Borgman: Ageless Barbie never gets old


Lori Borgman

With the “Barbie” movie kicking up sparkle dust, I’d like to go on record thanking Barbie for my brief foray into sewing.

As a young girl, it was nearly impossible to get the designer clothes Mattel made over Barbie’s curves. She was oddly proportioned. Even as a child still learning to carry from the one’s to the ten’s column, I had enough inkling of geometry to know elevating that heavy topside onto stilettos could throw off Barbie’s center of gravity and propel her forward.

Nose-dive Barbie.

So, I sewed clothes for Barbie. I hand-stitched a wedding gown out of an old sheer white curtain. That thing with Ken had gone on long enough; it was time for them to tie the knot. My Barbie had a loose-fitting wardrobe.

Comfy Clothes Barbie.

I never had the Barbie Dream House; I made her a villa out of shoe boxes. I never had the Barbie convertible either; my Barbie and Ken walked everywhere.

Middle Class Barbie.

Eventually, my Barbie’s nose wore off, Ken’s hair began disappearing and, frankly, they were boring.

Mid-life Crisis Barbie.

Barbie, her boy toy and all their accessories, went to live in a musty basement closet where the shut-off valve to the water was.

I moved on to board games like Life. With a few spins of a wheel, I could land a car, a husband and four kids, a top-level executive job and a ton of money. No tight-fitting clothes required. Now we were getting somewhere.

I never missed Barbie and I never wanted to be Barbie. I was glad for comfortable clothes, that I lived in a real house, not a cardboard box, and that my family had a car. I was also glad there wasn’t some guy who never knew when to go home hanging around all the time.

If you will remember, Barbie was the one with endless career changes. Barbie has had 200 jobs, while Ken has had 40 including hamburger chef, surgeon, lifeguard, and 12 times hit the shelves with the job title “beach bum.” Ken’s fallback seemed to be chauffeuring Barbie and holding her purse. Could it be that Barbie held Ken back? Asking for a friend.

Our girls had Barbies, but we never bought a single one. They were birthday gifts from their little friends. I didn’t object to Barbie, although I did harbor a growing resentment over her ageless skin.

Plastic Surgery Barbie.

Our girls’ Barbies lived under their bed, which meant they never saw the light of day, which meant they didn’t look so hot in their swimsuits. Most of the time their Barbies were naked. The girls gave up on squeezing the dolls into their clothes.

Nudist Colony Barbie.

Reviews of the “Barbie” movie confirm that it is somewhat predictable: Ken needs enlightening. No doubt it is clever in spots and has witty lines, but it is an old song with a different verse.

Technically, Barbie could be 84 years old today.

Senior Barbie.

May Barbie soon find peace with herself, men, and the process of aging.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Contact her at [email protected].