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It All Started with Allan...Ken’s “Buddy” ... Or ... How a Grown Man Started Collecting Dolls

Updated: Jan 30


Good Morning My Confidants!


It is snowy and yucky and cold outside. My husband Noah had to go to work today and he had made it there safe. RBear doesn't have to go work and I am not going to open the door (except maybe to take a photo). Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Ah, Well! The pipes aren't frozen. We finally got that heating tape, and I hope between that and leaving the cabinet open, we will be okay on that front. I am going to write about Florida beaches today. Focus on beauty and delight.


MEANWHILE....


Today I am going to be talking about how the whole doll thing started for me. Because you see, I am a grown man and I collect dolls. I love it. I love them. I love the collecting. It is one of my passions.


I’ve told this story in many ways and lengths and times on my Facebook page. How I wasn't allowed to play with dolls as a kid because "Boys don't play with dolls." But at 60+, I finally realized that I didn't know why that should stop me. I do a lot of other things I was taught boys aren't supposed to do, and they never hurt me!


But since this isn’t Facebook, I thought I should tell the story here. Today, you are getting “Chapter One,” right here at “Good Morning My Confidants!”

 

It had better be a chapter one, or this will essay will turn out to be a novel...! 


It all started (well, sort of) when someone posted a photo of a vintage ad about a doll called Allan...and how he was Ken’s “buddy!” And he could wear Ken’s “finely-tailored clothes.”


Yup, that’s what it said. He wore Ken’s clothes.


And he came wearing a rainbow beach vest.

I all but spit out my morning coffee.


Right then and there, I knew I had to have him! He was adorable. He looked completely different than Ken. He had a little pug nose. He looked out of the side of his eyes instead of Ken’s forward staring eyes. I thought... he’s looking at Ken ... sneaking a look. Because he was in love.....

 

I had to have him. I didn’t know why. But I had to! And that rainbow beach vest! But wow, finding him for less than $75 was going to be a chore.

 

For a number of weeks I searched for an Allan doll on eBay and other platforms, but he, in any kind of condition I wanted—and I wanted that rainbow beach vest!—was going to be more than I could afford on my limited disability benefits from Prudential.


That’s when I remembered my friend Mark Hughes stunning collection of Barbie dolls. He has a little Barbie Museum in Eureka Springs, AR, and while visiting a handful of friends who all lived there, I got to see his amazing collection and I was blown away.


He had hundreds of Barbies and all of her friends and they were displayed gorgeously in glass cases and I was like a little kid in...well, a toy store. I thought I would cry. I probably did. It was magic. They were in groupings, some of them in miniatures sets. They were posed. They were matched by time periods, clothing, doll types, celebrity dolls, and more. Something powerful stirred in me that day, and a lot of it had something to do with “boys don’t play with dolls.” Well, here was a man who did, at least collect them, if not play with them. Something happened...and I don’t think I understood exactly what it was until....

 

Mark saw a post of mine I put on Facebook right after Christmas bemoaning the fact that my husbands hadn’t caught the hint that I REALLY wanted an Allan doll. And the fact that I couldn’t afford him...not on my income. Well, the sweetie...he had connections and dolls he was planning on getting rid of, and with all of that, he me struck me a deal I couldn’t let slip by. What’s more, I figured if I was getting Ken’s buddy, well didn’t I need Ken as well?

 

And that was my first two dolls.


I will never forget opening that box, pulling them out, taking them out all their wrapping and ... Something...happened.

 

I don’t know how to describe it.

 

I was in awe.

 

I was holding something special. Those two dolls were almost as old as me. I wondered how many hands they had passed through. I wondered about the kids that played with them, the games they played, the secrets they’d shared with those dolls. I wondered what went through their minds when they first opened the doll’s boxes some sixty years before.

 

And then...my dolls began to...talk to me.

 

They told me that they were indeed lovers and all that Allan went through with Midge and how he’d tried to love her the way she needed to be loved, but from the moment he first saw Ken, that was it. He was in love. In love to the marrow of his bones and the depths of his soul. He wanted him so much.

 

And then one night, after a double date with Ken and Barbie, a few beers under their belts, it happened. They had awkward didn’t-know-what-they-were-doing sex. But as they lay there afterwards, they knew it was more than that. They made love.


And Ken? Ken went through so much with Barbie. He’d loved her his entire life. They met in kindergarten. But as much as he did love her, he couldn’t love her the way she wanted and deserved to be loved. Playing house as kids was one thing. Being best friends was one thing. And yes, as kids, they had sworn that they would one day get married.

 

But there had always been something missing, and he hadn’t known what it was until that night in the backseat of the big car, under the moon, by the lake.

 

They told me all of this and more in those first moments of holding them. I hadn’t even sat down yet, and something changed in me.

 

And of course, they weren’t talking. No need to call the men in the white coats. But dolls are magical. Powerful. And it was through those two little guys that my imagination was able to speak once more.

 

For two years I hadn’t been able to write. It was killing me. And in five minutes I was coming up with stories again. JUST LIKE THAT. Those two dolls opened a world of imagination to me. And I am sure it was the same door that had been opened to so many kids before me. These dolls were speaking to the kid inside of me.

 

Two days later I bought two more dolls at a local Walmart. My guys needed friends, right? I shared all these and readers helped me come up with names.

 

I had no idea I was in hook line and sinker...and going to love every minute....

 

To be continued my friends.

Namasté,

BG “Gentle Ben” Thomas

Jan 9, 2024, Entry #009


PS: In a world full of Kens, be an Allan. I like that. Kinda says something about me and my dolls. In a world full of men too afraid to be who they really want to be, I'm a man who collects dolls. I love it!


Hey! If you would like that fabulous Allan coffee cup, you can get it on Etsy through Shaken or Stirred Tees


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10 Σχόλια


I'm so glad that all these sweet dolls have got your imagination going again. My sister and I played with Barbie and Ken when we were young and Barbie was new. By the time Midge and all the others arrived, we were "too old for dolls." I feel sad that I don't even know where my Barbie went.


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B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
16 Φεβ
Απάντηση σε

I wish you knew as well. Maybe you can find a new one today? A lot of people started doing that after the movie. They found getting just one or two quite comforting! <3


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Πελάτης
09 Ιαν

I love seeing your dolls and hearing the stories!

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B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
16 Φεβ
Απάντηση σε

Thank you!

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Πελάτης
09 Ιαν

My dolls were gotten rid of because I was “too old to play with dolls”. I didn’t make up stories, but loved to create whole environments for them. We called them set ups, but they were dioramas. You, dear friend, have inspired Me to play around with dioramas again. I will share photos later as I am still in my vision board stage.

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B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
16 Φεβ
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I can't wait!


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I'm glad you are writing again. Also, thank you for the inspiration. Once my entire crew is ready, I'll be sharing pictures of all the dolls I now have.

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B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
16 Φεβ
Απάντηση σε

Looking forward to it!

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Will Jones
Will Jones
09 Ιαν

Glad this helped you get back to writing!

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B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
16 Φεβ
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Thank you

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