He Said, She Said: Guide to Relationships

Every good relationship has two sides. The bad ones tend to have one side (i.e. YOU'RE right, THEY'RE wrong). This is a story of a young couple finding their way and keeping their voice(s) while exploring the joys and woes of dating, love and travel.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

An American Girl Haunting


I have a confession to make. I am terrified of American Girl Place. I'm not proud of this, but admitting my fear is the first step towards recovery. For all my remaining years, I will never set foot inside another American Girl Place. I am convinced it's an evil place to brainwash young girls and their Moms.

My story begins over the summer. I went to meet GIRLFRIEND and some of her family friends who were visiting in town. Among them was a 7 year old girl I'll refer to as "BratGirl." BratGirl is the very definition of your typical American spoiled, obnoxious, whiny little girl.

No matter what you bought her, BratGirl always wanted more. She would pout and whine in high-pitched voice I'm convinced only dogs and myself could hear. Worse still, BratGirl always seemed to get what she wanted. There'd be moments when I could take no more and wished a runaway stroller would fling itself at her... and she'd be promptly rewarded with an ice cream. It seemed the louder she whined, the more she was rewarded. I blame BratGirl for my introduction to American Girl.

I was supposed to meet GIRLFRIEND, her friends and the visiting BratGirl there on a random Sunday morning. I walked the short distance and stood outside the entrance glancing up at the big sign. It wasn't far from my work and just down the street from the Chicago El stop. But I had never noticed this store before. I must have walked by it every day on my way to work. "Strange," I thought as I stood outside stuck in my head. The doors spilled open and dozens of Daughters and Moms knocked me aside. That should have been a sign to stay away.

The front entrance was huge and the walls were lined with customized dolls of every ethnicity and every era (Wild Wild West doll, Geisha doll, Hippie 60s doll, caveman doll, etc.) lining the walls. I scanned the crowd and realized GIRLFRIEND wasn't here. Damn. I had to go deeper inside this strange place.

So I took the elevator upstairs. Apparently, one floor can't hold all the dolls in the world. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed that many Daughters in the store were dressed exactly as their Moms. That would be odd under normal circumstances, but what sent a shiver down my spine was that each girl carried a doll... dressed in identical clothes. In some instances, you had Moms, Daughters and Dolls all dressed alike. I kid you not. And best (or worst) of all, there was a sit-down bar where you could take hair braiding lessons. There I found Daughters braiding their dolls hair while their Moms stood behind braiding their daughter's hair.

I stood there for a long while mesmerized by this Americanized craziness. Once I came to my senses, I fled. Goodbye BratGirl. Here's hoping you never visit us again.

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