21 February 2003
She's a doll
Guys of a certain age and/or a certain mindset have no use for Barbie, except as part of a punchline. "But Daddy, she's so popular!" "Popular? How so? Every friend she has, you have to buy for her!" We don't really relate to Barbie: we pop open a Foster's and throw a couple of shrimp her way, and that's that.
So I'm naturally mystified when a Barbie Collectibles catalog shows up at my mailbox. I think, "Well, yeah, those old dolls with their period outfits, they probably bring a few bucks these days." But I don't throw it away, and after a couple of days I work up the nerve to see what all is being offered.
And holy mother of pearl, will you look at this stuff! Serene enough for Merchant-Ivory, hotter than Beyoncé, seemingly every conceivable fashion idiom of the last thousand years clings to that 39-21-40 shape. And while the cynical side of me thinks, "Yeah, this is a way to get someone to pay ninety-five bucks for a doll, fercrissake," I have a sneaking suspicion that outfitting a workaday Barbie for a seven-year-old girl probably isn't any less expensive.
Maybe I ought to get the Lady Camille. "Champagne-colored jacquard, lace-trimmed chiffon and strands of faux pearls envelope this dainty figure in the absolute splendor of [the Neoclassical] period of art." Okay, she just stands there. But she's got The Look, and I don't argue with The Look. Not now, not ever. I don't care if it's Mattel; it's swell.