By Jody Fuller
I’ve never been much of a Barbie man. I was always more of a G.I. Joe – Stretch Armstrong kind of guy. Barbies were just too girly for me—even Ken. Barbie’s beau is the original metrosexual, which is defined as a young, urban, heterosexual male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, and a refined sense of taste. Yeah, I don’t identify with any of that.
So when Emily wants me to visit her Barbie Dream House in the form of Ken, I do the best I can. The real me uses hair gel when I’m not wearing a ball cap, but that’s about as metro as I go. Therefore, as a child of the seventies and eighties, Ken somehow transforms into The Six Million Dollar Man. He makes the bionic sounds and everything. Bionic Ken doesn’t use the built-in elevator. Bionic Ken jumps from floor to floor. Lucy, who is 14 weeks pregnant, is no fan of the bionic sounds. Neither is Emily, but I think Barbie kind of digs it.
Emily tells me to just be myself. I tried that, but she’s no fan of Bathroom Ken either.
Ken has a cousin named Ben. Who knew? Ben is very similar to his cousin, so I don’t really relate to him either. In fact, I don’t care for either one of them. They are the Coy and Vance Duke of the metro doll world.
I thought about being Nature Boy Ken in honor of the legendary professional wrestler Nature Boy Ric Flair, but then I remembered that I have an actual doll of the real Nature Boy. He’s been standing on my dresser for years. I’m pretty sure Barbie would rather be hanging with the “jet-flying, limousine-riding, kiss-stealing, wheeling, dealing son of a gun” over Ken and his scooter anyway.
I suppose there could be G. I. Ken, Joe’s superior officer. The Army changes its uniform every few years, so they definitely care about fashion. Ken is no doubt a subject matter expert in the area. I know it’s a stretch, but according to Wikipedia, Ken has had over 40 jobs since his debut, so why not?
Speaking of stretch, Stretch Armstrong was one of my favorite toys when I was a kid. He was fun to pull on. I suppose that was the point. For some reason, I used to like to bite him so I could see the gel ooze out of him. Now that I think about it, it was not only wasteful but also quite disturbing. It didn’t taste very good either. I wonder if that’s where my stutter came from.
I think Emily is right. Maybe I should just be me and not just bathroom me. Maybe I should just be the best Ken or Ben that I can be. It might be challenging, but it’s not about me; it’s about her. Ultimately, she simply wants someone to play with. While it may not be on my list of favorite things to do right now, I’m have no doubt that one day I’ll look back on it with incredibly fond memories. Besides, we all know how kids spell love: T-I-M-E.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com