Love her or hate her, Barbie has been a part of our lives since saddle shoes and poodle skirts were haute couture.
These days, Barbie has to share shelf space with Disney princesses and Monster dolls, but she knows she isn’t going anywhere. Her thousand yard stare and serene smile tells us she knows she is here to stay. Which is good, because Barbie still has generations of young people with whom to impart her wisdom. Barbie is more than impossible measurements and blond hair. There is more to Barbie than her accessories and shoes. Barbie has many lessons to share:
- Life is capricious. Sometimes, life is like a bored 10 year old girl with a ballpoint pen and scissors. You end up with a butch haircut and prison tats. Other times, life is like an uptight controlling mother and you end up lonely and protected in a box. Often, the best we can hope for is to be forgotten, naked, and rolling around in a box with all of our friends.
- Having knees that bend both ways is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, knees that bend both ways might be helpful if you find yourself in a hostage situation and need to Houdini your way to freedom. The other side of that coin is no matter what party you go to, someone demands that you show their drunken friends your freaky, bendy legs.
- Sooner or later, your head pops off. No one gets a pass on this one. Hopefully, for most of us, our heads pop off figuratively and not because an older brother yanked off the head and threw it out a window for a laugh.
- Not all Barbies get a dream house. Not all Barbies get the townhouse. Sometimes, instead of a pool, Malibu Barbie has to use the bathroom sink as a tropical paradise. Not all Barbies get the sporty convertible. Some Barbies have to be content with an empty tissue box as a mode of transportation.
- Shoes should be treated with respect. Even if there is something terribly satisfying about chewing on little rubber shoes and then walking around with them stuck to your tongue, doesn’t mean you should. No one wants to wear shoes filled with chew marks and spit.
- Life means dealing with disappointment. Maybe, Barbie had it all. The house, the car, the shoes, the tan, but her love life? When the lights went down and the clothes came off, Barbie saw Ken and was disappointed in a way most of us can never imagine.
- We all have a Skipper. Occasionally, we have to deal with the perky and the eager. There are times when these people enter our day before we can toss back a few cups of caffeine. It’s not their fault they are annoying, they were designed to be annoying. Barbie never lost her cool with her little cousin, even when she insisted on being a part of the Barbie car wash. We should all take our cue from Barbie and be nice and accepting, even when dealing with a Skipper.
- Opposable thumbs rock. Maybe, Barbie could bend her legs in ways that border on disturbing, but her hands were just useless. Barbie couldn’t carry an adorable clutch, she could only drape accessories over her arms. Every time we tried to wedge something between Barbies 4 stuck together fingers and her thumb, we were reminded of the blessing of movable digits.
- Have a problem? Do the splits! Barbie might be impaired a bit with her fused together fingers, but she could do the splits. Makes no difference if she’s dressed for the beach or in her wedding dress, at some point in the day, Barbie would drop down into a perfect split. Imagine doing that. Your boss yells at you for playing games on your phone. Before he can work up a full head of steam, do the splits. Odds are, the conversation ends right there. Don’t do the side splits, though. Barbie teaches us that the side splits could make your legs break off at the hip.
- Be gracious. Do you think Barbie doesn’t notice these younger dolls with their dewy eyes and freakish makeup? She sees their clothes and doesn’t dismiss them with a sneer or a ‘skank’ whispered under her breath. Oh no. She smiles, gives the royal wave, and accepts that her way will not always be the only way. She accepts her aging and that younger dolls are now part of her life. She does so in dignified clothing though because, damn, have you seen some of those other doll’s outfits?
As we age, we need to remember these lessons that Barbie so selflessly taught us. We wear our ‘good’ yoga pants, smile, and nod at the young girls in their booty shorts. We appreciate that we don’t have a wad of cloth shoved in our crotch area.
There are a few lessons that Barbie taught us that we should probably shed. I mean other than striving for ridiculous measurements. For instance, blue eye shadow rarely works. Also, always standing on our tippy toes eventually causes foot cramps.
One last thought. Use extreme caution when practicing number 9.
What life lessons did you learn from Barbie?