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Charleston Barbies; coming to an inbox near you

There's an e-mail making the rounds at the moment with the subject line "Charleston Area Barbies." I've received it twice and laughed just as hard the second time as I did the first. With tongue lodged firmly in cheek, it declares that "Mattel has recently announced the release of limited-edition Barbie dolls for the Charleston, South Carolina, market" and then goes on to outline a whole host of "new" Barbies -- and their cohorts and accessories -- who hail from South of Broad to Goose Creek.

Now, you might read this and say, "Oh, come on, is perpetuating all those tired old Charleston stereotypes really that funny?"

To which I would answer, "Hell yes, it is."

First there's the SOB Barbie, a blonde vision with a closetful of expensive locally-made couture, whose other token accoutrements include a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey, and -- depending which version you splash out on -- a bonus workaholic Ken.

More of a Mt. Pleasant girl? You might like I'On Barbie, who comes equipped with her own Starbucks coffee cup, credit card, and tennis club membership. And then there's East of the Cooper Barbie, whose gym outfit coordinates perfectly with her Ford Winstar minivan -- and the cellphone that's permanently attached to her ear.

Folly Beach Barbie, it is revealed, is "made of actual tofu" and would rather go by the moniker "Willow," if it's all the same to you.

Citadel Mall Barbie is sold with her own Meth Lab Kit. She is also, hilariously, "only available after dark, and must be paid for in cash, preferably small, untraceable bills. Unless you're a cop, then we don't know what you're talking about."

It is, however, the trifecta of Goose Creek Barbie, Leeds Avenue Barbie, and North Charleston Barbie who I'd like to see make it into Toys "R" Us one day. The former apparently comes equipped with a NASCAR T-shirt, too-tight jeans, a Tweety Bird tattoo on her shoulder, and a six-pack of Bud Light. She may be a plastic mannequin, but she'll kick your butt from here to Texas. Hell, she's had plenty of practice -- when her own be-mulleted Ken couldn't produce the goods, so the story goes, she put the moves on Leeds Avenue Barbie's beer-gutted man (also named Ken; what are the odds?) before facing down the irate LAB herself in all her tobacco-chewing glory. Hey, don't blame her, it was North Charleston Barbie's idea. Her own Ken split before the question of a paternity suit arose.

Who makes these e-mails up? And do they need a new best friend? When you're constantly deluged with a stream of forwards filled with cuddly puppies and kittens that urge you to "make a wish" and "forward this to 87 of your closest friends," this type of candid, say-it-straight mass-forward is pleasantly refreshing. We all know not to take it seriously, don't we?

A word to Mattel, though: I'd like to see a Daniel Island Barbie brought into the mix for next year's collection. She can come with four Barbie dreamhouses and a key to the bathroom at Blackbaud.

Holly Burns used to cut the hair off of all her Barbies. Find her on the web at www.nothingbutbonfires.com.


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