It's only a few weeks until Halloween and all houses of horror are not equal. Some don't have blood and vampires. Some are pretty, immaculate arenas on Fifth Avenue. Such is the American Girl doll store. I love dolls. I've always loved dolls. But these dolls aren't what I'm used to. They're not your basic huggable buddy you carry everywhere. They're a little stand-offish:
"Please don't cuddle me. You know I prefer air kisses. You'll muss up my hair. Stop it: You're creasing my new outfit! Do you have any idea how much this outfit cost? I don't care if you paid for it." Surely there must be a reality show: "Real American Girl Housewives" in their future. They're just a tad elitist. Could you imagine the scandal if an American Girl doll was seen on the red carpet with Raggedy Andy? Sure he's a legend, an American icon, but how could he not end up on the "worst dressed list" with that sailor hat?
I could swear I saw a trash can in front of the American Girl doll store that said: "No outside dolls or stuffed animals allowed." I took off my shoes before I entered and carried them the whole time. It just seemed fitting.
All of the dolls come from different backgrounds and have different stories and yet, they all look suspiciously similar. Has anyone actually done a background check to verify their stories of hardship growing up? And how much hardship growing up can they have had? Aren't they all like 9? Whatever struggles they may have had must have been short-lived because now they're living it up in a ritzy store on Fifth Avenue.
Some of the dolls are on display and some are in boxes. I wondered if the ones in the boxes are being punished. Do the employees come around at night when the store's closed and say:
"You, Marlena Isabel... Not you, the one behind you... Not you either, the one behind you, the next one, after her... Marlena Isabel #8, yes you. I saw you chewing gum earlier while customers were near your display. People pay $130 for a doll that has class not a gum-chewer. It's back in the box for you!"
I pondered: If someone offered to shell out $1040 plus tax for the whole slew of Marlena Isabels, is there a former government witness protection program employee in the basement, who in a flash, can create a whole new identity- Name and background -for each of the octuplets? "Marlena Isabel #6. You're now 'Estrogen'. You were raised by a lesbian couple in Fresno in 1971. Toss me your maracas and throw on this tie-dye poncho!"
Clearly some of my disdain comes from jealousy. Especially when I got to the part of the store where the beauty salon is. Grown-ass women stand there all day coiffing dolls' hair as they sit in their little salon chairs with the little salon cape around their little plastic necks. One phrase had bombarded my thoughts since I'd entered the store and was only growing louder as I'd approached the salon area: "Are you fking kidding me?"
And why do the dolls face us when they're getting coiffed? Don't they want to see themselves in the mirror? Maybe they're mocking us because we wish we were, literally, in their shoes. I couldn't stop thinking: "Okay, something's very wrong about this. I have my hair balled up in a stretched-out scrunchie because I haven't been able to afford a haircut in 2 years, and I'm watching a row of Stepford dolls getting their hair done on Fifth Avenue."
They're only a block away from St. Patrick's Cathedral. Do any of the dolls ever take a limo over to kneel down in gratitude for their good fortunes? Do any of their knees bend?"
And I don't think the dolls' snobbish attitudes waiver once they leave the store either. Have you ever seen a little girl with an American girl doll shopping in Target? Never. Once that doll sees those red shopping carts in the parking lot, she starts sending subliminal messages to her owner:
"I'm not going in there. I demand you leave me in the car at once!"
But then of course there probably is an AGDPS - The American Girl Doll Protective Services who would arrest you for leaving your American Girl Doll alone in a hot car. The penalty? Who knows? They know you have no money left to pay a fine since you've already forked over hundreds for the doll, her outfit, and accessories. Maybe in the back of the store somewhere, in the deep recesses where shoppers are never permitted, there are extra large boxes where they keep naughty American Girl Doll owners.
What happened to the good old days? Where's a vindictive little brother to come along and pop the head off your doll when you need him?