>I loved Barbies when I was a kid. I played with them until I was 10 or 11, when other girls in my school had given up on dolls already and gone on to dating. I was in no way, shape, or form ready to handle real relations with boys, so I retreated into my little Barbie world. They put on pretty clothes and dated and had sex with Ken. In retrospect, it was sort of a proto-Bachelor situation, since there was only one guy and lots of ladies clamoring for him. I personally continued being a nerd. Life was good.

Ironically, although I loved gussying Barbie up and pimping her out, when it came to my life, I realized quickly that I hated heels, tight clothes, and makeup. I also was one of those no-sex-until-marriage types (shocking, I know) until I was 16 or 17. I left high school still a virgin. And I'm a hairy legged feminist to this day. In fact, as I leave for Florida for my writing retreat, I am gleeful that Minnie long ago suggested that I wear board shorts over my bathing suit so that I needn't worry about shaving the old bikini line. (I am not into shaving snatch, but I am also not into pubes hanging out of bathing suits. It's the worst damned if you do, damned if you don't situation a curmudgeonly vacationer faces...)