Women of a certain age probably remember playing with paper dolls when they were children, but I'm guessing that most of my (two or three) male readers never had that experience. For the men's benefit, I'll explain:
Paper dolls usually came (do they still?) in a booklet that included two or three human figures to be punched out of cardboard, plus several pages of paper clothing to be cut out with scissors and hung by folded tabs from the shoulders of the cardboard people. All the dolls in a particular booklet would have similarly painted features and be of approximately the same size. It was easy to believe they were friends or family members.
I loved paper dolls when I was a kid, and I owned several sets of them. The problem was that the sets weren't interchangeable. Even though I had lots of paper dolls, I could never pretend to host a large gathering, because the people from different sets didn't go together. For example, there might have been a set of little-girl dolls who were ten inches tall and proportionately wide, and the adult glamour girls in another set might have been only eight inches tall. There was no way to pretend the glamour girls were the mothers of the little-girl paper dolls. I had a good imagination, but not that good.
I've been thinking about this because sometimes I see real people with other real people who look like they belong to different sets. Do you know what I mean?
For example, if I see a very tall, skinny woman walking with a really short, round man, I think, ah, different sets. Or if I see a well-groomed, professionally manicured woman wearing a business suit, I'd never guess that the guy wearing overalls across the room is her husband. In my mind, her husband would be wearing a coat and tie. Hip-hop artists and country singers don't seem to me like they go together, and yet there they are, at the Grammy awards, all getting along.
The good news is that even as I notice the differences in people, even as my paper-doll-influenced mind sorts and categorizes them into sets, I've outgrown the idea that the sets shouldn't mingle. As an adult, I've learned that a gathering of people "from different sets" can be much more interesting than a group of people who are all just alike. It's diversity, it's a good thing, and I'm glad to see most of the world making progress in that direction.
Although, to be honest, I'd still have a hard time putting those eight-inch glamour girls with the ten-inch giant children.