I just realized, in watching a few videos of myself, that I inevitably put my arm up behind my head. This is not a pose, it’s a TIC! I’m like Randy in the damn snowsuit from A Christmas Story! It’s funny how some gestures and actions are innate and later contribute to your personality/demeanour (fatalism?! from moi?!).

When I was a kid I would only walk on my toes, like I was in high heels. With my hand out at the side (for balance or carrying an imaginary glass of champagne, we’ll never know as I can’t recall), I would sashay unconsciously until my parents would sputter the usual “Heel, Toe!”, afraid I would shorten my tendons and never be able to run track (yeah…). This followed me until about the 7th or 8th grade, because I remember another student commenting on it and making a concerted effort to dig those heels in HARD.

Looking back, it must have been the obsession with Barbies (their feet are constantly arched for mega stilettos) combined with my hatred of JEM doll and dusted with my desire to be a prima ballerina and four inches taller (a dream I recently dusted off after shelving due to a decade-plus obsession with music and musicians — the dancing, not the being 4 inches taller…which haunts me every day!)

Let’s talk about JEM/Barbie. I HATED JEM. They were too large to fit into Barbie clothes and had flat fat feet fourteen sizes too big for Barbie, so I never bothered with them. Besides, their clothes were all kind of 80’s rock clubwear and I preferred Barbie’s cruisewear and full-length gowns, which made for spectacular games about models who lived in a loft and constantly had to attend fancy parties where they competed for Ken’s attention. I only had one Ken doll, but he had a more poseable head than most of my friend’s multiple Kens and could tilt diagonally for discussing private romantic issues and of course kissing. Which my Barbies were doing constantly.

Ken’s name would change according to whatever male celebrity was my fancy at that moment… unfortunately I don’t remember too many of my childhood crushes, but logic dictates thet would have been things like Eddie (Furlong, from Terminator 2), Christian/Will (Robin Hood: Prince of Theives) and most likely David/Ace/Keifer (Sutherland, duh. I loved him in Stand By Me, Flatliners and The Lost Boys).

The girls (I had about 12 or 13) were things like Claudia, Cassandra, Vanessa, Stacey, Christina etc. Some hybrid of Dynasty and The Babysitter’s Club. There was one in particular who I had given this fabulous bob too and the story usually centered around the other girl’s jealousy about how she got a lot of modelling work because she looked different from the 5 or 6 other blondes. She hung out mostly with Asian Barbie and Black Barbie, who was named Keisha (I don’t remember Asian Barbie’s name but she was a BIG DEAL cause everyone wanted to be her), who were friends with Hawaiian Barbie, who only just tolerated Barbie-with-a-bob’s small-town ways because she knew it would get her into the right parties to meet Ken/Christian/Keifer who always took notice of Barbie-with-a-bob. I think B-w-a-b had some really plain name like Anne or something so the story could center around everyone being pissed off that smalltown girl was making it big in New York or Paris.

So basically I created America’s Next Top Model, is what I’m saying.

The only other game I remember playing with them was making them go “to the pool”, which had me hauling them into the sink in my mother’s bathroom and changing them into bikinis while they gossiped and I washed their clothes (!!!!) and styled their hair for the photoshoots and parties.

Sometimes they would go on a date with GI Joe or Rio from JEM (yeah I was OK with HIM) or He-Man (my parent’s didn’t want  me to just have “girl toys”) but inevitably they were all “Oh, I’m over this. Let’s go to that FANCY PARTY.”

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