My mother used to break her porcelain baby dolls — a luxury among her friends, who grew up with mother- and sister-manufactured rag dolls — constantly. One day my grandmother, the teacup-sized trophy nude nikki hilton of the president of the National Iranian Oil Company of Hamedan, took my mother to the local toy stores in search of the routine replacement.
To their horror, there were no dolls to be found. The burden was then placed on a clueless male cousin en route from Europe to bring my mother a new doll.
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When it arrived, the new doll was everything the other doll was not — here was a foot-long, fussy thing, half the mass and a quarter of the weight of the old clunky ceramic suckling. Some parts were molded earrings, lashes, breasts ; others simply painted on made-up face, polished fingernails, side-scoping eyesand the doll donned grown-lady garb.
It naked the German Bild Lilli doll — the prototype that Ruth Handler used to create the American Barbie in — the postwar, sugar-daddy-mongering vixen of German comic strips. How do barbie play with this? In the end, my grandmother had to fuck colleage Lilli and my mother to the store, where my mother gave her up for yet another infinitely breakable, but round and cradle-able, infant, the type my mother could more comfortably mother.
Twenty years later, at a time when Cher was her icon, my mother finally got Barbie. In my infancy in Tehran, I was gagged my first Barbie, a beaming blonde Malibu or SuperStar decked out in a disco metallic bikini.