I'm six foot three, two hundred some odd hairy pounds, and I've bright red painted toenails. This incongruity was good for a laugh when I showed my friends, and so, I did. After pleasantries, toes would need some air, and the raised brows would get the back story: My dear, hip, youngish grandmother Jill had given me a pedicure for my birthday over a month ago. She'd counseled me to ask for Cathy, whom she'd found to be bright, and beautiful and married. Feet were dragged, but after a fashion found themselves bathing in a warm, bubbly bath just for them. Cathy was way babe, and she'd made no discernible gak of revulsion; this was fine. She chatted breezily, doing her thing. Clippers, wooden chisels, files, lotions... oh the lotions. It was heavenly. She got to the point where she'd typically apply polish and queried me about my preference; " some guys opt out or get clear." I was delirious with pleasure. "In for a penny", I said, "Give me the brightest red you've got". So when I showed and told lady friends of my new fondness for pedicures (and Jill), they thought it all fun and funny, and maybe sexy, too. Emboldened, I showed some guys, too. Sometimes even in groups. It was all cool. I was cool.
Monday came, and first thing, I went to the gym. Oh oh. After the workout, I'd occasion to be naked in the locker room with men. Some I knew, sort of. I opted for the pre-emptive strike. "All right, you homophobic xyz's, I don't want to hear it about twinkle toes. There's a reason." I told them the back story, emphasizing the beautiful woman. Cool, right? Subsequent days, though, different guys. No chance for inoculation, no foreknowledge of the back story. The toes came out, and a pall fell. The change in the room was palpable. It sucked. I really didn't like it one bit.
I grew up white and straight in ruralish Maine, so any empathy I've felt for discriminated classes was purely intellectual. My sensitive nature, and all. Now, I felt a visceral kind of empathy for the first time. It was just some red frikken toenails.
4 years ago