[Note: This is the first thing I ever wrote a couple of years ago, and I've been meaning to add onto and revise it forever!]
Like many little girls, my evolving understanding of human anatomy, sexuality, and the complexities of relationships were reflected in my Barbies.
For quite some time, I didn’t have a Ken doll and my Barbies were all lesbians. If I wanted a male figure I was forced to create imaginary ones or else to play at a friend’s house so as to take advantage of her Ken-doll-possessing good fortune. I often ended up at my friend Katie’s.
There were pros and cons to playing at Katie’s house. On one hand, she had fancier Barbie accessories than I, such as the dream house and the pink corvette. She also owned a cute little pink nightie that was sure to get Barbie laid. Much to my initial dismay, however, Katie wanted her Barbies to do devious things.
“Let’s play like my Ken sleeps with another Barbie and you divorce him,” she would always suggest. At first I hated this.
“Can’t we just play like they love each other and take a vacation together?” I would counter. Katie dismissed that as boring and we usually ended up doing things her way. I found I got into it very quickly.
We’d dress up one Barbie all slutty-like: in a short skirt, tight sweater, and high heels. She would saunter casually up to Ken, place an ever-rigid, outstretched arm on his, and say, “Hey baby, wanna come over to my place? My parents aren’t home.” Ken, of course, was always game. He practically panted as he followed her eagerly back to the Dream House.
We only had a vague understanding of what Ken and Slutty were supposed to do together. We knew it was wonderfully bad and involved being naked with a lot of moaning. We also had very little concept of the seduction process. “Let’s pretend the air conditioner is broken and it’s really hot, so they can’t stand to wear their clothes,” I would suggest. So Ken and Slutty would lounge together naked on a little plastic couch with their legs sticking straight out in front of them.
“Can I lay on top of you?” Ken would ask hopefully.
“Sure!” Slutty agreed.
In our earliest dirty Barbie adventures that’s as far as we ever got. As our learning expanded and our bravery grew, Ken and Slutty experimented with different positions. There were little “clack-clack” noises as naked, plastic body parts eagerly rubbed together. Slutty’s legs usually ended up straight up in the air as she assertively instructed Ken as to how to please her. Irrespective of the scenario we enacted, Slutty always ended up pissed off and throwing Ken and his clothes out the door. “And stay out!” she would huff, angry and naked. Meanwhile, Wife Barbie would be stuck at home blowing wisps of frazzled hair out of her face. She was fed up with her life that consisted of three filthy, screaming kids, an old wood-paneled station wagon, a dog with chronic diarrhea, a burning dinner on the stove, and a husband who didn’t make her feel like a woman anymore.
One Christmas, I was thrilled to get my very own Ken doll. I was dismayed, however, that he wasn’t a “normal” one with a painted-on helmet of yellow hair. Instead, he had a sort of white man’s frizzy Afro of synthetic hair that framed his chiseled features like a puffy cloud. While I was now able to enact my own dirty Barbie scenarios, I was increasingly disappointed with naked Ken’s flesh-colored, painted on underwear over his vague hump for a penis. But I came up with a brilliant plan.
I cut off his hair close to his head and glued it onto his crotch. I sat back to admire my work. I realized that Ken’s new pubic hair only told part of the story of what was down there, but I was still immensely satisfied with the results. I pulled on his pants not really realizing how ridiculous he now looked with the hairy, bushy bulge that now made them too tight. Tendrils of hair curled up and over his elastic waistband: a tantalizing promise of what was to be found underneath.
I rushed into the kitchen to show my grandma what I had done, proud of my ingenuity. She was talking to my great-grandmother, and waved me away while silently mouthing the words “I’m on the phone.” I tapped my foot impatiently for a moment, and then decided I couldn’t wait any longer. No verbal explanation was really needed, and I was eager to get back to my bedroom to explore all the possibilities Ken’s new pubic hair offered to the ladies in his life. I thrust Ken in front of her face and flashed her by pulling down the front of his pants so that his fluffy, black, and still glue-damp pubes dramatically burst forth.
“Oh, my God!” she cried. “Mom, you won’t believe what this child has done!” I was dismayed to see that some stray tufts of damp hair fell into clumps on her lap. I quickly realized the magnitude of my error, and ran with Ken back into the bedroom to hide. Soon afterward his glorious hair disappeared and I was left with an awkward-looking Ken with a bad haircut and a scaly crotch.
I was undeterred by these setbacks, however, and quickly set about exploring other sexual avenues for my Barbies to explore. One of the most exciting things to happen in my young life was a trip to the movie theater to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and soon afterward scenes from the entire Star Wars trilogy played out in my Barbie games—especially those involving punishment.
As soon as Ken had arrived on the scene that Christmas, he had tried to lay claim to all the Barbies as if they were his personal harem. But the Barbies had been sleeping together long before he arrived and weren’t eager to give that freedom up or to be told what to do. Despite his own frequent infidelity, Ken was furious when he caught Wife Barbie with her best friend. He immediately took her to court.
The arrival of the trial proved to be a big day. All the Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, and various stuffed animals gathered around the perimeter of my bed to view the spectacle. A large Ewok made an unsympathetic and physically imposing judge. Despite her tears and pleas for mercy, Wife Barbie was sentenced to being frozen in carbonite for two weeks and Ken was granted a divorce. The trial attendants left the proceedings with their heads down, feeling sad that pleasures of the flesh could lead to such terrible consequences. I was disappointed with the sentence, too, but solemnly set about implementing the judge’s orders.
I closed the door to my grandparents’ bathroom and rummaged around in the cabinets. I concocted a thick and aromatic mixture of shampoo, talcum powder, bubble bath, and toothpaste. Wife Barbie obediently allowed me to submerge her, and all that was left visible of her were the tips of her nose and chin and her little plastic hands pressed forward in her last desperate act before being “frozen.” The quickly-hardening conglomeration was placed under the basement steps. I dutifully marked the day fourteen days from then on the calendar when her sentence would be complete.
At the end of two weeks I chiseled the newly subdued Divorced Barbie out of the “carbonite” and she was free to resume her life. Crumbles of plaster remained in the corner of her eyes and in her joints from that point forward; they served as a constant reminder of what she had done. None of the other Barbies wanted to interact with her. They averted their eyes when she passed and shunned all her attempts at companionship and conversation. She lived out the remainder of her life in solitude and celibacy, and for a long time patriarchy ruled the once free and sexually liberated Barbies.