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Barbie Dolls and Hot Pants

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In summer daycare, outside had always been my favorite place to be. Every time we went outside, it was always a prelude to another epic adventure. Being a tomboy, I stuck with a group of boys who made up games in which we were all characters with names, personalities, and skills that were beyond what we were. That had to be the best part, being someone you knew you could never be. It was a sort of sad thought, but when I played, I threw my whole being into it. I became that person. There was only one problem.
I, being the only girl of the group, had to be a damsel in distress. Princess so and so who did nothing but sat up in the tower and waited to be saved by Sean, a boy who was always picked as my savior because one of my friends, Andrew, thought we were destined to be together. My good friend Jake was always arguing, because he wanted to be my victor, and he agreed with me: girls shouldn’t always be in distress. He was my closest friend from the first day we played together.
During the summer of my fourth grade year, I one day decided to state my issue. Pace, our consultant and leader, stood from his corner of out little fort (we’d proudly conquered it from the Barbie players) with regal air and told me that I was a girl and that was the way things were going to be. I told him it wasn’t fair, and Laura Croft didn’t always need help from men. He thought on in, and looked to Stephen, saying “She does have a point.”
Stephen shook his head and said, “She isn’t tough enough to be like Laura Croft.”
“I’m tough!”
“She’s tough!”
My and Jake’s comebacks were called at the same time.
Pace sat Indian style and stroked his bare chin like he had a beard, then said,
“Let us test her skill then, shall we? I say we have her do a mission, just to see if she can roll with the men in our… quests.”
Pace was always admired for his wise demeanor and mature word choice, and I respected him, so I nodded, accepting it as fair, and said, “Bring it.”
My first mission was simple: sneak up to the girl’s fort, steal a Barbie, and bring it back so we can hold it captive. Pace had approved the mission, assigning Jake as my escort. We snuck up to the bottom part of the fort in “James Bond mode”, rolling and pressing ourselves against walls like secret agents.
“Are you ready?” asked Jake, with a grin. I nodded, and he stooped down so I could climb on his shoulders and see into the fort’s upper room. The girls didn’t see me, engrossed in making Ken and Barbie marry, as they did every day, and had abandoned Barbie in her “dressing room” as Ken spoke to a friend. The moment was all too perfect.
“A little higher” I whispered, and Jake lifted me higher, resting against the gate behind us to hold my weight. I rose up a bit, feeling my skirt drag on the old metal behind me as I
reached, and reached, and reached…
“Hey!” exclaimed one of the girls.
My world spun, and panic pumped adrenaline through my veins, making my mind run at a million miles per hour. I felt my support falter, and I quickly reached for my captor before tumbling to the ground. There was an awful rip, and I knew and denied and hoped it wasn’t but knew it was my skirt on the fence. As I ran to my fort, I felt it slipping down my legs, so I kicked it off to reveal tie dye hot pants underneath. The trip to my safe haven seemed to take forever, and I was thinking “My counselor sees me, with my skirt off, in multicolored hot pants running for my life with a wedding day Barbie in my hands…”, and smiling to myself as I imagined his reaction. My smile widened when I say my friends cheering and yelling, Pace with all composure gone, rolling on the floor laughing his butt off. I really didn’t care. The excitement and victory was too great to be fazed, and I felt amazing, floating on clouds, or running, anyways.
Upon reaching my allies, they rushed me into the fort and blocked the path from the angry girls as Stephen began his negotiations with his sister, who was the leader of the Barbie players. Jake joined me in the upstairs area of our fort, where I sat in Pace’s corner, feeling the embarrassment for the first time as adrenaline died away, tears running down my face. Never one to pull the macho act, he embraced me in a big bear hug and told me everything was okay, and I was “totally awesome” for my accomplishment.
Of course, I was allowed major, action filled parts in our games for my heroic skill from then on, and talk of my skirt incident faded among the other boys, save Jake.
He still laughs at me about it to this day.





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