Thursday, February 7, 2013

Go-To-Gay: What A Doll!

Introduction by Tracey Meyers

 Today, "Joan Rivers" Barbie is briefly taking over CLC's Go-To-Gay Oscar Red Carpet duty as he's running behind at the moment.

With the Oscars just around the corner, Joan is the perfect substitute for Wade, as she is the one who leads the "fashion police" for every major awards show. And let's be honest here... the Oscars is the "crème de la crème" of awards shows!

Barbies hold a special place in my heart.  As a little girl I spent hours on end dressing mine up and creating various situations for them.  Though being grounded from watching television was quite a severe punishment I once received (the one time I was grounded) at least my Barbies weren't taken away from me.

Back then, I aspired to be a fashion designer when I got older (which probably had something to do with the fact that my parents worked in the fashion industry).  So, I would often dress my favorite Barbies in some of my "handmade creations" put together with old linens my mom gave me permission to cut-up and whatever color thread was available to me at the time.  Needless to say that over time, my desire to be a fashion designer faded away, but my love of Barbies, and fashion, never did.  These days, the Barbies I own are ones I've bought on eBay as an adult.  They remain in their original boxes packed away in a storage container that is tucked away in the far depths of a storage closet.

I don't talk much about my love of Barbies, however I can be caught on occasion strolling down the Barbie aisle at Target or Wal-Mart.  When alone, I spend more time staring at the current selection of dolls and fashions as I think back to when I was a little girl.  As I walk away, I typically think to myself, "Mine were WAY better!"

When Wade and Gary told me about their idea for this month's Go-To-Gay column, the little girl inside of me was jumping for joy and doing cartwheels!  So without further ado, "Joan" and I would like to introduce our master of this year's Barbie Oscar Red Carpet ceremonies .... Wade Rouse!!!

The writings of bestselling humorist Wade Rouse – called “wise, witty and wicked” by USA Today and the lovechild of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris – have been featured multiple times on NBC’s Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E! and His latest memoir, It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine (reviewed here) launched in paperback February 1st from Broadway, and he is creator and editor of the humorous dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL). The book features a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk, essays by such beloved chick lit authors as Jane Green, and 50 percent of the book’s net royalties go to the Humane Society of the United States. His first memoir, America's Boy, has been re-published by Magnus Books for paperback and Kindle. For more, visit his website, or friend him on Facebook or Twitter

What A Doll

Growing up, I was obsessed with books, movies and Barbies.

Not much has changed in four decades.

That trio always captured the most important artistic elements to me: Escapism, entertainment, beauty, and a way to make sense of the world.

As a child, I yearned for Barbies. I begged for them as birthday gifts and Christmas presents. But as an Ozarks boy coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s, I got BB guns, fishing poles, trains and GI Joes instead.

So, I turned to books and movies. I adored Cinderella. I loved Nancy Drew.

As I aged, I became enthralled with how the two overlapped: My favorite literary characters often became my favorite movie characters.

Scarlett O’Hara.
Bridget Jones.
Miranda Priestley.
Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon/”Election”)

As an author, I work hard to make my characters memorable. I preach to aspiring writers about the minute details that make literary characters so memorable – from dialogue to dress – be it my mother or Scarlett.

Or Barbie.

When I met my partner, Gary, we discovered that we had both been robbed in our rural childhoods. We both wanted Barbie. We both got Hot Wheels. So, the first purchase we made together as a couple was a Barbie. We marched into Target and spent hours perusing the many versions of Barbie that now existed. And yet we picked an old-school Barbie, the kind with big boobs and blonde hair and no quantifiable profession.

Over time, Gary and I began to buy more Barbies, and they became not only our makeshift posse when we traveled the US on book tours and lectures but also our alter egos.

We created Trailertrash Barbie as an homage to many of the redneck gals we knew growing up in rural America. We created Barbies after friends and fans, we created Barbies after relatives, we created Barbies from book characters.

We created bookish Barbies and beer-loving Barbies.

And, then one winter about four years ago, Gary and I were watching the Oscar Red Carpet, aka the gay Super Bowl. Suddenly, we just looked at each other without saying a word, knowing exactly what the other was thinking, sort of like twins do.

That day sparked our own annual Red Carpet tradition: We now style Barbies after the stars nominated for Oscars.

We’ve designed Meryl Barbies and Viola Davis Barbies. We’ve created Halle Berry Barbies, Reese Barbies, Bullock Barbies, J-Lo Barbies along with Joan Rivers Barbies and, of course, Lindsey Lohan Barbies (I mean, you just have to her crash the Carpet).

Our Barbie Red Carpet has grown more elaborate over the years: One of our best friends, a designer and doll insider, snags us the latest Barbie fashions. Stylists submit dresses to us. People from all over the US now beg us to do it.

Yes, it’s fun, but I’ve also learned playing with Barbies as an adult has made me an even better writer. I create memorable characters. I obsess over details. I have no fear about what people think. And I laugh, and hope that I am entertaining others, bringing some humor and light into their lives, even if for a few moments.

Books, movies and Barbies.

Not much has changed in four decades.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled. Because I’ve learned that trio still captures the most important artistic elements to me: Escapism, entertainment, beauty, and a way to make sense of the world. 

For a chance to view this year’s Barbie Red Carpet – and win a book and a Barbie (of course) – "Like" Wade Rouse's Facebook fan page  on Sunday, Februrary 24.

For more Barbie fun, and the chance to win a doll of your own, check out Cinthia Ritchie's CLC guest post.

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