I was asked on #dollchat on Twitter last night (every Tuesday @ 9:00 pm EST! Be there!), by several people, just what it is about Rapunzel that has grabbed my doll-collecting heart so tightly. My son has more directly asked “So what’s with this big Rapunzel thing all of a sudden?”
Good question, as it seems a bit out of character for me. I’m not a girly-girl by any definition (besides biological, anyway), and the whole Disney Princess franchise annoys me no end because of the usually dreadful gender messages it sends. Yet here I am, obsessing over Rapunzel, the prototypical Damsel In Distress Locked Away in a Tower. Thus I’ve asked myself—“Yeah, so what is this ‘Rapunzel thing’ really about?”
The first obvious attraction is her hair. I have always loved long hair, and unnaturally, magically long hair is irresistible. My own hair has been waist-length (mid-back right now), and both my husband and son have long hair. I loved to play with my dolls’ hair when I was little, and I begged for a Crissy doll (that dates me, yeah?) because her hair never ran out (sorta). I was not, and never have been, attracted to dolls without hair. Molded hair? No no NO. Painted hair? HELLs no. The hair on a doll can often decide whether I’ll buy (or ask for) that doll. I’m particularly attracted to blondes and redheads, and Rapunzel is traditionally golden-haired. So there’s that.
If I dig a little deeper, psychologically…I’ll spare you the life story. Let me summarize: I grew up isolated, neglected, and with little positive emotional input from the people around me. I learned about the world from books, art, and (to some extent) television (3 channels! Wow!). Sounds a bit like our heroine, yes? There are a few frames in Disney’s “Tangled” when Rapunzel reaches the town and castle for the first time, and she turns around and says “Wow!” to Flynn with unfettered wonder. That’s exactly how I felt the first time I saw a building over 3 stories high, when I was 15. Enough said about that.
About 3 years ago, I started collecting dolls seriously. I’ve always loved dolls, and finally fully realized I wasn’t getting younger, and that for this part of my life, I wanted to play with dolls. I found TonnerDolls early on in my collecting, via Wilde Imagination and Ellowyne Wilde, largely because of three of my dearest friends who had Tonners and Ellowynes and waved them under my nose. “See the pretty? Oooh, shiny nice dollies! You know you want one!” Yeah, right—ONE! Ha!
Tonner put out their “Tangled” Rapunzel this year, and even though I hadn’t yet seen the movie, I thought that she was the most beautiful thing Tonner had ever made, including the WI dolls. She just stunned me, and Tonner hair is always so wonderful, and there was so much of it. Gimme! I didn’t buy her right away, though, because ... well, I’m not real crazy about painted eyes, truth to tell, despite that Tonner painted eyes are exquisite. I have many painted-eye Tonners. I just prefer more dimension in a doll’s eyes, some little sparkle from behind the plastic.
A little over a month ago, Jim Ash, aka Jim Dandy, well-known in doll circles for modifying doll eyes, put a Tonner Rapunzel with blue glass eyes on eBay. My jaw may actually have dropped, and I know I felt that instant, serious dolly-love that so many of you know. I had to have this particular doll. Had. To. Have. This. Very. Doll.
But I made myself sleep on it. I know, right? I was trying to cut down, I swear I was. Stop laughing.
I dreamed about the doll that night. I woke up the next morning thinking about her. After the usual morning necessities, I went to eBay to find her, and—she wasn’t there! Like an idiot, I hadn’t put her in my watch list. OMG someone else bought MY doll OMG!
I found her, after some searching, and realized she hadn’t come up on the previous search because .. Jim had spelled Rapunzel wrong in the listing. D’oh. I bought her, waited impatiently, she arrived!, and then I was afraid to open the box. Cue the “Tangled” scene in the boat—what if she wasn’t as wonderful as the pictures?
She was even better. And now she’s my Martie, who is my fashion design muse and goes with me on adventures and is just amazing. If you’ve read this blog in the last few weeks, you’ve seen her, and often.
She also became the snowball rolling down a steep hill. I finally saw “Tangled” last week on Netflix (thank you, Kevin @tonnerdoll, for the encouragement), and thought, y’know what, I’m going to indulge my ages-old Rapunzel jones.
And thus I have, and will continue to, and the results will show up here.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.