March 9, 2021
It’s a beautiful day in the Pacific Heights. It’s Springtime, which means that all kinds of flowers are starting to pop up all over the sidewalk. The Pacific Heights is known for its brilliant yellow daisies, which magically appear in everyone’s front yards over the Spring. For some reason, the residents of the Pacific Heights are a whole lot nicer in Spring!
It’s also March 9th, Barbie’s birthday! Unfortunately, Barbie isn’t having such a fantastic time…
“It’s 10am, Teresa!” Barbie moans to her best friend. “And Ken still hasn’t wished me a happy birthday!”
“Maybe he’s forgotten?” Teresa suggests, lying out all Barbie’s floor. She’s on her way to a yoga class at the gym, but stopped by Barbie’s house to give her her birthday present. It was a small watch, with little diamonds around the wristband.
“He couldn’t have forgotten, could he?” Barbie asks, more to herself than to Teresa. “We’ve been together for 60 years! He’s had 60 years to remember!”
Teresa stayed silent. She didn’t want to tell Barbie, but for some reason, she had noticed that Ken didn’t seem as interested in her anymore. She wondered whether Barbie had noticed it, too.
“Look,” Teresa says, sighing and getting up. “It’s only early in the morning! He’s probably got something planned for lunch or dinner. Don’t stress yourself out too much.”
“Yeah.” Barbie agrees half-heartedly.
“I’ve got to get to yoga. I’ll see you later on, yeah?”
“Yep.” Barbie sighs dramatically as Teresa leaves to go to the gym. Great, she thinks to herself. Now I’m all alone! On my birthday, too!
Barbie stares at the door. Why hasn’t Ken mentioned my birthday yet? Everyone else remembered.
Over in the bathroom, Ken’s best friend, Ryan, is busy with a very important task.
“Oooh… Soft and silky hair! Now that’s what I like to hear!”
Ryan picks up Barbie’s bottle of hair cream and flips it over to read the label on the back. “Wow! No silicone! That’s even better!”
“Oh, yeah! I like this stuff! I wonder if Barbie will let me keep the whole bottle…”
“AGHHHH!!!” Ryan screams as Barbie barges into the bathroom.
“Ryan!” Barbie screams back. “What are you doing in here?? This is my house!! That’s my hair cream!”
“Um…” Ryan hides the hair cream behind his back. “I was just, uh, looking at it.”
“Since you’re here… In my house… Without my permission… I wanted to ask you something.”
“Has Ken said anything about my birthday to you? He does remember my birthday, doesn’t he? Is he planning something?”
“Um…” Ryan stares at the bottle of hair cream and pretends to read it very intently. “I’m not sure… Maybe…”
Barbie is furious. “Oh. My. God! He hasn’t planned anything, has he?”
Over in the kitchen, Stacie, Barbie’s sister, is describing her basketball game to Ken in great detail.
“And then! I grabbed the ball, and stole it from Janessa, and I dribbled it down the court, all the way past the other team!”
“Mmm-hmm.” Ken is only pretending to be listening to Stacie’s story.
“And then I made the winning shot! I won the whole basketball game, by myself!”
“Wow.” Ken says, stifling a yawn. “That sure is exciting, Stace.”
Ken turns around to face his furious girlfriend. Oh God, Ken thinks. What’s going on now?
“Good morning, babe! What’s up?” Ken smiles cheerfully at Barbie.
“Don’t you act dumb to me!” Barbie screams. “I know you forgot my birthday!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Ken says, jumping up to reassure Barbie. “No, I didn’t! I would never!”
Barbie looks up through her tears. “You… you didn’t?” She sniffs loudly. Perhaps she had over-reacted. Perhaps Ken had planned something after all!
“No, babe! Of course I didn’t! I didn’t want to tell you, but I’ve got a big birthday surprise for you at dinner… I’ve got something really special planned out, but I wanted it to be a secret.”
Barbie sniffs again. “Oh.” She feels a bit stupid now.
“I’m sorry I made you worried.” Ken says. “I shouldn’t have scared you.”
“No, I’m sorry, Ken!” Barbie says. “I completely over-reacted! I should have trusted you. I’m so excited for your surprise tonight!”
Over in Barbie’s bathroom, Ryan is still trying out all of Barbie’s hair creams. “Wow… This one sure is nice! Look at that volume!”
“Ryan! Thank God you’re here! I need your help!”
“Ugh. What is it with everyone barging in on me today?” Ryan says. “Bathrooms are supposed to be private, you know.”
“I forgot Barbie’s birthday!” Ken blurts out. “I convinced her that I have a special surprise planned for tonight, but I don’t! You need to help me plan something!”
“Ugh.” Ryan rolls his eyes. “You know how I feel about Barbie. Why do I have to help you?”
“You know what I think?” Ryan continues. “You need to tell Barbie the truth. You need to sit her down, and tell her that you don’t love her anymore. You can’t keep lying to her like this! It’s not fair.”
“You know I can’t.” Ken says flatly. “It would break her heart. I can’t do that to her… We’ve been together for 60 years! We were literally made for each other.”
“Ugh…” Ken runs his fingers through his hair. He’s starting to get really stressed about all this.
“You know I wish I could. I wish I could get out of this relationship. It’s all lies and I know it. You know it. It won’t be long before she figures it out, too.”
Ryan sighs and puts his hand on Ken’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Ken. I shouldn’t have pressured you. Tell her when you’re ready.”
“No, I’m sorry.” Ken says. “I shouldn’t put you through all this. It’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to her.”
Ken and Ryan embrace in a passionate kiss.
“I love you.” Ryan looks into Ken’s eyes and knows that he feels the same.
“I love you, too. I’m going to tell Barbie tonight. I’m going to tell her about us.”
“Really?” Ryan is surprised. Ken has never said anything like this before.
“Yep. I’m going to tell her!”
*** to be continued ***
HOW’S THAT FOR CHAPTER ONE?? Exciting, right?? I wanted to do a photostory that focuses on Barbie and her typical friends and family – Ken, Teresa, Stacie, etc- and then give it a FUN TWIST. And what’s more fun that a dramatic affair between Ken and his best buddy Ryan? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.
This storyline was inspired by the classic joke that Ken is gay, because of his very stylish outfits and love for all things fashion.
Of course, the 2020 Barbie Signature Merman doll didn’t help Ken’s reputation as a MLM. Images of the merman doll began circling online, describing the doll as a “Himbo Merman.” (You have to admit – total himbo!)
Of course, the whole “Ken is gay” trope really stems back from the Earring Magic Ken doll. Ah, what a classic!
“Mattel had conducted a survey of girls asking if Ken should be retained as Barbie’s boyfriend or whether a new doll should be introduced in that role. Survey results indicated that girls wanted Ken kept but wanted him to look “cooler.” The redesigned Ken was the result. Observers quickly noted the resemblance of Earring Magic Ken to a stereotypical gay man, from the pastel-colored clothes to the earring to the necklace, which was described as a “chrome cock ring.”Kitsch-minded gay men bought the doll in record numbers, making Earring Magic Ken the best-selling Ken model in Mattel’s history.“
Too good. I love to think of all the gay men working at Mattel at the time, looking at the necklace and laughing to themselves.
Anyway, if ~dramatic affairs~ aren’t your thing, hold tight! There will be many more FUN TWISTS in the Pacific Heights photostories to come. I’m going to try and involve all of Barbie’s friends and family. It’s gonna be fun! It’s gonna be dramatic! It’s gonna be CRAZY!