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).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >