March 9, 2011

Happy Barbie Day

My friend Beth reminded me that today is Barbie's birthday. She told me that she hadn't known that Barbie owed her existence to Bild Lilli, a voluptuous German doll sold mostly in smoke shops and toy stores, a gag gift for adult males, whose inspiration, a comic-strip character named Lilli was, as your grandmother might have said, no better than she should have been.

Beth went on to say, "Barbie has done all right for herself though, evolved into such different expressions: mother, working woman, president even. Although I think she still retains that part of her. I see it in my granddaughter's Barbies, who are forever naked, hair a frizzy, frazzled mess, covered with ink pen tattoos. There are three of them (one is a knockoff and not a real Barbie) but they get together most every night in the bath tub and they swim and they hug and seem to have a good time and not judge themselves too harshly."

Ken doesn't seem to have judged Barbie harshly, either: he recently launched a social media campaign to win her back. (They broke up on Valentine's Day 2004.) Apparently all his Facebooking, Twittering, Foursquaring and YouTubing paid off, and now it's official: Barbie and Ken are back together again. Take that, Bild Lilli!

I wonder what Ken gave her for her birthday.

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