Letters of Life

Barbie & Me

I got my very first Barbie when I was–wait a minute. I had a Sindy Doll (a rival of Barbie), but did I really ever own a Barbie? My mind switches into reverse, picks up speed, past the bright sunlight shining on my adolescence, back even further to my tweens, past the Space 1999 gang, and screeches to a halt (don’t you love cliches) when I reach Primary 3.

I distinctly remember my Primary 3 classroom, crammed with 40 grey desks, on the school on a hill. It was after the final exams, and two girls, whom I was in awe of, asked me to bring my Sindy doll to play with their Barbies after the exams.

Hm. Maybe by the time I did get a Barbie, I was too old. At 12 or 13 years old, no other girl brought dolls to school after exams. Everyone was into board games, and the lowest they’d go was to play with paper dolls, but that was fine because that was “art and craft”.

One Barbie highlight: I was 13 and went to a younger friend’s house to play. This girl had three or four Barbies, and the hugest collection of Barbie doll party dresses and ballgowns I’d ever seen in my entire Barbie-deprived life. I was in Barbie heaven.

All afternoon, I was creating imaginary events for Barbie to go to so she could make 101 changes from ballgown to ballgown. It got to the point that at 6 pm, three hours later, her mum entered, saw the floor dusted all over with pixie ballgowns of lace and lamé, and said to her daughter, “How come you all still playing with the Barbie dolls? Go play something else!”

To which her daughter exasperatedly replied, “But she still wants to play with Barbie!”


Related post:

Childhood (Part 3): In Praise of Sindy  The Sindy doll and how I really felt about her

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7 Responses »

  1. Sigh, I was the deprived one … only play paper dolls, never touched a barbie till I was … hmm … think, think … when was it … I think it was when I could afford one.

    Actually, never have any desire to own nor play with a Barbie, to glam for me. I don’t even doll-up myself, why would I do it to a doll? Now I know why I am not stylish, never my cup of tea, bowl of rice or whatever you call it.

  2. I LOVED my Barbie dolls. I still have them, and a few actual Mattel-brand dresses/shoes. They were expensive, so I made my own clothes. One year, for Christmas, Santa brought an entire wardrobe of Barbie clothes. My favorite Aunt Jane had sewn them. My sister also received an entire wardrobe, similarly and meticulously stitched. They’re so beautiful. Hmm, Ming, me thinks this is fodder for a post in my own blog!

  3. Yes, Lauren, you should definitely do a follow-up post on your handmade Barbie doll dress collection! I can’t imagine that you made clothes when you were so young!

  4. I raised sons, they weren’t keen on Barbie dolls. If I was raising girls today I’d be placing a Barbie in their hands and hiding the iPods/Pads/Phones. The latter leaves no room for self expression or imagination.

  5. I think there’s a difficult stage from about 8 – 13, when the majority of people grow older (in terms of maturity), and the things that many of their friends still think ‘cool’, they deem as ‘babyish’. I remember when everyone grew past the stage of Barbies, and into ‘Polly pocket’. Then there was Lego, then gossiping. It’s a tough stage we tend to forget everyone goes through.

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