Dear Barbie Bubble,
Happy 50th, my friend! You look fab. It's been a long time since I've been in touch, and I know what you're probably thinking -- that I must be jealous of all the attention that's been showered on you over the years. Think again, Barb, think again. I've known you a long time, remember? I was there before you could afford the Malibu Dream House and the fancy cars. Before you even had the camper. I was there before the facelift and the lip enhancement and the new, more natural makeup and hairstyle. When we hung out, you looked like this. But don't worry, I wouldn't show that photo to anyone, or this one, either.
I saw what you went through to make it to the top, honey, and I wouldn't wish that on myself or anyone else.
Barbie, I admit that I related more to Midge Flip than I did to you. She looked more like I imagined I might look when I grew up. Maybe because she had freckles and less fancy hair. (By the way, are you two still friends?)Still, I want to say upfront that I thought the gossip about you was out of line -- that you caused girls to have poor self-image issues with your impossibly perfect figure, your sultry eyes and luscious lips. I wish people would quit analyzing every harmless thing to death! Was Sophia Loren a bad influence on little girls? I think not. She was who she was, and you are who you are. Or were. Before society manipulated you into feeling bad about your appearance with their opinions and expectations. Honestly, women can't win, can we? We're either too thin, or too fat. Too busty or too flat. But none of those described your physical appearance. Your sin, Barbie? Too perfect. Even though there are a few fortunate women with your physique--born with it, not bought. It's true. Might I again mention Sophia Loren? And I happen to know one such woman personally who I would love to hate if I didn't love her so much. The truth is, I don't notice anymore. I just see her. Her beauty, yes, but mostly her talent, her kindness, her laugh and the fact that she's fun to be around. I guess those things are what I noticed most about you, too. (Your laugh sounded a whole lot like mine, as I recall. And sometimes you weren't so kind to Ken and Midge, but that's another story. And besides, we all have our days...)
Then came the accusations that you were a poor role model for girls--that you were shallow, caring only about fashion and hairstyles. Well, I must say, you have had some far-out 'dos. (I was a bit freaked out when you had that hole cut out of the top of your head so that you could pull your hair out to make it longer, then retract the hair back into your scalp if you wanted to wear it short. That was going a little far, Barb, even for you.) But I'll defend you as a role model for girls until the day I die. To name only a few of your achievements, you've been a friend, a fashion icon, a bride, a corporate business woman. A ballerina, a nurse, a doctor. An athlete. An astronaut. What other woman can claim so many accomplishments? And you did it all with a smile on your face every single second of the day. In my opinion, you helped girls believe we could be anything we wanted to be, and look good in the process!
And you taught us to be creative, to use our imaginations. In fact, Barbie, I give you partial credit for helping me become a writer. My friends and I plotted ways to get you in and out of trouble. We created entire romantic stories around you and Ken. (How is Ken Crewcut, by the way? Are the two of you still together? He was cute and nice, but so clean-cut and skinny and ...well, BORING, at times) Remember when I coaxed that neighborhood kid named Steve to come over and bring his G.I. Joe? Now, that livened things up. Ken was so jealous, and who could blame him? Joe was quite a man. Rough around the edges. A bit dangerous, but strong and honorable. And he had muscles. Too bad Steve tired of your love triangle in about 20 minutes and left to do more macho things, taking his hot friend Joe away with him. Sigh.
Anyway, I think about those good times we shared from time to time, and I figured you might think about them -- and about me -- as well. If you've been wondering what became of me while you were taking the world by storm, check out my website. I recently updated it with news about my upcoming book releases, and I added some "News" and some new photos, too.
Hang in there, Barbie. I've missed you! You were loads of fun. I don't remember thinking all that much about your shape and wondering if mine might be the same some day. You were more about getting together with friends, make-believe, playing the day away. Playing the day away. I miss that, too! I hope you're still around if I'm lucky enough to have a granddaughter some day. Maybe we can get together again then and play. I'll look forward to it!
P.S. I'm sorry for all those times I left you lying around naked on the floor or in my closet. Those little clothes were hard to get off and on!