People watching—it’s one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve spent many hours perfecting this art of socially acceptable creeping. I’ve learned that it’s impossible to go home disappointed in New York City after a good long gawk session, especially on Halloween weekend.
This weekend, while at a restaurant in Williamsburg, I ran into two women who were both dressed as Barbie.
We had some things in common—makeup, though mine wasn’t caked on like a drag queen; long hair, mine curly and down to my shoulders, theirs stick-straight blonde and brown wigs to their butts; heels, I wore gray knee high lace up boots and they each had red, sky high pumps; my nails were red and short, theirs were neon acrylics.
These women really had their costumes perfected, right down to the shiny gold clutch and leg warmers.
“Oh, to be young and carefree!,” I thought while I watched one of them knock a beer off her table right in the middle of the restaurant. I was soon overcome with daydreams of the past.
The plot was always the same, but it never got old: it was a cycle of “Barbie” and “Other Barbie” trying on a million different tacky outfits and exchanging gossip about important things like clothes, hair, food, glitter, dinosaurs, hobbies. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all fun and games for these dolls. They kept full time jobs, drove around in their magenta cruiser, and showed up for hair appointments (i.e. had their shiny tresses with beard trimming scissors). One thing was always the same: the tiniest lull in activity always led to a big make out fest, sometimes they were even naked. One doll would hobble toward the other and their stiff arms would entangle, then they would kiss, kiss, kiss—hallelujah for permanent lipstick. It was good, quality stuff!
Meanwhile, Ken would lay on the sidelines, lifeless and untouched. Chiseled, abs and sculpture-worthy thighs—all for nothing. Poor guy.
Were these creepy dolls setting me up for a lifetime of unrealistic standards for my body? You bet! Not that I’d want to walk around with a permanent smile, boobs bigger than my butt, stiff fingers and a head that pops off with a flick of the thumb. Barbie wasn’t all bad, though. She unknowingly helped me come to terms with the fact that I would grow up to be a big ol’ lesbian. Thanks, Mattel, for showing me that it’s okay to be feminine and gay!
So I sat there, savoring the last bits of my meal while the two characters pounded what was left of their drinks and gobbled up the remains of their shared appetizer.
The one with a brown wig leaned on her elbow and looked toward my table. She stared for a few seconds and then, “I’m workout Barbie and that’s…I don’t know, she’s just Barbie.” She straightened her wig.
“Your costumes are great.” I smiled at her and bit my tongue when I saw that one of her eyelashes was drooping.
“What costumes?” she seductively shoved a fry into her mouth and leaned back in her chair.
And this is where I should have asked where Ken was. It would have been perfect, but I didn’t think of it at the time. Curse you, delicious beet salad, for distracting me.
These women could have been gay, yet I will never know. That’s what I get for being shy when it comes to putting myself out there. Maybe it’s a fear that I will be punched in the face for hitting on a woman, or worse, laughed at. Rejection stinks, but that’s just part of it, and I’ve decided that boldness is key.