The Day Barbie Became Invisible
I was amused when New York’s Fashion Week celebrated the 50th birthday of Barbie. Yes, when that still incredibly youthful looking doll hit her fifth decade, 50 top designers came up with Barbie inspired outfits for the occasion in a Barbie Fashion Show. Barbie is an ageless wonder. She still gets to wear princess clothes, has the body of an 18 year old (although that body now comes in different body shapes and size) but still no cellulite, wrinkles, or grey hair. And she’s still with Ken, who is also ageless, and doesn’t have to worry about “ED” because, well to put it politely, he was never anatomically correct. Poor Ken. Sad Barbie. But since Barbie is now right smack in the middle of the “boomer generation”, we’d like to suggest to Mattel that they consider creating a new series of Barbies. Like, AARP Barbie, Invisible Barbie, Nip/Tuck Barbie, Recession Barbie, Downsized Barbie, followed by of course, Reinvention Barbie, and Tomato Barbie. And that got my silly brain thinking, “What would Barbie do as she turns 50?”
Baby Boomer Barbie gets that AARP letter in the mail. Barbie was enjoying a lovely day in the last days of her 49th year, when that horrible piece of mail showed up in her mail box, making a total mockery of that “baby” boomer term. And she did what every other self-respecting not quite 50 year old woman does when the dreaded “AARP” card arrives — she shredded it to bits and pieces, yelled and screamed about her invasion of privacy, and made Ken’s life miserable for a week, since he obviously must have leaked this news somewhere. But she soon recovered her dignity, because after all, she still looks hot. Or so she thought.
Invisible Barbie. To celebrate her milestone birthday, Barbie’s two best friends, Midge and Christie, (who also worked for Mattel) suggested they meet for drinks at trendy, model packed, A-lister wanna be hot spot, Balthazar’s for champagne and oysters. And just to catch you tomatoes up, Midge is now divorced and is thinking about appearing in the next season of The Real Housewives of New York City, and Christie married Tiffany, the love of her life. Barbie arrived first, wearing her Manolos, and her DKNY mini, and stood at the bar knowing it would only be minutes before one of the good looking guys standing around would offer to buy her a drink, which would be her favorite, an extra dry vodka martini, dirty of course, extra olives. And there she stood. And stood. The good looking guys at the bar gazed right past her to ogle the 20 something, empty-headed gigglers, and the bartender was too busy ogling them too to look up and take her drink order! OMG, thought Barbie in horror, “I’ve become invisible.”
Nip/Tuck Barbie. So the next morning, slightly hung-over Barbie was walking by one of her hundreds of mirrors, and instead of seeing her usual pleasing appearance reflected back, she saw (gasp!) her Mother’s face! She immediately ordered Ken to cover every mirror in the house and booked the very first appointment she could get with Dr. Nip/Tuck in his fancy Park Avenue office. During her consultation, Dr. Nip/Tuck presented her with a wealth of options from Botox to liposuction, a butt lift, tummy tuck, a thigh and arm slimming surgery, an eye lift, a lower face lift, and injections that would make her hands look as young as her chemically or surgically enhanced face. Well, she thought, money can buy most anything.
Recession Barbie. But alas, androgynous Ken had made an appointment for them to visit their financial planner who had the indecency to point out that their investments were now roughly half of what they were the year before, and that perhaps they should think about “cutting back.” So Barbie agreed to fewer massages and facials, less time with her personal trainer, to only buy “on sale” at Saks and L&T and get a few less highlights at Bergdorf. “Well at least I still have my job,” she thought.
Downsized Barbie. “So, Barbie,” the head of merchandising at Mattel started off, rather uncomfortably she thought, “We totally appreciate everything you’ve done for us over the past 5 decades, but we’re forced to downsize. HR will explain your severance package.” Shocked, she barely noticed when the Hannah Montana doll she passed in the hallway said, “We’ll totally miss you Barbie, but I’ll friend you on Facebook so we can stay in touch.”
Reinvention Barbie. So after taking to her bed for a full week, reading the National Enquirer, and watching The Today Show and Oprah, she realized the “secret” was to visualize her new self, get empowered, and reinvent herself. So she bought every advice book on the New York Times best seller list, hired a visualization coach, a career coach, a life coach, a yoga coach, a meditation coach, a marriage coach, a shaman, meditated and mantra’d, took art classes, Italian lessons, and every course the 92nd Street Y had to offer, then one day she awoke and discovered…
Tomato Barbie. She actually liked who she was — savvy, sexy, smart, and powerful – and she didn’t want to reinvent herself after all. And that’s when she fixed herself her own damn martini, and knew she’d be just fine. And that my friends, is how Barbie became Tomato Barbie.