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Barbie Dolls and Hot Pants MAG
In summer day care, outside had always been my favorite place. Going out was a prelude to another epic adventure. As a tomboy, I stuck with the boys who made up games in which we were all characters with names, personalities, and skills way beyond our real selves. That had to be the best part – being someone you knew you could never be. When I played, I threw my whole being into it. I became that person.
There was only one problem. I, as the only girl, had to be the damsel in distress. Princess So-and-So, who did nothing but sit in the tower and wait to be saved by Sean, who always played the role of my savior since Andrew thought we were destined to be together. My good friend Jake was always arguing, because he wanted to be my victor, and agreed with me that girls shouldn’t always be in distress. He was my closest friend from the first day we played together.
During the summer of fourth grade, I decided to state my issue. Pace, our leader, stood in our 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 Lara Croft didn’t need any help from men. He thought about it and looked at Stephen, saying, “She does have a point.”
Stephen shook his head and said, “She isn’t tough enough to be like Lara Croft.”
“I’m tough!” “She’s tough!” Jake and I said at the same time.
Pace sat Indian-style and stroked his bare chin as though he had a beard, and said, “Let us test her skill then, shall we? I say we have her do a mission, and 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 this as fair, saying, “Bring it on.”
My first mission was simple: Sneak up to the girls’ fort, steal a Barbie, and bring it back so we could hold it captive. Pace approved the mission, assigning Jake as my escort. We approached 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 so I could climb on his shoulders and peek into the fort’s upper room. The girls didn’t see me, engrossed in making Ken and Barbie get married, as they did every day. They 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 up, resting against the gate behind us to hold my weight. I rose a bit, feeling my skirt drag on the 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 a million miles per hour. I felt my support falter, and I quickly grabbed 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 catching on the fence. As we ran to our fort, I felt it slipping down my legs, so I kicked it off to reveal tie-dyed hot pants. The trip to my safe haven seemed to take forever, and I thought, If 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 smiled to myself as I imagined his reaction. My smile widened when I saw my friends cheering and yelling. Pace, with all composure gone, was rolling on the floor laughing. I didn’t really care. The excitement of victory was too great to be fazed, and I felt amazing, floating on clouds, or at least running.
My allies rushed me into the fort and blocked the path of the angry girls as Stephen began his negotiations with his sister, the leader of the Barbie players. Jake joined me in the upstairs area, where I sat in Pace’s corner, feeling embarrassment for the first time as the adrenaline died, and tears ran down my face. Never one to pull the macho act, he embraced me in a big bear hug and told me everything was okay, saying I was “totally awesome.”
Of course from then on I was allowed major action-filled roles in our games for my heroic skill, and talk of my skirt incident faded among the boys, except Jake.
He still laughs about it to this day.