Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why I'm So Messed Up

I grew up in a time when mothers didn’t feel obliged to pepper spray other mothers in order to get an Xbox console for their off-spring. It was a time of much more modest expectations. You asked for something you really wanted at Christmas and your mother was responsible for handling the details (because seriously, as much as your father loves you, did he ever buy you a gift? Meaning, go to the store and buy, not give your mother the credit card). And a good mother would do her best. Which, in my day, meant she’d look at all the newspaper ads, drive to malls, and call stores (these were indeed ancient times) and if she got a lead she’d hunt it down. But sometimes, sometimes, the item was too popular and it would not manifest under the Christmas tree despite her best efforts.

Oh, the box that should have been under our tree! This is almost too painful

Someone worked this Barbie over a bit too much with a ratting comb. I would never have been as careless.

I’d like you to meet Barbie Big Head, the reason I’m such a hot mess of an adult. She was the go-to gift of any girly girl in the mid-seventies. I could tell you the exact year but electroshock therapy has erased it from my mind. I whined, begged, pleaded, and more importantly- BEHAVED MYSELF to get this freakishly sized hunk of plastic for Christmas but it was not to be. After the last gift had been opened and my face was getting that wobbly look kids get when they want to start crying but know they’re-too-old-and-they-got-other-nice- gifts-and-shouldn’t-complain, my mother swooped in and explained how hard she had looked and that she had even driven to Denver (two hours away) but everyone was out and they weren’t even doing rain checks. With quivering lip, I said I understood, but really? I didn’t.

Even, I, a pre-teen girl, knew how well and truly screwed I was by not getting this Barbie; this entré into the world of make-up and hair design. Namely, I had no way to practice any of this on something other than myself which I would not be allowed to do for another 3 years and would lead to the tragic multi-hued eye shadow disaster of 1978 and the eyebrow plucking debacle that left me with one line of hairs over each eye and caused my father to take away the tweezers until I could “stop acting like a damn fool”.

The list of mishaps continues all the way through my adulthood (i.e. the perm from hell in 1987). To say I suffered for this lack in my childhood is an understatement. Having had Barbie Big Head to practice hair, make-up, and even accessorization on would have saved me years of embarrassment, disgrace, and eventually, therapy. Perhaps then, this current batch of mothers is right to give into the petulant whining demands of their offspring and act like cage wrestlers at the mall. The character and internal fortitude I gained from not getting what I wanted is nothing compared to the sparkly, narcissistic, entitled beauty queen I could have become. And if my mother had had to do jail time so be it. I was robbed.

Yes, I was rocking my short sleeve knit mini-dress but look at the stringy hair with no style and not even clear gloss on my lips. Sad sad sad.

p.s. that's not a cougar I'm holding just one of the world's best cats EVER.

Was there ever a gift you really wanted but didn't get?


Abby said...

Ha! I only had Barbies so I could chop off their hair and use them as victims for GI Joe fights with my best friend Danny. However, I had all the cool Barbie things like the house, camper, etc. that I used to decorate a la Martha Stewart. Don't ask.

Anyway, I thought I always wanted a Nintendo because everyone else had one. I never got one (but got a Game Boy for when we were at the trailer so my parents could have some quiet) and am glad I never did. We were always outside or my mom got me some "learning thing", and for that I'm grateful!

curlygeek04 said...

Visiting from the Not a Mommy Blog hop! Enjoyed your post on Oscars but loved this one. I didn't have a must-have gift (I was a middle child and honestly just wanted books and a little attention sometimes). BUT I'm convinced my adolescence would have been changed dramatically if I'd had a mom who cared what I looked like when I left the house, or sisters who actually talked to me about things like makeup and hair. You see you've hit a nerve here... Lovely picture by the way.

Catherine said...

Abby- you're perfect proof of my theory. If I'd had all the cool Barbie stuff I too would have published a book and be a raging success as a blogger. I never got any Barbie accessories...

CurlyGeek- I hear you. My mother never wore make-up which was why Big Head Barbie was my only hope. Instead, I had to fend for myself and well, you read how that turned out. Thanks for stopping by!


Hahaha! This was so fantastic. I have a vague notion there was a toy I always wanted but never got, but I do believe I have blocked the tragedy from my memory.

TriGirl said...

Stopping by from the Not Mommy hop! This is too funny! Somehow, I don't think I every realized that Giant Barbie head was made to teach you how to do your hair and makeup. I had blue mascara and white lipstick :P

Susi said...

I don't remember this Barbie head, but I was more a Sindy girl:) I wonder if the reason I suck at doing my hair is because I never had the Barbie head?! :D

Chibi said...

Oh, man! I never had the Barbie head, but my little sister did, and I, uh, well... kinda took it to a hairdresser and told her to give me THAT cut. (In my defence, this was mid-90's, so Barbie's 'do had been updated somewhat. heh)

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