A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Barbie Turns 40

Yes, it's hard to believe, but in 1999 Barbie will turn 40, just in time to greet the new century. And they've been 40 full, rich years. She began as a glamorous airline stewardess when she was introduced at Toy Fair in 1959.She soared into space as an astronaut in 1974, ran for president in 1992, and, in 1997, she bore disability bravely, folding her first-ever bending legs into a wheelchair to become a role model once again for a newly identified market.

In every incarnation, nationality, and skin tone, she's perfectly turned out,with accessories galore at her long slender fingertips. She's Everywoman, she's the Cosmo Girl, she has it all. So, what will Mattel think of next as the company meets the challenge of Barbie turning 40?

Why fight age? Why not capitalize on it in every way possible? Here are some ideas Mattel might consider for a past 40 Barbie:

Bifocals Barbie:

Comes with her own set of blended-lens fashion frames in six wild colors (half-frames too!), neck chain and large-print editions of Vogue and Martha Stewart Living.

Hot Flash Barbie:

Press Barbie's bellybutton and watch her face turn beet red while tiny drops of perspiration appear on her forehead! With hand-held fan and tiny tissues.

Facial Hair Barbie:

As Barbie's hormone levels shift, see her whiskers grow! Available with teensy tweezers and magnifying mirror.

Cook's Arms Barbie:

Hide Barbie's droopy triceps with these new, roomier-sleeved gowns. Good news on the tummy front, too: muumuus are back! Cellulite cream and loofah sponge optional.

Bunion Barbie:

Years of disco dancing in stiletto heels have definitely taken their toll on Barbie's dainty arched feet. Soothe her sores with this pumice stone and plasters, then slip on soft terry mules. Colors: pink, rose, blush.

No More Wrinkles Barbie:

Erase those pesky crow's-feet and lip lines with a tube of Skin Sparkle-Spackle, from Barbie's own line of exclusive age-blasting cosmetics.

Soccer Mom Barbie:

All that experience as a cheerleader is really paying off as Barbie dusts off her old high school megaphone to root for Babs and Ken Jr. With minivan in robin's egg blue or white, and cooler filled with doughnut holes and fruit punch.

Midlife Crisis Barbie:

Ken has a young Swedish girlfriend, so it's time to ditch Ken. Barbie needs a change, and Bruce (her personal trainer) is just what the doctor ordered, along with Prozac. They're hopping in her new red Miata and heading for the Napa Valley to open a B&B. Comes with real tape of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do."

Single Mother Barbie:

There's not much time for primping anymore! Ken's shacked up with the Swedish au pair in the Dream House and Barbie's across town with Babs and Ken Jr. in a fourth-floor walk-up. Barbie's selling off her old gowns and accessories to raise rent money. Complete garage sale kit included.

Recovery Barbie:

Too many parties have finally caught up with the ultimate party girl. Now she does 12 steps instead of dance steps! Clean and sober, she's going to meetings religiously. Comes with little copy of The Big Book and six-pack of Diet Coke.

Who knows when Barbie will have outlived her usefulness? From Dream House to Nursing Home, the possibilities and accessories are endless.

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