“I was completely, blissfully ignorant of the [American Girl] phenomenon until I met my wife, who made AG part of our courtship. A few months after we started living together, she asked if I wanted to tag along on a business trip to Chicago, which happened to be one of the three cities with an American Girl Place — an emporium for the dolls, each with its own ‘doll hospital,’ tearoom and theatre.
“Childless, we toured the store, and sat in the fuschia-striped tearoom eating tiny sandwiches and drinking little cups of herbal tea while getting the hairy eyeball from the moms in the room who were justifiably dubious about this childless couple in their midst.
“My wife admitted years later that this outing was a test of my fatherhood potential, which I would have failed had I shown symptoms of a full-blown anxiety attack.”
I love Chicago and have been to the AG Store, it is a phenomenon.