl hasn't owned a Barbie doll? I think at the height of my "Barbiedom" I owned about fifteen dolls, a mansion, a car, a pool, a motorcycle...and, oh yes, a wardrobe to die for. There was Barbie...in about six or seven different incarnations, a Malibu P.J., Midge, Skipper, Ricky and Ken...to name a few in my little Barbie cult. Every little girl has her favorite. Mine was P.J. She was the cool girl, sort of like Betty of the Archie's fame.
But for some reason, as I sit here tonight reminiscing about my childhood years, I keep coming back to one thought. What about Ken? I've never heard a single friend of mine ever declare that Ken was her favorite of all the dolls. Why is that?
You have to admit, Barbie is very womanly, and even though neither doll is totally anatomically correct, you have a pretty good idea what parts are being left out on Barbie. Here we have a Ken doll...and it's a total mystery. His crotch is just an innocuous bulge of plastic. You may wonder briefly about the mystery and then shrug. Ken looks rather harmless...and vacuous with that smile.
I mean, like what does he have to be happy about anyway? It's not like he's getting any of the cool accessories. There's no Ken's Kegger or Ken's Harley, is there? And if there was a wide screen television with a remote control, you better believe it would be something like Barbie's Home Entertainment Center. Yeah, it sort of sucks to be Ken.
But let's face it...he's an inferior doll. Even Mattel agreed and simply molded on a plastic head of hair. Barbie's the only one that has earned the right to her own stylist. And we won't go into just how dorky Ken's clothes are. It all looks the same! A shirt that no real guy would be caught dead in and some lame shorts or pants that have the same shape as some of your mother's favorite "comfy pants." And what's with the feet? Aren't they a bit Frankenstein-ish compared to Barbie's dainty little foot?
You are what...maybe seven, eight...nine? Do you really have any idea what to do with that Ken doll? It's not like you really have a clue of what Ken would do the moment your back was turned to your dear little Barbie. Ken only has three possible roles...
Ken was just like Ward Cleaver
The Father Figure
This is by far the easiest way to play your Ken doll. He gets up in the morning, waves cheerfully to Barbie and says "I'm going to work now. See you!" And Barbie says, "Have a nice day dear!" Walk Ken out the door...and then toss him onto the nearest chair or anywhere, just so he's out of sight. Then simply carry on with your wonderfully independent and imaginative Barbie day until dinner time. Then you have to bring him back in and feed him one of your impressive gourmet meals before he falls to sleep.
Ken was rather handy to have around...
For some reason this one just comes most natural to nearly every little girl. Imagine your carefree Barbie existence while Ken fixes the leaky sink, tinkers with the Barbie Camaro and cheerfully maintains your Barbie pool. And all for what? Why one of your perky little Barbie smiles of course! "Gee...thanks Ken!"
Little did I know that Ken would betray me for the maid...
My sister, Ronda, and I used to play Barbie all the time. But this one time...she snapped. I think I might have made her my Barbie's maid one time too often and while I was at an important executive board meeting, she stole my Ken doll. I caught the two of them making out in her Barbie hovel, rubbing their plastic parts on each other in a pretty darn good imitation of that movie we almost got to watch the previous night before Mom had sent us to bed. The hussy!
That's okay...I got even.
This Barbie's Boobs Were Spared. Unfortunately...the face didn't make it.
A short time later, after hearing Ronda whine for the millionth time that I had a Malibu P.J. and she wanted a Malibu Barbie too, I told her that she had one. She said uh uh! And I said, "well you don't think P.J. came pre-tanned did you? I had to activate it by putting her in the sun. Silly butt face!"
So, the next day she put one of her dolls in the driveway to get a tan. Several hours later, she retrieves the doll and is disappointed that it doesn't seem to have tanned one bit. But there is a change...oh yes there is...and Ronda discovers it and starts to howl very loudly.
The sun is very hot...and because it's the sun it melts things. Seems all that sun wasn't very good for Barbie at all, nossir. It melted the doll's boobs. It wasn't a pretty sight. It wasn't that Barbie was flat chested...that would have been perfectly acceptable given our ages. No...Barbie's cleavage had definitely sunk in deeper than that.
After that, the only way to get the clothing to sit right on Barbie was to stuff a couple of cotton balls in her bodice.
Whenever I wanted to rile Ronda up and pay her back for stealing my man, all I had to do was suggest we play Barbie and for her to bring Ol' Crater Chest. To be honest, I did that just for fun and not because I was still upset about the Ken larceny. I hadn't found the quality of my Barbie time diminished in his absence. Within days of acquiring my Ken doll, I noticed that Ronda had pretty much lost interest in him too. If I'd wanted him back, it wouldn't have been too difficult.
He just wasn't my favorite Barbie...