29 going on . . .?It's no secret that non-human animals envy our ability to accessorize. Not long after homo habilis conceived the earliest tools, Mrs. Homo Habilis was sporting the original bling and full-length pelts.
Last night, Jason and I went to Bembe in Brooklyn. He recently got a spot spinning records there and our friend, Nnadi, is the bartender. We have to ride three trains to get to that section of Williamsburg and we were running about 10 seconds behind the schedule of the subways so there was a lot of running towards a leaving train. We just caught the F and as I stood in the doorway catching my breath, I noticed immediately that there was something different about this car.
It was rush hour, but the mood was genial and quiet. The air smelled like baby powder and new plastic. I looked around and saw that half the car was occupied by little girls, all about 5-8 years old. Most wore dresses and had their hair tucked neatly behind their ears or pulled back in curly ponytails. They all also had dolls who sported the same neat dresses as their owners. These were American Girl girls.
If you do not yet know about the American Girl doll phenomenon, you will. This franchise sells dolls that little girls can customize to look just like them. They sell matching outfits so little girls (and their moms as well) can match their dolls. The stores double as cafes where little girls can have very expensive tea parties. They also have a doll salon for doll hair emergencies.
As I scanned the crowd of young girls chatting happily, I spotted a flash of hot pink and lime green. Upon closer inspection, I saw that this blip of neon color was actually a pair of pink sneakers decorated with fluorescent green laces. I pointed this out to Jason who just shook his head and smirked. You see, I own the same pair of sneakers.
These shoes were a purchase I made for this past New Year's celebration. The theme of Florent's party was "1985" and nothing says 1980's like glow-in-the-dark accessories. I really wanted to get a picture of this little girl and her tres fashionable sneakers, but I hesitated.
As we left the F train to run and catch the JMZ, I thought about an episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie et al. are confronted by a trio of born in Manhattan pre-teens wearing outfits not unlike their own. Decked in skin-tight leopard pants and carrying Hermes purses, it was difficult to tell if the girls were trying to dress like grown women or the other way around. Seeing a little girl in shoes that sit in my own closet certainly gave me pause. Oddly, instead of feeling closer to this small version of myself, I felt further away. I was hit with a realization that I would never again be a little girl dressing like the older women I looked up to.
In a few weeks, the first of my best friends is taking the leap into our 30's. Think what you will about getting older, but you will still see us traipsing around the city in bold colors and covered in glittery dust. It's not about recapturing lost youth. It's just a matter of running with time and hoping to never catch up.
This is the Marisol American Girl Doll. She has caused a lot of controversy an only my namesake could do.