I found my inspiration for today's post in Borders on the buy one get one for 50% off table. I Love Ken: My Life as the Ultimate Boyfriend, by Jef Beck, stood out from the other offerings in all its Technicolor glory, and I knew I had to make it my own. (Finding an actual book book to make the buy one get one deal work proved to be a lot harder.)
So, Ken. He's kind of a shadowy, unsung hero of little girl world. If you were anything like me as a kid, then you hid your disappointment when someone got you Ken instead of Barbie for Christmas or your birthday. Because at first glance, what would a pig-tailed five-year-old girl want with a male doll sporting questionable clothes and molded hair? But it's not Ken himself that holds the allure - it's the supporting role he plays in Barbie's oh-so-fabulous life. Without him, there'd be no reason for her to wear those star-speckled dresses or hop into her Malibu-bound convertible. This seems to be what Jef Beck is saying in his tome to the plastic prince, especially in sound bites such as these:
"Pack her calendar with dream dates." (34)
"When she says the occasion will be "totally glam," understand that it might involve sequins." (20)
And, of course:
"Would Barbie put up with this?" (44)
On second thought, maybe Ken isn't all that bad.
I Love Ken: My Life as the Ultimate Boyfriend features an impressive array of pictures of Barbie and Ken dolls spanning fifty years. I recognized a lot of them from the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of which I had as a kid. I couldn't help but think, "ah, those were the days when Barbie was Barbie," eschewing all the new-fangled models haunting toy store aisles today. I'm sure women who met Barbie in the 1960s and 1970s feel the same way, turning their noses up at later versions.
I Love Ken: My Life as the Ultimate Boyfriend also boasts a centerfold. Or, as Beck puts it, a "Ken-terfold." In it there's a fireplace, a rose, and a framed picture of Ken. And on that note, I think I'll sign off.