Thought you made it through the Barbie craze unscathed? Not so fast, my friend. While no longer in the throes of full-on Barbie-Mania, the film’s glorious outfits, late-summer release date, and box-office success have kept it near enough to the zeitgeist that Halloween will likely be Barbie-heavy this year.
And while dads have never been font-and-center with Barbie-mania, there’s bound to be pressure on some dads to pull together a Ken costume this year — whether it’s from a mom who plans to replicate Margot Robbie’s Western Barbie look or a kid who wants to be the next Barbie president. And for some dads who just really don’t want to jump on the Barbie bandwagon, that pressure may fall somewhere between cajoling and coercion.
But here’s the thing: It’s just not about you. Or, to quote Ryan Gosling’s Ken, “It’s not about us, it’s about how they see themselves.”
Don’t worry about trying to replicate the nine-minute daily workout that Ryan Gosling and the other actors who played variations of Ken adopted in order to achieve perfectly chiseled abs that were no doubt accentuated with the help of Hollywood’s most talented makeup artists.
Take cues from the movie. This is your opportunity to fade into the background confidently, to play a part but not star in the leading role. Don’t have any of that Marshawn Lynch, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” attitude, but you don’t need to have so much enthusiasm that your “Kenergy” overshadows the Barbie, Barbie dog, or even the Alan, in your life. In baseball parlance, the task at hand is to hit a single, landing a nice solid “Just Ken” that sets up the rest of the team to do their thing.
If you’re down for the fun but feel a little lost at sea as to which outfit to don, there’s no need to fret.
The easiest by far is the version of Dance Montage Ken that simply requires a black T-shirt, slacks, and shoes triumvirate accented with bright pink socks.
But the most pertinent question to ask when figuring out which Ken-persona to adopt for Halloween, the most pertinent question for Ken dads is, “What can I do to make this work for you?” which is an answer that your partner will likely have a quick answer for.
Rollerblade Ken is an instantly recognizable option and probably the best of the couple’s options. But it’s probably getting buried in the closet after Halloween and may require you to sling a pair of rollerblades over your shoulder to complete the look because rollerblading along the trick-or-treat route in the dark seems like a horrible idea.
If your costume partner just wants you to incorporate the essence of Ken, you may be able to get away with a Kenough hoodie. You’ll probably get bonus points for continuing to use it as comfy evening and weekend wear around the house, and can really level up if you wear it out and about for errands or Sunday Brunch.
And there’s always evil Ken, whose mind has been poisoned by patriarchy. It’s the most fun role to embrace, and who doesn’t love a fake mink coat? But here’s the deal. It’s necessary to negotiate just how much dickish behavior will be tolerated ahead of time and whether or not riding around on an invisible horse is required, lest the whole thing go to hell in a candy basket.
Regardless of how it all shakes out, know you’re not alone. Come Halloween night, there will be enough Kens out there to fill an entire beach, and you’ll forever have an experience to bond over.