I just typed an appraisal and the street name on the property was Firethorne. Firethorne. It just sounds like a place I would live. Like a place where only foliage with prickly things would grow. The foliage grows wild and thick and blocks out the sun completely. An insulated world where nothing beautiful could ever exist. But it's not a fairy tale because I'm too grown to imagine such things so don't worry.
My daughter is not too grown for such things and her fairy tales are of a different caliber. She wears her gaudy costumes with beaming pride, her plastic, "high-heeled" shoes, a shiny tiara on her head. She teeters over to me with a makeshift wand in her hand, shakes it and says, "Abracadabra. Make mommy a pretty princess." And I do that thing where you put your hand down and then bring it back up like I'm suddenly changed even though I'm not nor ever will be a princess or pretty in any way.
I wasn't much for the princesses when I was a little girl. I also don't think that the princess concept was shoved down our throats the way it seems to be with girls these days. I'm talking about advertisers and toymakers and the media. Princess, princess, princess. Lord, I was just a fucking little girl with hair that was always a mess and a dirty face and hands from digging in the dirt. Don't get me wrong. I don't think that there's anything wrong with princess dress up play. It's just not something I entirely understand. I just didn't consider myself to be pretty enough to even imagine in that way.
Mostly, I played outside. But I also really enjoyed playing with dolls. The Strawberry Shortcake dolls were my absolute favorite. I had the garden house with these cute red hammocks that never stayed up. I made little families based on the scents (citrus, berries, etc), which was hard because there was only one boy. There were a lot of fatherless children and widows in my collection. It was all very normal play, though. When I started to play with Barbies, well...it got really weird.
I was really confused about a lot of things I think, which should come as no surprise to anyone. What weird things did I do with Barbies? For one, I had a Ken Doll that had crazy long black hair and instead of using him for his original purpose, which was like Midge's boyfriend or something, he was the designated rapist. I'm not even fucking kidding. He'd go around terrorizing all my Barbies, raping them and beating them up. What the fuck was wrong with me? Sometimes I made the dolls have normal sex with each other or whatever I thought that was. Like undress them and just have them lay next to each other. I got the basics down right for never having witnessed any kind of sex. I only had two Ken dolls. One was raping women, the other was fucking them then dumping them right after for the next pretty thing. The Barbies would all fight over the non-raping Ken. I'd dress them all up and do their hair in elaborate styles just to entice non-raping Ken. All of the Barbies wanted to be the lucky girl he picked to fuck after the party. In my world view at the time, when I grew up men were either going to rape me or fuck me. It wasn't so much Some Day My Prince Will Come as it was Some Day My Non-Raping Ken Will Come. Was I entirely wrong? In any case, what the fuck was wrong with me?***
I did a lot of other weird Barbie shit as I got older, some of which involved dressing them up like hookers to go turn tricks. Yes, raping Ken turned into Pimp Ken. He could slap a bitch, I give him that. I was still playing with Barbies at, like, 12 years old. I mean not just me, but some of my friends did too. I think girls of that age now would think that was so childish. Which stands to reason, since I look at modern pre-teen girls and early teenage girls and think that a lot of them look like little girls playing dress up as slutty women. It's creepy, to be frank. I'm not talking about all of them, obviously. I'm talking about the ones I see at the mall, all dead-eyed and skanked up in mini-skirts and fuck me boots with make up glittering all over their baby faces. That's one way of knowing a girl is too young for make-up. If she thinks putting gobs of glitter on her eye lids is a good thing, she shouldn't be allowed to wear fucking make-up. I'm not going to say it's their parents fault. Maybe they left the house wearing khakis with fresh-scrubbed faces. It's certainly possible.
I worked as a counselor at a group home for teenage girls for a few years when I was in my mid-20's. It was basically a step down home for girls that had been in juvie or were unruly in the foster care system. I started working there at 24 and honestly these kids knew more about shit than I did. I had never done a drug or drank a beer. I had never even had sex, any kind, not even oral. I was, like, this total innocent. And I was trying to shepherd these girls who knew more about the ways of the world than I did. Some of them had already been drug addicts, some had been abused, some had been raped. They were all sexually active. These 14 year old girls would talk about having sex with guys like it was nothing. We'd play gin rummy in the living room and they'd tease each other about giving blow jobs, or talk about getting a letter from their 20 year old boyfriend who was in jail but he was going to get out soon and they were going to totally, like, fuck all night long. And I'd just be wide-eyed and tentative. "I don't know about that Dominique. He sounds dangerous." And she'd smile at me all "oh Gwen, you silly little counselor. Aren't you cute?"
Dominique scared the piss out of me. I hated checking her chores or getting a urine sample from her. I just never knew when the pat on the head would turn into a bash to the head, you know? And I wouldn't blame her, not really, because my very presence in her life must have been unsettling. She probably thought, "Fucking sheltered white girl who probably never suffered a day in her whole life is going to tell me what the fuck to do? Going to watch me pee in a cup? Tell me the kitchen floor needs to be redone because it's still dirty? Fuck her."
Sometimes I wanted to bring some Barbies in for them to play with. Weird, right? I mean they were playing all right, just with their own lives, their own self-worth. They were so young and stupid and these...these little girls who didn't even realize how they were being used and abused by all the stupid boys and men in their lives. I wanted to be like, "Here act out all these wicked scenarios, these obsessions with things you do not fully understand, these partial truths, these fears of the opposite gender. Only stop treating your body as if it were a useless piece of bendy plastic." Poor little girls.
***You may be wondering how somehow so young who wasn't even allowed to watch the movie Big because Tom Hanks touched somebody's boob in it, was so savvy regarding all things rape and sex and prostitution. Well, you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) how much rape and sex and prostitution occurs in that good book known as the Bible.
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