The Bizarre Language & Psychology Of CollectorsS

Today's Washington Post has a piece about the "box debate" at the recent National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention. You would not believe some of the sentences that come out of these people's mouths!

A few examples:

"For me the box makes the doll, too. It's just part of what she is… I love to see them in their natural state, and to me it's in a box."

"I won't buy a damaged box with a corner smashed in. Unless I really want it that bad."

"You look at the box corners. You make sure there's no marks, no tears, no wear."

Maybe I'm sick in the head, but the first thing that came to mind was: Replace "box" with vagina. They sound like dudes who want virgins.

The second thing that came to mind? It's a doll! Designed to be played with. Isn't it sort of sad to keep this thing from its destiny?

According to the Post, not all collectors are pro-box: One convention attendee wore a pin which read "Debox! Debox! Debox!" She explains: "I collect them because I love them and I don't plan on reselling them. You can't appreciate the full gown or the detail of the cloth [when it's] in the box."

This makes sense to me, but then again, I'm not a true collector. Ever-so-briefly, I bought lunchboxes whenever I saw them; then typewriters — and had small collections. But it never interested me to have any item in new, pristine, perfect condition. I liked digging around in junky stores and finding relics with remnants of their past life still clinging to them: Someone's name scribbled inside a lunchbox; a well-used, scratched-up Smith-Corona that might have been used for poetry or paperwork. But I've long since abandoned the hunt.

But collecting seems so anal, so regimented, so involved, that it's tough to understand where the pleasure comes in — especially if you're not even touching your precious Barbies.

On the other hand, I lean toward having a clutter problem and I definitely get how intricately linked possessions and personality can be. But I recently got rid of a lot of crap, and I'm trying to (ahem) think outside the box.

At Barbie Confab, Sometimes The Box Open Only To Debate [WaPo]

[Image via nicolenicole's Flickr]