On homemade clothes, or maybe on Barbie dolls

Published July 25, 2014 by The Merida Review

Once I had an owner who liked to sew, which can be a good thing, of course, but not in this case. Do you know how humiliating it is to be dressed in a lumpy, badly made, homemade THING? Ugh. SHE would have never gone out the door in one of her own creations, but it was ok for me, a mere doll, to be wearing one. And she was so proud of her efforts. I tried to grin and bear it. Keep my poise. Rise above it. All that.

Recited to myself over and over again: Humans are only temporary. Humans are only temporary.

Luckily, she kept my wardrobe and it went with me when I was sold, and my subsequent owners were bright enough to dress me in my own things.

I have known dolls, however, that weren’t so lucky. Pieces of their wardrobe get mixed and matched to dress other dolls, who are usually totally unsuited to the fashions. The only criteria doll collectors seem to have is whether or not they can cram a doll into a dress. And then they forget what went where, whose clothing belongs to whom.

Doll collectors across the board own WAY too many dolls. Their houses are simply stuffed with us. I’ve had to stand on shelves so crowded with all sorts of folks that people could barely see me. What a waste! And have you ever been in close proximity to a hard plastic with BO? Oh my god. Some of those 50s dolls (1950s, I mean) stink to high heaven! Though everyone is too polite to say it to their faces. Their lovely little faces discoloring with inner mold. You honestly just have to look away and think about other things. And try not to breathe through your nose. This doll collecting thing is like a disease, collectors just keep buying and buying and buying. They have dolls stuffed in closets, laying in corners, stored under the bed. What is the use of a doll you’ve got no space for? And think of it from the poor doll’s perspective, please. Under the bed. Honestly.

Frankly, once they own a doll like me, they’ve pretty much achieved the pinnacle they can achieve, they should be able to retire from the field and spend the rest of their days gazing at me and thanking their lucky stars that they are one of the chosen few who get to number me among their possessions.

And, yeah, that sounds pretty vain, but let’s be real here. I am a french fashion doll. You cannot get better than that. I am not one of your run of the mill german bisques or common Barbie type dolls – and, hey, let me say here that many of my dearest friends are german bisques and I love them to death. Let me see, do I have any friends who are Barbies? Hmm. You know, there is that longstanding bias among my set against plastics, and I used to be strongly prejudiced myself, but I have grown beyond that and am proud to say that my very best friend of recent years is a vinyl doll named Penn. But Barbies. They have such a difficult personality. Think they can do anything, as though any doll in her right mind would WANT to be an astronaut, think their vast wardrobe makes up for the mass production. They don’t hold up very well. Another 100 years and I’d be surprised to see any Barbies left.

Which will be no great loss to the doll world, if you ask me. Again, I stress, it’s their personalities, not their plasticness. Damned little turned up noses and what’s up with the outsized bosoms? I mean, really.

Not that they can help the body shape. Some toy designer is responsible for that. (Tell me, was it a man?) And I don’t know if it’s their sheer numbers, their insecurity at knowing what an inferior doll they are, or the look of them that makes up their personalities. Across the board, Barbie dolls are stuck up bitches. And are they really appropriate for children to be playing with? I speak as a doll with 150 years of experience here.

How did I get off on Barbies? Sigh. This was meant to be an essay on home sewing. Although, come to think of it, I’ve seen some badly dressed Barbies. Oh, yeah. And their hair! Wild like a tangle of blackberry bushes! (Disclosure – I have never actually seen blackberry bushes, but I pride myself on being well read and I can imagine, like Emily Dickinson, what they must look like.)

(I suppose I should be grateful that I didn’t have the type of young owners who dragged me off to the woods to play, or I wouldn’t be in the condition I am today. I fetch enormous sums when I am put up for auction, I will say. Applause when the bidding is done. That sort of thing.)

And, the heck with Barbie dolls. It always upsets me thinking about the snotty little things. This calls for wine. Wine and friends. Regain my equilibrium. That sort of thing. I’m not supposed to be writing War and Peace here, am I? I think this is enough for today.

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