Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rainy Day Woman, vol. 13

In my column this week, I play with Barbie!

This is one of my favorite essays of all time, so I hope you have time to hop over and give it a read.

If you have something to say about it, please email the Free Times. Be sure to include your full name and city. Frank Lewis is the editor.


josh williams said...

Yes Barbie, and GI Joe, we always threw him up into the trees for missions and most of the time he went missing.
On a lighter note I read a few months ago that they are attempting to do away with the xtreme packaging, they will have a line where you cut it with scissors and it should come apart with out daggers, lawn shears, machetes or whatever else you find to open the damn package. But consider it has to make the trip from around the world where children or people who have the education of children are making and packaging these dolls for us to open and throw into our trees. Nice article by the way, I puzzle over why a law suit has not been inspired by this packaging, I have all sorts of manly tools and those damn packages...

Denny Shane said...

What man hasn't, when no one was looking, peek under her clothes?

Oh come on now, am I the only pervert here?

Winters said...

Ah, Barbie. A fine piece, Madame.

I once lived with a woman called Barbie. What a doll she was. It took three hours to inflate her. Nearly gave me a hernia. But she floated beautifully in the Jacuzzi...

Larry said...

Interesting comments....I have been disenchanted by Barbie ever since my first daughter reached "Barbie-hood". One hasn't experienced pain until one has stepped on a Barbie hi-heel barefoot!! I feel no need to peek under Barbie clothes since I became an O'brien fan. As the weeks roll by, more and more of our hostess is revealed in her postings (delightfully)

BTW Erin, I'm glad you chose fresh undies for your April 11 post! Thought maybe we might see some of those thrift-store retreads!!

Denny Shane said...

Well, in comment to Larry's comment above... yes, I agree about Erin and her proclivity about displaying her underwear... I kinda meant about looking up Barbie's dress every so often until my next treat of Erinography.

Brantford Revolution said...

I'm not the only one.. oh the freedom

Erin O'Brien said...

Williams: They have escaped and are headed north. Don't tell the Armenians. I am alone, but well stacked--I mean stocked, although all of the potted meat is gone (it went first, no surprise there). I can hold out for two or three weeks, four at the most. The man in red is asking for you.

Denny: I have nothing but indulgence for a man who admits to looking up the Barbie.

Winters: I have nothing but indulgence for a man who admits to hottubbing with an inflatable.

Larry: Those effing Barbie shoes! I hate it when you're tip-toeing to the fridge at 3 a.m. in order to get some OJ and you step on one of those mothers. And thanks for noticing the undies.

Denny: I shall put my thinking cap on regarding my next photo display.

BR: Welcome and enjoy the freedom. We practice it hardily around here.

No comments from the ladies yet? Hm--amazing. I've got me a half dozen men and a Barbie. Come on, there girls, I need a little help with the boys if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Barbies freak me out the way that some people are freaked out by clowns. I think this has something to do with a very strange and traumatic childhood experience: I was at a friend's house, and she decided it would be a good idea if we covered our barbies in peanut butter and bury them in her back yard. I went along with it because she was a bully. And yes, it was *chunky* peanut butter. I have been scarred for life!

But reading your essay was just a little bit like therapy. Maybe someday yet I'll get over my fear of barbie!



SleekPelt said...

Fantastic column, I loved it. Being the father of a five-year-old girl, I know first-hand that Barbie-hood is as inevitable as puberty. Not sure which scares me more.

As for my girl's Barbies, they typically end up face-down in a bathtub full of luke-warm water and little-brother pee. But still with the smile.

Happy Camper said...

Great stuff. There was a good article in the New Yorker about those creepy Bratz dolls that contained the following nugget about Barbie: "Barbie was originally intended for nine- to twelve-year-olds; today, girls widely perceive it as a toy for three- to six-year-olds. The association of Barbie with preschool girls sometimes leads slightly older girls to repudiate the doll with sadistic √©lan. Agnes Nairn and Patricia Gaya Wicks, professors of business at the University of Bath, and Christine Griffin, their colleague in the psychology department, published a study earlier this year revealing that seven-to-eleven-year-old girls enjoyed destroying Barbies. As one subject put it, "I just kept having to squish their heads off." Sometimes, the interviewers seemed taken aback by the girls’ ingenuity in punishing their Barbies." Here's the link


I had a buddy growing up who would periodically destroy all of his GI Joes and then his mom would buy him new ones. First kid I knew from a 'broken' home. Shit though man he had a hell of a lot of toys!

josh williams said...

Erin It is high time you pony up with the four dollars with shipping and handling and buy a Travels With Roscoe errr great American Novel...Money spent fully refundable if you persist, call the BBB etc.

Kristin said...

There were so many gems in this whole essay, but my favorite (or most loathed if we factor in my envy of your ability to think in unused images) was "a scoop of vanilla promise and a pink-frosted wish."

Giving up my pen and paper and making a shrine to you instead : )

whitenoise said...

Yes, Erin, very nice article. My little girl, approaching 5, is still pre-Barbie, but I remember the torture my sister's dolls endured. (shudder)

Happy Camper had an interesting addendum. A female columnist in Canada's Globe and Mail once included something about simulating sexual positions with Barbies when she and her friends were only 11 or 12.

Makes you wonder about our society and the current state of childhood innocense...

Erin O'Brien said...

SleekPelt: Welcome. Anyone who shows up at the door with a urine-soaked Barbie doll is okey dokey in my book.

Camper: Girls also like to use the blasted things as weapons by grasping them by the shins and vigorously whipping them. Hurts like hell to get smacked by one of those mothers.

Williams: I must admit that you have mounted a very compelling ad campaign. What else you mounting these days, baby?

Kristin: Thanks. The devils and diamonds are in the details, no? And please do not put down your pen, madame.

Whitenoise: Thank god the miserable things aren't anatomically correct.

josh williams said...

I trained myself not to mount inanimate objects along time ago.Buy Roscoes book and all your wildest dreams will come true! Plus I wrote the about the author part!

~d said...

You have such a marvelous way of stringing together words! I love reading you, because I can so totally relate to you.

ajooja said...

Good stuff, Erin.

I miss writing a column.

You do it well.

Erin O'Brien said...

JW: If you had any idea what it would take to realize my wildest dreams, you would not make that assertion, suh.

~d: Those damn toy packages!

ajooja: Thanks. How long did you do it? In what sort of paper?

ajooja said...

I was a sports editor for a medium-sized daily for about four years. I did a weekly sports column.

I only did local, first-person, people stuff. I think it's a waste of time for local newspapers to focus on national events (sports or otherwise). Who cares what some guy at a Midwest furniture store cares about Princess Di's death or the New York Yankees?

I did a general column for about a year when I moved up to assistant editor of the paper, but it was more difficult. I felt like I had to be more political.

I got mad and quit, started my own newspaper, lost my ass, and came back as editor about two years later. I wrote a column then too, but it was all over the place. I had to worry about being "the editor," so I couldn't be as free as I used to be.

Our paper was bought out by our competitor. They had more subscribers, but we had the better paper. The better staff.

They wanted to give "my paper" to "their subscribers" but they didn't want me to run it. I hung around for about a year before I quit. (I was in the newspaper business for 12 years.)

I work for a niche publication now. I don't know anything about the subject, so I don't write. I just make it look cool.

My writing has turned to shit anyway, so it's probably best that I write for free on the Internet than try to do it for a living ever again.

Erin O'Brien said...

Ajooja: Wow. I'm at once fascinated and flattered to have garnered your attention.