Aug 1, 2010

The End of Innocence (or how I got an education from Barbie)

When I was in second grade, I had a friend I'll call Jack.  We girls all thought Jack was pretty super cool because he didn't think we were gross and also, he liked to play Barbies with us instead of playing basketball with the boys.  Nothing is cooler when you're seven than a boy who will play Barbies with you.

Jack and I became good friends because of my awesome collection of Barbies, comprising several of my mom's old dolls from the 60s.  I also had some pretty sweet Barbie furniture, including a swell potty-chair for the baby Barbies, so Jack and I became inseparable.

 When I look back on this, I feel a bit used.

Nevertheless, Jack would come over regularly, and my mom would even let us play Barbies in my room.

I will never forget the day Things Changed.  I was in the midst of dressing Ken in his pastel blue shirt and matching pink tie, when Jack, who was busily undressing Barbie, gave me a conspiratorial look.

"Do you know where babies come from?"  he asked.  I looked around, confused at the sudden turn of events, and trying to hide the fact that I, in fact, did not know where babies come from, although my mom had given me a brief explanation, including seeds and eggs and stuff, that left a lot to be desired and made me think babies actually came from omelets.

Jack closed the bedroom door.  He was really years beyond his biological age in terms of smoothness.

"Look," he said, and proceeded to remove Ken's pastel shirt and leaving him in nothing but his molded plastic Hanes shorts, "Ken needs to be naked."

My eyes bulged out of my head.  I hadn't thought that omelets called for nudity.

"And Barbie, too."  He removed Barbie's wedding gown that she happened to be wearing to take the kids to the park.

At this point, I felt that if my mom walked in, I might get in trouble, though I wasn't sure why because Jack and I dressed and undressed Barbies all the time, except with the door open.

"Babies happen like this," Jack explained.  Holding Nudist-Colony Barbie and Ken about two feet from each other, Jack proceeded to make noises that sounded a lot like the sounds the Transformers and Autobots made when shooting each other in after-school cartoons.

I sat there, both perplexed and horrified, trying to decipher how this could possibly make babies.

"This stuff flies out of Ken, and into Barbie," Jack clarified, "It's called sp....."

I would never know what it was called, because my mom walked in at that exact moment, with the echoes of Ken's torpedo noises still reverberating off my pink gingham walls, and Jack holding naked Ken and naked Barbie up in the air with a very guilty look on his face.

"What are you doing?" Mom asked, in a tone that suggested that she knew what we were doing.

At this point, I started weeping, and made a full confession involving something about omelets and babies and Transformers and bridal gowns that I'm sure confused my mom so much that she was probably sorry she'd asked.

Jack was never allowed to come over and play Barbies anymore.

It was the end of an era.  The end of my innocence.

The end of my childhood.

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