When I was about ten years old, I received a Mod Hair Ken doll for Christmas. Mod Hair Ken, Barbie’s macho boyfriend and one of the 1970’s most-hyped dolls, came with stick-on facial hair. There were mustaches, beards, sideburns, mutton chops, Fu Manchus.
The little — and I mean little — hairpieces could be applied, removed, and reapplied only once or twice before the adhesive became less sticky. Then the pieces fell off Ken’s face onto the carpet as I carried him around. Then my mother accidentally vacuumed up the tiny pieces of fake hair because she thought they were tufts of cat fur or brownie crumbs. With his hair hopelessly lost in the vacuum cleaner, my Mod Hair Ken suddenly became just a regular Ken.
I had really wanted a Mod Hair Ken, but without those little pieces of hair, what was the point? Exactly two hours after unwrapping the doll, I threw him into my Barbie box and moved on to other things.