Recently I was having a conversation with a guy friend about the importance of make-believe playtime when you’re a kid. When I started describing some of the shenanigans my girlfriends and I would subject our toys to, he just stared at me with widening eyes. I wish I could have shown him this comic at the time, because it pretty much depicts my childhood and maybe explains my life thereafter.
I spotted this on Tumblr, where the artist’s post has amassed nearly 70,000 notes and reblogs from ex-kids who get me on a personal level. The number of notes shows that my experience was definitely not limited to me or my circle or the circumstances of where we were raised. It was drawn by kittypat_daily, a 23-year-old art student who has a host of charming comics on their blog. I really can’t get over how much this just shows a scene straight out my youth. And apparently, it’s a recognizable sight for many of us.
I didn’t really have many Barbies or My Little Ponies growing up, but whenever I was at the house of a friend so blessed the stories we generated for our dolls were bananas. No “Barbie is so pretty!” chatter as we brushed their hair. No, our Barbies had wild sex lives (which for six-year-olds didn’t mean much except we knew pregnancy resulted thereafter and then Barbie had lots of babies, which upped the drama).
They were prostitutes and brawlers and royalty. They had babies in wedlock and out. They backstabbed and betrayed and stole each others’ babies. They were bound and tied to, say, a shark, as above, or maybe a stuffed bear. Enchanted rituals went down. More scheming and Ken-seducing and child-snatching. And don’t even get me started on the My Little Ponies.
[Ed: Charline just told me about this video. I knew I wasn’t alone! Anna Faris is Just Like Me]
It’s been a long time since I tried to remember what we got up to in those games, which never felt weird or unnatural but always thrilling. The takeaway in retrospect, I’d say, is that young children have a vast curiosity and capacity for outlandish expression and interest in pushing the boundaries they’re just starting to understand. Then you get older and learn to rein it in about certain topics, and then someday you stop playing make-believe entirely.
I don’t want to exclude little boys from this experience, only I wasn’t one so I can’t speak to it. And my friend in response to my bizarro Barbie tales was like, “I was obsessed with devising ways to lift objects with my programmable Lego crane, but that’s pretty much as deep as it got,” and you know, maybe that would have been my vibe too if I’d had a Lego crane.
But we’re given the toys we’re given and I know mine were baby-having witch-Queens who would steal both your man and your baby and ride off into the sunset on the back of a purple plastic unicorn.
So, uh, what was your playtime like?
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