Objects

What is Barbie Hiding in her Little Pink Closet?

Barbie gets a lot of grief these days and this is a sentiment coming from someone who never really liked her in the first place. Life was great when she had all her designer clothes, the perfect body, an adoring audibarbie_as_bild_lilli_ooak_by_lulemee-d3gkwvsence, a dashing young sugar daddy at her side. I mean that’s the epitome of success for a hooker… which is what she was originally based on. This is one of those dark little secrets people don’t tend to know. Barbie was based on another European doll who was a German prostitute… Now I don’t know if that doll was even a kid’s toy but I sort of don’t doubt it. Germans have some odd ideas about what’s appropriate for children – just look at their fairy tales and you’ll find cannibalism, torture, incest, murder, dark magic, talking sausages. Seriously, what’s up with the talking sausages?! But before I distract myself too badly I’ll get back to telling you the scoop on that lovable plastic floozy.

At some point Barbie lost just about everything. While she maintained her vapid good kendolllooks she also started to get bogged down with responsibility. It wasn’t good enough to be beautiful, she also had to have a job, and get married… but that wasn’t to last long. It was probably on her honeymoon that she discovered just how underwhelming Ken was, a dirty little secret every morbidly curious little girl knows. Ken was ill-equipped. In my mental world of play she ran off with GI Joe and then ended up divorcing Ken when… he also ran off with GI Joe. GI Joe is a popular man doll. It happens. (This also probably explains why years later when I dug my Barbies out of the attic I found all the Ken dolls in dresses, cuddled up next to a gutted glow worm. HMMMM.)

FLAT_Career

All kidding aside Barbie’s history is funny without adding much to the story but when I was growing up she lived in a house of tortures. I was not kind to dolls. I remember that there were Barbies out at the time who had bendable knees. Oh what lovely popping noises they’d make when you snapped their legs in half! It’s OK, I wasn’t a serial killer in the making. I gave her a wheelchair of sorts…. Before taking her bungee jumping…. Because even people whose legs have been snapped off at the knee can sometimes enjoy extreme sports. The bungee ropes weren’t part of the Mattel merchandise. That was just a spool of elastic I stole from my mother’s sweat shop. When tied around the waist my Barbies made for fantastic sling shots. My poor mother must have groaned every time she walked into the house to find Barbies hanging from the rafters, again. My teachers really groaned when I decided to make a mummy of one of my Barbies, encasing it in paper Mache… and tying an elastic to its waist because if you’re going to be a mummy you might as well be a bungee jumping mummy. For three days I launched her off the gym at the playground and watched her shoot past unsuspecting children, flopping unceremoniously in puddles of brown slush on her way through. Eventually I was caught by the teachers and forced to bring her home, still wet, to use as a chia pet and mold garden. Come to think of it this might be why my teacher was so concerned when I showed up with a set of Breyer horses with bandaids on their backs. “Are their backs broken??” She wanted to know. Jesus Christ no! I’m not that sadistic! They’re saddles.

So ends my random thoughts of Barbie for today. Until next time…

Colorful Retellings of History

Shakers – Shakin’ it on Up

One of my more endearing quirks would be my ability to make history seem absolutely ridiculous. Without warning I will start ranting about one thing or another and before I realize what has happened I will find myself creating entire dialogues with historical figures or retelling the facts in a way only a deranged person could. This was pointed out recently when I was driving my car past the ruins of a Shaker Church and adjoining cemetery. My passenger made the unfortunate decision to ask me what the Shakers were all about. And this is what I said…

The Shakers were a Christian religious cult. They were so named for their habit of shaking. Just as modern snake handlers molest unsuspecting rattlers in the name of Christ, and holy rollers babble Gibberish like infants as they’re taken over by the spirit, shakers were into convulsive compulsory shaking. Every Sunday they got together and in one seismic mass they’d shake together in a willful epileptic fit. For God. Or something. But what’s really interesting is why they don’t exist anymore.

Shakers went extinct because they didn’t believe in sex. At all. For any reason. Even for the procurement of children which were needed to keep the thing going. Men and women, even those that were married, would be forced to live in completely separate building, rather like a college dorm and every Sunday everyone would get together and shake it all out for Christ. One wonders if they had so much pent up energy maybe it would have better been spent screwing each other than shaking solo. But that’s just my take on it.

Shakers_Dancing

 

Objects · Uncategorized

Shoes – Violently Named, Globally Adored

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was three in the morning, or maybe four, or five. Point is I hadn’t slept and I was here, at a friend’s house, having a tremendous session with her and her cousin when I was asked, “What’s up with the shoes?” I looked down at my bright red Converse All Stars and for the life of me couldn’t answer. I had been wearing them since I was in third grade. They’d become almost a second skin. How was I supposed to know why I wore them now?? After much contemplation I decided it was because I have flat feet and am poor. I joke, but really, I love these iconic shoes and am rarely in something different.

 

The only other shoes which compete for my heart are my pair of muck boots – sturdy rubber monstrosities that look like hell but allow me to waddle through the most leech infested of swamps (should I choose to!) They’re not the ugliest shoes I have ever seen – that would have to go to a pair of neon green leopard spotted brothel creepers I think would have lightened up any Salvation Army. Those started a whole different conversation. Why are they called brothel creepers? Do brothels need to be creeped into? And by wcreeper-2hom? Apparently British sailors after World War II. Because if anything goes with bellbottoms and a superfluous amount of buttons it’s really weird thick rubber shoes… Brings a whole new meaning to, “You should wear your rubbers!” but I digress, no need for historical VD jokes this early in my blog.

 

Since this diversion into hshitkickersistory I have been thoroughly amused by all sorts of names for shoes, more so than the shoes themselves. Shit-kickers. Depending what you think a shit-kicker is probably says a lot about your class. If you think a shit-kicker is a high-healed ankle boot made for certain sexually voracious women you’re probably middle or upper class. If you think shit-kickers are steal toed boots… well you might be part of the mob, or lower class, or just someone who likes kicking the shit out of people. It’s a lot like a wife-beater. If you’re poor men wear wife beaters. If you’re middle class men and women can wear tank tops. If you’re upper class only women wear them and they’re called camisoles. But back to shoes…

shitkicker

 

Brothel creepers and shit kickers are wonderfully colorful names but they pale in comparison to knee-high fuck-me boots. Once, when I found myself searching for a pair, in another fucked up story I am sure I will illuminate you with later, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out whhhhy I was calling them this. Were they really called this or was I being unseemly again? Oh thank God, it’s not me. Now watch me toddle off with a pair, laughing too hard to stand. kneehigh

And since we’re talking about fuck-me boots I must also make a small detour for stilettos. It seems English speaking people have lost the meaning of stiletto, to them it’s just a high healed shoe, but actually the word stiletto refers to a very specific pick-ax like knife that was once used by medieval Italians to assassinate each other in the street without anyone noticing. Apparently one good stab under the ribs from behind would kill and provide an escape into a crowd before anyone realizes someone’s been stabbed! So now you know – shoes based on deadly weapons are sexy. Or something…

The only other pair of shoes I distinctly remember wearing were a pair of moccasins I got as pass downs all winter long. It should be noted right now that although I grew up poor I was neither of Native American ancestry or poor enough to have to wear something I plucked out of a donation box. I have no answer as to why I insisted on this for so long, slogging through the snow as they got dripping wet, their little frayed leather tassels drooping under the moisture, as I pitter pattered into the school making themoccassin soft slapping sound of a duck’s feet on tile. My teacher made note of this, though by this time I was already that kid and none of my peers said anything. Yup. So ends tonight’s musing on shoes.