The most prevalent toy line from my childhood has to be My Little Ponies. When I was a preschool girl growing up in Allentown I used to skip the rail separating the porch on my row home from my neighbor's and hang out on her side playing My Little Ponies until the sun went down. They'd tap around trying on various hats and saddles, practicing dance routines, and getting their hair braided. I didn't know the difference between the real ponies and the bootleg ones, but I knew I liked the ones with sparkly hair and shimmery eyes. Later in my elementary years I even swapped a couple ponies with my friends, and landed myself an extremely shiny Star Dance, covered in glittery hearts, sparkly hair, and even a dangly earring.
I'd like to think there's more people with boxes of toys stashed away they can't dispose of for nothing more than sentimental reasons. But, I still believe the vast majority of these boxes have been shuffled off in garage sales and Goodwills around the country. My box of miscellaneous treasure is still in tact, and even includes most of my original My Little Ponies, some still sporting their custom haircuts and nail jobs.
Curly Locks here is a special Brush n' Grow Pony, and the reason she's special isn't simply the length of her hair. You can pull her hair out of her heiny and crack her neck repeatedly for it to retract back in. At least, you could if her hair wasn't such a completely matted mess from years of brushing neglect. But, this makes her a prime candidate to test out some tips that were handed down to me to give old Ponies a better 'do.
The first step is to give them a good brushing. Since this is a vintage pony, I held onto her hair as close to the root as I could to prevent ripping the strands out. I couldn't find any old MLP brushes, so I used a standard run-of-the-mill human hairbrush and gently went through her mane and tail. I moistened the brush a little to make it easier to manage.
After that I ran a curling iron slowly down segments of slightly wet hair. I don't use a curling iron on my own hair, so this Little Pony was fairly lucky she didn't get singed. At this point I was glad that I wet the brush before using it on her, because I vaguely remember trying to style my dolls and ponies with an enormous bottle of Dep hair gel I obtained after my the little bottle that came with Totally Hair Barbie ran out.
Hubba hubba. Curly Locks is looking ages better with a little love and care. To clean it up, I snipped the very ends of her hair with a sharp hair scissors to remove loose stretched strands. Her hair now cranks in and out as smooth as buttah.
To top it all off, I removed some excess dirt and blotches of nail polish still stuck on her by rubbing them with a Tide To Go pen. I picked this trick up when I used one to spot clean my Rainbow Brite doll. They're more potent than soap and water, but won't effect the original paint job. I've heard some Pony fans use non-acetone nail polish remover, but I didn't have any on hand.
I want to find out more about the vast world of My Little Pony collecting. You look at them from a distance and think it's all rainbows, bubbles and cute tiny brushes, but there's encyclopedias worth of My Little Pony information that are growing every day. One look at the Wiki and you can even find out what exact pony plush is being shown in the trailer of the 2007 Transformers movie. If that's not a show of hardcore dedication to the fandom, you can kiss my pink sugar ass.