Many reasons. I always liked them, and wanted them as a boy. However to the point about them in my adult life. It was was the Great AIDS Pandemic.
The dolls became a life-line during the long AIDS Pandemic. Although we didn't know for a long while that's what we were all in.
All we knew was our friends, and family were dying all around us.
Cutting to the chase... My generation of gleeful Queers was rather like the WW1 generation. The young men of Europe exterminated for nothing.
1914~1918 the first act of the Second Hundred Years War.
That war known as WW1 was, and is for me the barometer of how just how far into madness we will allow ourselves to go. Quite far as it turns out.
AIDS was the mass killer that no-one at least in the USA would talk about in it's early years. The Government was silent even the the Gay Press hardly said a word...mostly from ignorance, and confusion.
All we knew was that a growing number our dearest friends were dead or dying. Hence my WW1 Trench feeling about it all. It seemed that every week there was a funeral for someone I knew. That or someone in my social circle close or far, but there they were...dead.
WW1 wives had their children or their parents. We had no one. Officially it wasn't even happening. That's something younger folks don't know or don't know how to internalize.
We were so alone in those years.
Someone should write a book if they haven't already. I have a fear that this may be lost. There 'should' be an oral or video history being made while most of us that lived these events are still around..
When the last of us Queer/Hippie/Peaceniks go that History will go too. Or worse survive as the ridiculous cartoon distortions that are too common today.
'But to the dolls.
While care-giving for a friend's friend, Bob, my serious doll thing evolved.
He as it happened Bob had a suppressed his love for them sweet little folks. The usual story..beaten by his father for showing Sissy traits..caught with his sister's dolls. It was bad. He was made to suffer.
Stupid Father's are so often the villains in these stories.
I would say there should be a special place in one of them ironic "Twilight Zone" Hell's for them...but I don't believe in Hell. Okay if the abusive father decides to re-incarnate it will have to be as a colorful singing Drag Queen with his own program on "Showtime"...that ought to do it.
Evens the Karma out.
Anyway I went over to Kmart or was it Woolworth's. Well one of them, and I got him three Barbie dolls..with a few costume changes.
He loved it!
So on many visits I brought a doll with me. They got fancier, and more expensive as time went on. I was becoming an informed shopper. After a time though I noticed the dolls were not being opened. They were beginning to pile up.
He was just too weak too forgetful.
When he passed, when Bob finally passed. All the dolls were given away to a local Day Care.
There is no "After Action Report" not for any of it. It came upon us it happened it ended. You know I've never actually sat down, and counted up all the dead I knew.
However the Dolls continued. Stand-in characters for the dead. So for those that have wondered that's where my "Doll Thing" comes from.
They are surrogates for the lost.
I never replaced my friends...how does one 'replace' a dear friend? So often people in wanting to be kind have said that "replacing" thing to me.
...it can't be done.
Well I did, but I took Barbie with me.
( I wrote this a few years ago. just came across it...thought it deserved another posting.)