Joey Wants A Doll (or "Heart's Desire: Part 2")
Remember this? Marlo Thomas' Free To Be You and Me? This was a watershed moment for a generation of "sensitive" boys. Specifically, this lil ole' video. "William Wants A Doll".
I saw it in the middle of Miss Duggar's home room in fifth grade. All the kids were crowded around the t.v. watching the story of William and his doll, and how much he wants it. Thank the Lord for the grandma who finally comes along and gives him what he wants. Every future gay boy (or doll loving straight boy) know sit's not Father, but Grandma who knows best. Yes. I wanted a doll. But not just any old doll. Not Barbie. She was too frivolous. The doll I wanted, I had been dreaming of since I was three years old. It was my holy grail, my maltese falcon, my Red Ryder BB gun. You may remember it from my last post. It looked a little something like this:
I'd finally come to realize I wasn't going to get my hands on the Emerald City Playset (that would come later) but if I could just get my hands on a plastic version of my teen-aged fairy godmother, then surely everything would be alright and I would never want again. I just wanted to be close to my dream girl, and the only way I was going to do that was by getting my little hands on that little idol, the "golden calf" that MGM had tempted me into loving wholeheartedly.
Years went by. Mego stopped making the dolls. No matter, because there were dealers who could still get their hands on them and send them your way. For the right price. That price, back in the mid-eighties, was thirty dollars, and in an art imitates life moment my grandmother sent me a check for Christmas so I could "get myself something special". I immediately called my dealer, her name was Elaine, and ordered the doll who owned a mail-order business that specialized in (get ready) Garlandia. I was twelve.
I played sick on the day it was set to be delivered so I could lay my hands on it as soon as was possible. The next day I brought it to school and showed it to my best friend as we sat in the back row of math class. He and I had watched "Oz" together several times, so I knew he was safe. And yet, after looking at it he said... "Hey guys, look what Joe has!"
I got a sickening feeling in my stomach. My chest churned. Holy shit, no! Betrayal. I quickly shoved Dorothy in my worn out green back pack as I cursed myself for bringing my dirty little secret into the belly of the beast. It was a doll! Of course it was. It was no fucking action figure, no matter how little it was. No matter that it didn't come with multiple outfits. It was a god dammed doll, and no matter what Marlo Thomas or some sweet cartoon grandmother said, I had violated the sacred kid rule by owning and loving it! What the fuck was I gonna do???
The answer was...nothing. No heads turned to scoff and laugh, and scold. The class went on as if he'd said nothing. As a kid who ate Smurfberry during school lunches, Wes was nearly as low on the middle school hierarchy as I was. And after all, it hadn't said it very loud, so for the moment, my secret was safe. Safe until I would feel strong enough to let it out on my own.
So what's the lesson here? I guess it's this. Parents, you will not be able to change your kids. They are who they are, and they want what they want. In fact, those things they are denied will become fetish objects that they will gleefully rub and touch in the back row of their math class when they are sure no one else is looking. Is that what you want? Is it?