Of dolls and butchery

17 February 2011

“Is that a Betsy-Wetsy Doll?” inquired the lilac clad old lady behind the counter at Save The Children shop as I placed the object on the counter.  “Er….” I replied. I must confess that I really hadn’t checked out its credentials – just thought its ears were the perfect size and colour for one of my canvas box things.  She pulled down the nappy and showed me that it was indeed a Betsy Wetsy Doll – one of those things you feed water to, then squish its tummy to make it cry and wee.

She remarked on its life-likeness as she cradled it, then held it up to her shoulder, rubbing its back and talked a bit about her grand-daughter.  I made polite noises, but didn’t invent a daughter or niece to normalize the transaction.  She still said “I’m glad it’s going to a good home” as I shoved the doll headfirst into my bag with my leather-gloved hands.  I felt terribly Cruella as I turned heel in my two-tone brogues and exited the shop quick-smart.

I slunk home like  a wicked step-mother, wondering if she’d have refused to sell it to me if I told her it was destined for my art table which currently looks like a crime scene waiting for the doll police to investigate.  And then I got to thinking – what is most cruel – squishing its tummy to make it cry real tears and then when you’ve outgrown it, giving it to a second hand shop.  Or, transforming it – nay immortalizing it as art.  This dear reader, is how I plucked out the seeds of guilt the lilac clad old lady in the Save the Children shop had sewn in my head.  I still haven’t taken it out of my bag yet.  And by the way, it is a she.