« How Lucky am I? | Main | Me and the Burglar »

May 11, 2009

Mr. Mannequin

Mr. Mannequin

by Harley

Last month at the grocery store, my kids wanted magazines. Since I encourage reading, no matter how far down the literary food chain the selection, I said yes. The girls picked tabloids, some Jonas Brothers-infested, grade-school equivalent of Star. My son, age 6, was torn between Scientific American and Astronomy.

My son gets overwhelmed by choices, so while he agonized, I headed to frozen foods, and didn’t see his pick until the checkout aisle. There, rolling down the conveyor belt, was Muscle & Fitness, 70th Anniversary edition, a young Arnold Schwartzenegger on the cover.3851

“Wha--what happened to Scientific American?” I squeaked as the checker scanned it, fixating on the cheesecakey pin-up girl in the upper right corner, above Arnold’s left bicep.

“I couldn’t decide,” my son explained, “so I closed my eyes and pointed and my finger picked this.”

Reluctant to return it and hold up the checkout line, (and cause a scene and create a taboo) I decided to downplay it, happy there'd been no  Hustler on Aisle 4, wedged between Good Housekeeping and Interweave Crochet. Back home, I explained why our governor has such scary arms (“it’s an old photo”) and why some girls pose for pictures with backs to camera, in underwear that doesn’t look very comfortable (“they’re earning money for graduate school.”) And after cutting out some advertisements for a collage, my son lost interest and gave me the magazine “to read.” As there were no articles examining the psyches of people wanting to become The Incredible Hulk, I recycled it.

Now, my son’s Birthday Wish List at that point was, “tickets to Japan and Africa, woolly mammoth tusk, stuffed animal, a big diamond, science equipment, shoehorn, anything from Africa, Alaska, Japan and Wyoming, books, T.J. Maxx gift card, feather duster.” But suddenly, a new item appeared: mannequin.

And took over the Number One spot.

It’s difficult to prove cause & effect, to say this was Arnold’s influence. It’s difficult too to say what’s “normal” for a first-grader. But I can tell you mannequins aren’t sold in Toys R Us, nor things his godparents will likely send for his birthday. And because this mannequin obsession has grown, stronger than last month’s sumo wrestling obsession, and because I am worn down with his entreaties, I’ve gone online.

Here’s what I found:

David: This Rootstein male mannequin is every inch a 6 foot 3 inch hunky studmuffin. He was one of our most popular rentals, but he has been worked so hard, he wants to retire from the rental business. One of his arms is not his original one. Although it fits snug in the socket, it is a little smaller than it should be. He comes on an inch thick metal stand with a support rod that goes in his calf.

Happily, my son did not want David. Nor Daryl, Julian and Thomas, all retailing at $431.00 (before shipping). He wanted “STCGE7A,” a regular guy with a 30.3 waist, 73” high, for a mere $139.95.

I haven’t added STCGE7A to my shopping cart, because that’s a lot of money for a plastic guy who does nothing, but the pressure builds. My son’s picked out a place in his bedroom for his new friend, and rearranged his furniture. Yesterday I found a note attached to a picture of STCGE7A: “I want it a lot. Mommy can you bye it.”

When my 9-year old daughter heard about this, she gasped. “Lucky. Can I have one for my next birthday?” And if you think there’s a chance his twin sister won’t want a mannequin too, once she hears about it, you don’t know my children. 

I’m starting to feel like the Munsters.

So tell me: in my shoes, what would you do?




TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Mr. Mannequin:


I'd buy one for my son (in 2nd grade) if we had room for one. I think the cost is ok and if he's going to do something intelligent with it (you know he will) I'd be ok. It'll be a great story in 5 years, either way.
I'm only awake at such a strange hour because #4 (due in August) decided sleep for the mother is unrequired from this point forward. It feels strange to be up with only Josh and Kathy. Maybe I should write something naughtier.


I lurk every day and never comment (not sure why), but I had to chime in here. I know it feels weird to buy a mannequin for your child's birthday at this age, but I would do it. He sounds like a smart, fun kid, and I agree with the previous poster that he probably has some very intelligent (and really cool) uses in mind for it.

And if it gets to that point, I'd buy them for the other kids as well. I've recently been hit up for Nintendo DS systems for my 6 and 8 year old girls, which cost about the same. Given the choice, I think I'd rather spend my money on the mannequin. Happy shopping!


The Pennsylvania Bar Institute in located in the Wanamaker Building in downtown Philadelphia--the real star of the movie, Mannequin. I've attended many CLE's there over the years and always think about the movie. I am kicking around attending a CLE there on Wednesday. Maybe I could pick up Kim Cattrall for your son. Not Kelly LeBrock, but I suppose she'll have to do.

"Is" located, not "in" located. Argh.

I actually think the mannequin is pretty cool. Harley, think investment. This could be big.

From everything I've heard, your son is very bright and cool for his age. I vote "Go for it".

If push comes to shove, STCGE7A can always "run away" if Mom decides he need to.

Would a copy of Gray's Anatomy be a better choice? I mean, less opportunity to--uh---manhandle it?

(I just looked up the spelling of Gray's Anatomy on Amazon & discovered that the paperback has fewer amateur reviews than my HOW TO MURDER A MILLIONAIRE. Not that I'm counting. Much.)

But wait----For steering your kid to become a doctor, just in case that's his angle, here is an assortment of anatomy-related, science-y toys: http://www.hungates.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=SKAnatomy

Would he be satisfied with a cardboard cutout? THhose go for about 30 bucks & take up the same amount of room. I had a Han Solo one in my office for years, until he finally gave up the ghost after too many encounters with romance writers.

Okay, I'm awake.

Kris, what did those romance writers do with the cardboard Han Solo? I'm scared to ask, yet must ask.

When the kids wake (in 38 minutes) I'll ask about cardboard. I fear the answer will be, "accept no substitutes."

If he wanted a mannequin that looks exactly like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I might be worried. :)

And Sheridan, you are so right about Nintendo DS. (which they all got for Christmas.) Good point. Mr. Mannequin is sounding cheaper by the minute.

Reverend! WHen did you get ordained? And is The Lipstick Chronicles your true ministry?

This reminds me of my favorite story as a young girl, "The Bad Times of Irma Baumlein." She fibbed and told her friends she had a 3 foot tall doll with blonde hair and "cerulean" blue eyes (I've never forgotten that word, it felt so grown up to know it as a kid!) She spotted a mannequin in a store - blonde hair, blue eyes, and STOLE IT! Madness ensued, of course. That said, any old stores where you could get a mannequin? What about a FatBoy sticker for the wall? Life sized sports figures.


Ah, poor Han. He was so sadly abused.

Let's see. He starred in a couple of Christmas programs. Posed for a whole lot of pictures. (My favorite: the inspirational author who cuddled up beside him and said, "I've got him by the blaster.") Traveled to a couple of RWA National conferences to take part in Golden Network boot-out ceremonies.

The traveling finally got to him, poor guy. All that time in suitcases left him with permanent ED.

Ask him why he wants it.

What interesting children you have, Harley.

I think I would first ask him what he wants the mannequin to do once it moves into his bedroom. It's possible that he has an idea of the thing that is very different from reality, since he's just seen a tiny photo of one.

And then if it still does come to live with you, how about some clothing and/or costumes? Pirate hat, vest and boots, for instance. Doctor's lab coat and stethoscope. Telephone lineman jumpsuit. You get the idea.

Two Ramona's on one blog? Wow, what are the chances?

Just so you can tell us apart...Harley, is there a Blond Bond mannequin available? If so, I vote yes.

There are no true blondes, Irreverent Ramona -- you have to add wigs. Which are extra.

Not that I mean to slight YOU, Reverend Ramona.

I agree that your children are very interesting, Harley. I would look at this request with relief that he's asking for a mannequin in first grade, and not 10th.

I was actually thinking that someone in The Business might be able to get you something for less than Mr. THX-1138, or whatever it is called. Didn't we have a backblogger whose spouse ran a clothing store or something like that in L.A.?

Or how about this one, which is SFW (it is completely clothed): http://www.davessurplus.com/images2/manq6.2.jpg

Or here: http://www.mannequinmadness.com/

I love the Internet. And being in job limbo.

Oh hell, Josh. Now I want one for my Birthday. That guy is cool. Do the shades come with him?

It says that it's Barack Obama. I assume that it comes fully-clothed. I don't want to know what it looks like without.

I love that your kid wants a mannequin for his birthday . . . I always told myself that the smarter the kid was, the more interesting his gift requests would be (that was easier than examining my sons' requests too closely for some underlying neurosis).

I say hell yes, buy him one.

Harley, if you notice in the photo, there is a line on the mannequin's left thigh. That is where you take his leg off to dress him. Left shoulder line break allows you to take that arm off to dress the upper half.

Could he wear any of your kids' dad's clothes?

This is a tough one, not because there's anything wrong with wanting a mannequin, but because kids who want wacky things that cost a lot but don't do anything inherently amusing tend to lose interest the moment the object is acquired. Trust me, this is the voice of experience! The Nintendo keeps on giving, but the novelty of the mannequin (or the fully working traffic light, or the taxidermied bird) wears off pretty fast once you realize you can't play with them.

Michele, you make an EXCELLENT point. My 9-year old has figured this out and we actually discuss the novelty factor and how weird it is ("before I had my bunny I wanted a bunny so much, but now it's no big deal.") (Do not tell Bunny.)

I quizzed my son on the way to school. He wants to dress the mannequin. In a blue tuxedo. Does this alter anyone's opinion?

Soooo....okay kids let's not get carried away. Mannequins are like pet rocks.
They won't die if you forget to feed them or freeze if you don't let them in on a cold winter night. Extremely low maintenance and no electricity or batteries involved. (Margie...do you have one? Let's get some information here!))
I definitely agree with clothing him in imaginative stuff. But seriously, he does need to be clothed in something.
Will he be a friend that your son will show off and share with his friends? Or will he keep him from socializing and communicating with the family?
Again...why does he want him?
I did window display in college at Mr. A's Mendelsons in Northwood Mall. Dressed mannequins on a daily basis. Stand them on their head pull off their base support and dismember them. Put on the outfit Du Jour reconnect their parts and stand them back up. No big deal or emotional attachment although I did name them and apologize if I bumped them or if it was a particularly unattractive outfit. It was like playing with dolls on a larger scale and I got paid.
Can it hurt him to have his own big non breathing brother or friend? I don't know. Any therapy folk out there in the blog with some feeling about this?
Just saying.

Perhaps it would be a good place to park clothing -- as I used to do with my Nordic Track until I sold it to someone with stamina to actually use it.
Now I'm remembering a Twilight Zone in which a mannequin came to life, but then had to return to the store to give another a turn to live. Spooky -- yes, I agree that a good talk about how it will be used would be a great idea.

Is your son prone to nightmares, Harley? If so, nix the mannequin. The shadow of a man in the corner on a dark and stormy night?

{{{insert scary laugh here}}}

Hope that this obsession dies before the end of the month? Though it looks like you're getting some good suggestions.
But can I suggest at least the stuffed animal (you know that's my specialty). Not knowing what kind but seeing "mammoth tusk" listed, would he like a nice wooly mammoth? stuffedark.com is a great shop The fiesta mammoth is out of stock but there's a good Wild Republic one

"I quizzed my son on the way to school. He wants to dress the mannequin. In a blue tuxedo."

At least he doesn't want to put him in a peacock blue beaded evening gown. (not that there's anything wrong with that...)

I think I have clearer visions of this mannequin being wrestled around his room and getting hard karate chops to the neck and swift kicks to the solar plexus than I do him standing sedately in the corner in a tux.

He won't be young much longer (I know he's only six, but seriously, it'll seem like only tomorrow when he walks out the door for college), a mannequin sounds pretty cool. And eventually he can be used as a clothes rack (much like a treadmill or stationary bicycle).

Tell his dad to pony up half and get the thing.

Save money! Go to the sex shop & buy him a blow up doll. Me, Margie can probably steer you to the right shop.

you could also use it in the car for the carpool lane!

My son is not prone to nightmares; he's an excellent sleeper. (it may have to do with being a twin, sleeping through his sister's blood-curdling screams, two inches from his ear, when they shared a crib.)

Leave it to Xena to actually have hands-on mannequin experience.

I appreciate all these diverse opinions. Keep them coming!

I think this kid would be a pal, if he lived nearby. A blue tuxedo? Now you're talking. An Easter Bunny suit, a skindiving outfit, and a chef's getup--a la Mario Butali--all alternate ideas.

Just think, instead of a Christmas tree, your kids could hang ornaments on the mannequin. This could be a really fun addition to the family, Harley.

Can you rent one? Then after the six week novelty, he could disappear?
Although he would always be an interesting conversation starter. And he could be such interesting personalities: the trench-coated spy, that pirate, the [blue] tuxedoed lounge singer (he'll need a mic in his hand), the smoking jacket/ascot/pipe 50's dad… Oooo this is fun. Maybe I should get one, too.

If a mannequin dressed in a blue tuxedo does not show up in a mystery novel soon, I will be very disappointed.

I can think of many practical uses for a mannequin. For instance, it can hold out a tray of canapes at parties. Or it can be dressed up in a police uniform and placed by a window when you are away from home.

And don't even get me started on the voodoo possibilities.

Just for the stories the kids will tell when they're grown, a mannequin would be worth the money. That would be on par with my middle daughter's "extreme sports" that her Barbie did for a while. Making memories, and encouraging kids to stretch, that's what it's all about.

Voodoo possibilities! LOL One of my recipe newsletters had a recipe for Haitian Voodoo skewers this morning. They made a voodoo doll out of bread dough (baked) & served the skewers sticking in it!
Harley, if you do buy the man., when it's time to get rid of it, just put it in the front yard & someone will steal it!

"Mannequin Memories" . . . I smell a scrapbooking project.

A dark blue tuxedo, okay. Light blue crushed velvet.... um, got to say NO to that one....

Harley, when my brother and sister and I were quite small, my folks rescued an armadillo. Why, or from what, I don't know. But the critter spent one night (that's all I remember--I was two??) scrabbling around the tub (armadillo claws CAN scrape through bathtub porcelain), and it was an unforgettable night for us kids. I'm sure it made quite an impression on the folks, too. I have no idea when or how the armadillo left, or how we felt about its leaving, I just remember we had it, and no one else we knew ever had had one or had one subsequently. Maybe the mannequin just has to visit in your son's room for a 'while'?

The blue tuxedo MUST have a frilly shirt.

Forty years ago it was G.I. Joe with the lifelike hair and the Kung Fu grip, now with the new movie coming out this summer, those G.I. Joe dolls will be worth a fortune on Ebay.

This 6'3" doll could be worth a fortune in 2039 anno domini. Yet how will this doll survive for 40 years?

I'll assume that when your boy goes off to college, you will downsize and move into a one bedroom and one bathroom apartment. Does that mean the doll will have follow him to college?
Graduate school?
Job Orientations?
Class reunions?
Dale Carnegie?
Football games?

I expect that once dear STCGE7A becomes part of the family, the children may tire of him, but I will grow more and more fond of him over time. He will have to move into that 6th floor walkup with me, once the children have fled the nest.

And no light blue crushed velvet. Thank you, William. So, so wrong.

Get him the woolly mammoth tusk and call it a day.

Well, unless it's Disco Night at your house, Harley. Then it would be okay.

Anything else, nope....

Or Hillbilly Wedding night!

I'm off to Nebraska. Please continue to dress the mannequin in my absence. Thank you.

Wait. Why not start small? What's wrong with GI Joe? No danger of nightmares, plus you don't have to buy a full-size blue tuxedo! If you buy your son a mannequin, you'll soon be investing in full-size clothes. And unless Xena moves nearby, you'll have to dig out your sewing machine, Harley, or become a regular at the thrift stores. GI Joe comes with a wardrobe that fits any budget. Here are some on eBay:


I do have a disco ball, by the way. No home should be without one.

Harley, have a good trip.

Also, a feather duster? I love this kid.

If you buy it for him and he tires of it you can always use it as a Halloween prop. Think of how cool he'd look all dressed up in a costume, standing at the front door to greet the trick or treaters. ;)

Kids can be funny sometimes.

Hi Harley, I know this is kind of late in the game, but just came across your post.

You and your son may want to check out this website, it's all in good taste, except for maybe the big Bunny, she is a little scary. You can even be friends with the mannequins on Facebook (check out Bert Strong,Private investigator, San Francisco.)


Hope you'll take a look, best wishes,

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

The Breast Cancer Site