Awkward holiday moment No. 256


Photo by MZ

What does one say when the family unit is gathered around the Christmas tree, after having finished a meal, and the matriarch unexpectedly hauls out a circa-1975 Barbie doll trunk and opens it?

Perhaps one keeps quiet for a moment as memories flood the brain. Not recollections of childhood innocence, but those of a more devious time in the teen years, when cynicism, dark humor and expansion of one’s knowledge base beyond the home’s borders prompted some tomfoolery.

Maybe the matriarch recently discovered the trunk, roused it from its dark repose in the closet, and placed it near the wrapped gifts, envisioning squeals of delight upon its discovery.

So when the Pandora’s Box is unhinged and the  “La Cage Aux Folles” tableaux contained within bursts forth in all its pink, flaming glory, how should one react? Play dumb? Blame it on the resident teenager who last played with the dolls? What to say about Ken slathered in lipstick and eyeshadow? Forced into flowered bras and tank tops stuffed to create the feminine form? Should you, like the dolls, adopt a don’t-ask, don’t tell policy?

How does one maintain a poker face when the dolls are plucked from their “Brokeback Mountain” moment to be turned, poked and sniffed like produce for inspection? How does one refrain from bursting out in laughter when the general commentary of “Well, you really had some fun with these, didn’t you?” hangs in the air like clouds of expelled cigarette smoke?

Perhaps there is a moment when the truth is evident, that they are not what they appear to be, that perhaps saving tricked-out dolls for the grandchildren was not such a wise plan.

But the announcement of coffee and pie trumps this moment and it passes into oblivion.The cross-dressing, pre-op transsexual Kens are sent  back to their Castro District. The pink trunk is thrust toward its rightful owner with the order that it find a new home.

What’s in your closet?

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8 thoughts on “Awkward holiday moment No. 256

  1. I have a bad boy Ken and party girl Barbie tucked in with my Christmas decorations – leftover from childhood, and more recently, cocktail parties at my apartment before marriage and kids. Ken is wearing a tuxedo, replete with 70’s plaid smoking jacket, and Barbie is in a little red dress. They would show up on a shelf or between the bottles in the bar as party crashers, now they are tucked away in between rejected Christmas ornaments and a tiara that says “Happy New Year”. That’s how I rediscovered them last night – digging for New Years Eve decorations to spice up our little toddler party (we celebrated Eastern time -9pm here on the West Coast). My daughter waited anxiously at the top as I climbed the stairs to present her with my basement bounty. She stuck the tiara on her head and then looked the dolls over and ordered me to “put them back downstairs”. Shocked, I asked if they could join the party instead and she graciously informed me that I was allowed to put them in my room. I snuck them in to the party but she caught them and escorted them to my bedroom and shut the door. I guess their party days are over.

  2. Tanya: I love it! Keeping the funny old Barbie and Ken dolls around for parties is a great idea. Perhaps I will hide the trunk in my own closet and add a few new pieces to the mix.

    • I know if my father were still alive we would have a field day with this one. Alas, the remaining family members are NOT amused by my humor.

  3. Just about any scandal can be diverted with a serving of pie. Although, there ARE those scandals that begin with pie.

  4. Pingback: Hey, doll | Middle State

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