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Genuinely Surprised to Find Barbie’s Ken on the Front Page

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Perhaps Barbie’s original beau, Ken, won’t be just another Baby Boomer on life’s downward slope if the media blitz from his creator, Mattel, Inc. works.

As I read my Sunday newspaper, I discovered the bland boy next door standing in his original red swim trunks on the front page, bottom of the fold—not a spot normally reserved for plastic people.

The article informed me that Ken will turn 50 this week—on March 11 to be exact. It said that a local museum is planning a birthday party for him complete with cake and punch as well as a Barbie and Ken exhibit.image of Ken doll

I confess I read the article all the way to the last paragraph about Mattel hiring models to walk around Manhattan dressed as various incarnations of Ken dolls. I also confess that I trolled the internet to see if anyone else was celebrating.

It appears that despite lots of hype from Mattel, Ken continues to stand behind Barbie. Although she was feted around the world for her 50th birthday two years ago, including a party in Paris, there is little word about festivities for Ken this month.

It appears that Ken will have to wait until July for a dinner in his honor at the 2011 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (It must be so hard being a guy but referred to as a Barbie doll.)

My final confession concerns the discovery that Ken is the focus of a nearly squeaky-clean reality show called Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend, produced by Hulu for Mattel. Eight episodes long, it can be viewed online.

Normally, I don’t watch reality shows, but I gave in to the guilty pleasure of watching the foibles of the four remaining suitors in episode 6. While they seemed genuinely nice, they also appeared to be genuinely clueless about the ultimate aphrodisiac: paying attention to what a woman says.

None of the men, who critics refer to as the “Kentestants,” seemed to pay close attention to the information provided by a female Mattel executive—information they soon discovered was necessary to complete their wacky errands and win their way to the next round.

If Barbie were real, she might give all of these Kens the go-go boot for not being able to remember her last name or her birth date. How could they possibly remember an anniversary?

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About Alicia Rudnicki