Earlier in October, Hotels.com released a bit of nostalgia sponcon in the form of a pop-up apartment in Downtown Los Angeles decorated exactly like the Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper of my ‘90s child dreams. As an adult, the experience now looks like a bizarre acid trip complete with a shower stall that appears to be occupied by wallpaper featuring two dolphins fucking. Not to be outdone, Airbnb and Barbie have rolled a perhaps more tasteful and grownup, but also disturbingly astringent, Barbie Dreamhouse experience.
According to Barbie Media, “Global icon Barbie has become an Airbnb host and will list her Malibu Dreamhouse later this month, adding to her extensive list of firsts. Located in the heart of Malibu, the fabulous life-size Dreamhouse will be available for booking for four guests for a one-time, two-night stay on October 23.” And by the looks of her house, Barbie is now a successful, newly divorced elder millennial who has recently followed Wayfair on Instagram and re-decorated her home accordingly.
Unlike the original Malibu Dreamhouse, which featured hot pink French doors, a widow’s walk with a single, brazenly lavender Adirondack chair, and a stunning magenta refrigerator, this iteration is just a California-standard concrete block mansion, just like Barbie would own if she grew up to run a subscription box startup and had recently split from Ken after years of quietly growing apart.
Guests can sip rosé in Barbara’s sterile, stainless-steel kitchen perched atop her halfheartedly pink barstools—not missing Ken, exactly, but missing the feeling of Ken, you know? The cookware is unused. The refrigerator is empty, save for a small container of almond milk.
Squat and crunch endlessly with her pink kettlebell and yoga ball. These are fun, right? Exercise is self-care, especially when the equipment is whimsical. Keep squatting and crunching until your body aches but your mind is quiet.
Practice art therapy in your sunlight-filled studio like your life coach suggested. The beach you paint is empty, but that simply means it is open to possibility.
Invite Skipper and her convertible full of much-younger friends for a pool party. Laugh too loudly at pop culture references you do not quite understand. Pick the lounge chair furthest from the speakers and swipe through dating apps when the conversation seems to exclude you, which is often. Post a Story featuring the sunset glinting gold off the surface of the ocean beyond the saltwater pool. Caption it “Perfect ending to a perfect day,” hit refresh 20 times because the attention feels like company.
Just after you swallow your Ambien, stand in front of your full-length mirror in your shimmering turquoise lamé onesie and astronaut’s helmet. Who even are you Barbara? Is it who you wanted to be?
Wake before dawn in a panic beneath your tasteful yet trendy sunburst mirror. Did you text Ken or was that a dream? You did not. Check your Story views. Feel comforted by the number. Fall back into a grateful half-doze for the few grey-ish hours just before sunrise, your alarm, and another day.