Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 5:15 am | Fair 42º

 
 
 

She Said, Z Said: The Ultimate Accessory Turns 50

Barbie's boy toy reaches a milestone but he's still a doll after all these years

She: Guess who’s getting an AARP card in the mail this month?

Z: Happy Birthday, honey! Way to admit you’re nearly 50!

She: You’ve been saying that since my 25th birthday. Still not funny.

Z: Then who are you talking about?

She: Ken.

Z: Cyndie’s Ken? Karen’s Ken?

She: No, Barbie’s Ken.

Z: Ken the doll. Now I don’t feel so bad about not getting the invite.

She: The guy has had quite a life. There was painted hair Ken, mod hair Ken, and totally hair Ken.

Z: Barbie gets to drive pink Corvettes, live in dream houses and change her skin color according to the times, and Ken gets to go to the barber shop?

She: Yep. Barbie worked her way up from stewardess to flight attendant to pilot. She’s been an astronaut, a doctor and a NASCAR driver.

Z: And she’s hot. He looks OK, too. Probably plastic surgery. Get it? Plastic surgery?

She: She’s also won American Idol, played in the WNBA, driven Formula 1 cars, been a Navy officer and an Air Force jet pilot.

Z: And she’s hot. What about Ken? Has he ever worked a day in his life? Can’t he stand on his own two feet?

She: Well, according to Mattel mythology, he and Barbie met on the set of a TV commercial in 1961. He might have been the hair stylist there. Hair stylist Ken has come out at least three times since then.

Z: Really? You’re going to leave me with “Hair Stylist Ken has come out?” Forget it. I’m not going to take the bait. I’m not going to touch it with a 10-foot-pole made of Village People records.

She: He does have one real job — writer. There’s a new book full of his advice, called I Love Ken: My Life as the Ultimate Boyfriend. He says things like, “Offer her your arm (if it bends that way), open the door for her, pull out her chair ...” He’s a real gentlemen. You could use his advice.

Z: I’ll bet he bends that way. Snicker.

She: There was actually a “Sugar’s Daddy Ken” doll released for Barbie’s 50th birthday last year.

Z: Is that a misspelling? Isn’t it “Sugar Daddy Ken?” And — really — why would it be either spelling? What was Mattel thinking?

She: No, it’s “Sugar’s Daddy.” Mattel says the doll’s name was in reference to Ken’s pet — Sugar, a West Highland White Terrier that Ken leads on a pink leash.

Z: I’ve never felt more secure in my manhood than when I say I never owned a Ken Doll. I did have an uncle who sent me a G.I. Joe once, but even that boy doll got nothing but abuse. I’m pretty sure we violated the Geneva Conventions and several municipal fire codes when we played with it.

She: I don’t think the Ken doll was ever meant for boys. Really, he was just one of Barbie’s accessories. An extremely nonthreatening boyfriend for the under-10 set.

Z: Which is probably why Mattel was OK with his dramatic portrayal in Toy Story 3. He did not come off as a deep thinker.

She: But he did get the girl.

Z: I thought I heard something about them breaking up. OK, honestly, I never heard that. I just read it while doing research for this column, and I’m setting you up for the next line.

She: They did break up — for seven years. Then he got on Twitter and won her back finally on Valentine’s Day.

Z: And who said Valentine’s Day was getting too commercial?

She: In honor of his golden year, Mattel introduced Sweet Talking Ken.

Z: Sweet.

She: He’s the ultimate boy toy. He comes with a built-in microphone to record up to five seconds of, um ... whatever you want to whisper in his ear.

Z: So now little girls can train their boyfriend to say exactly what they want him to?

She: I can only imagine that kind of power.

Z: Whatever you want, the answer is yes. Are you hinting that you want a Ken Doll for your 50th birthday?

She: Yes, dear.

— Share your adventures with Ken and Barbie with She and Z at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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