It seems there is this “issue” about pink toenails. There’s even a facebook page now, with an event promoting something called “Pink Toenail Sunday,” which is going to happen on May 1st.
So in honor of “Pink Toenail Sunday,” I’m posting excerpts from my short story, “I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.” It’s a short story from a ravenous romance anthology, where the main character has this harmless little fetish for painting his toenails “tipsy pink.” And I thought it would be perfect in honor of “Pink Toenail Sunday.”
Here’s an excerpt from the beginning, so you can see what I mean about the “tipsy pink” toenail polish.
On Christmas Eve, Dennis crossed to the cosmetics counter in Macy’s to buy a last minute gift for his sister-in-law, Doloretta. She was spending the holidays in New York with Dennis and his partner, Mario. Dennis and Mario weren’t legally married, and she wasn’t officially his sister-in-law. But he’d always referred to her this way.
They had already bought presents for Doloretta, but Dennis wanted to give her something special; just from him. And he wanted it to be something pretty and feminine and girly. She’d recently gone through a bad divorce and he’d noticed that she’d lost incentive. She’d been in New York for over a week and she’d spent most of her time in the house watching their ten year old twin girls. It looked as if she hadn’t had her thick black hair styled in months. And she’d lost so much weight since he’d seen her last her clothes drooped from her shoulders.
Dennis figured an expensive bottle of perfume might make her smile. After Christmas, he was planning to take her to his favorite salon for a complete makeover. She was the only family Mario had left, and Dennis loved her as much as he loved his own sister.
But when he reached the cosmetics counter, something else caught his eye. He stopped and stared; his eyebrows furrowed and he rubbed his chin. Beside a small white Christmas tree that had been decorated with gold ornaments, there was a flashy nail polish display. The display shelves were a bright, gilded material, with sliver sparkles and dots of platinum. The gold shelves were lined with small bottles of nail polish, and all the bottles were shaped like delicate little pears. At the top of each bottle, there were two thin gold metal leaves. The silver sign above the display read, “Blushing Pearls of Pink, For the Softer Side of You.”
Dennis looked to the left and looked to the right, then he lifted a bottle of nail polish and pressed his lips together. Even though the display was garish, the bottle itself was simple and had been done in good taste. He turned the bottle upside down and read the label. This particular shade was called, “Embraceable Blush.” He turned it around again and smiled; his face felt hot and flushed and his pants felt tighter. Holding this small bottle of nail polish reminded him of his early days with Mario. This was before they’d adopted twins, had full time careers, and monthly mortgage payments on a Brownstone in Brooklyn.
He returned the bottle to the shelf and reached for another. He turned it upside down and read the bottom. This one was called, “Tipsy Pink.” When he shook it a few times, he noticed the color was the most unusual shade of pale pink he’d ever seen. It reminded him of a combination of the notepad he had at home in a kitchen drawer and the bottle of his favorite fabric softener, with flecks of platinum and subtle white sparkles.
While he was staring at the bottle, someone said, “It’s just gorgeous, isn’t it. It’s my favorite shade in the collection.”
Dennis looked up and blinked. There was a thin young man on the other side of the counter smiling at him. He spoke with a heavy lisp and batted his eyelids too much. He was wearing a white shirt, a pink tie, and black dress slacks. His bleached hair had been combed up on both sides to form a slick, blunt wedge at the top of his head. There was a diamond in his left ear and a sliver bolt through his nose. His eyebrows had been plucked into dramatic arches and his entire face glistened with silver sparkles.
Dennis jerked his head and said, “It’s very nice.” He had a full erection in his jeans by then and he was glad he’d worn a waist length coat that day.
The young man smiled and said, “I love this shade so much I bought it with my employee discount last week and I’m wearing it on my toes right now.”
Dennis blinked again. He put the bottle down on the counter and rubbed his jaw, wondering why this sort of thing always seemed to happen to him. People were forever telling him the most intimate details about themselves. He smiled and said, “Ah well, isn’t that nice.” Though he was openly gay himself, and had been since he was in college, he was never quite sure how to react to an overly effeminate gay man. They always seemed to expect more from him than he could give. But he didn’t have their sense of wit; he didn’t know how to banter with campy quips. Dennis had always been conservative and quiet. He didn’t use female pronouns with his male friends and he didn’t refer to other gay men as “sister” and “girlfriend.” He didn’t think there was anything wrong with gay men who did this. But it didn’t feel comfortable to him.
The young guy stepped back and lifted his leg. He rested it on top of a stool and said, “Do you want to see how it looks. I can take my shoes off and show you.”