Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pink Toenails

(originally posted May 16, 2011)

Fox News is a silly thing. I tend to ignore it more often than not. To me that entertainment network has equal journalistic credentials as the Weekly World News. And while the Weekly World News may tell me that the Loch Ness Monster’s third cousin is living in an abandoned UFO at the bottom of a lake in Minnesota with the brain of Hitler in a jar that gives prophecies in the form of pie recipes what I WONT find is the kind of crazy Fox News puts forth.

Recently there was an ad put forth by J Crew that showed their Creative Director, Jenna Lyons painting her son’s toenails a bright pink. In the picture you can see a nice, tender, loving and fun moment shared between mother and son. That there is reaction beyond that is surprising to me. But oh boy is there. Fox News leads the charge of course, but they are not alone. Without pointing too many fingers (I only have ten after all and that’s simply not enough) I have to say that the very idea that such an act can lead to years of psychotherapy or are the genesis for gender identity issues is small-minded at best and dangerous at worst.

I’m not saying that little boys go put on dresses or little girls go pick up a toy gun. All I’m saying, if they’re young and they want to why not? It is not the gender roles imposed on us by millennia of culture and society that make us who we are. And to say that cosmetics or fashion is a harbinger of a societal shift towards a liberal “celebration of transgendered children” (ahem “Dr.” Keith I’m looking at you) is silly and shows ignorance of history. Centuries ago it was the men that were as peacocks with tons of make-up and incredibly elaborate clothing. Things that would be deemed effeminate today and thus condemned were normal years ago. So keep in mind styles and tastes change and do not mean more than the meaning we give them now.

The reaction from the conservative right was strong enough and lacking of both common sense and decency that it made me want to act and do something. I am a straight man that believes strongly in both women’s rights and gay rights. To me they are HUMAN rights.  Does that make me weak or less of a man? I have never thought so. I love all my friends regardless of sexual orientation because I believe love is universal and if we deny it to anyone we deny part of ourselves and demean ourselves in the process.

So what could I do?

Why paint my own toenails of course! And that I did. Luckily I have the love of a strong woman that believes as I do and was incredibly supportive of my decision to paint my own toenails a bright pink. She thought it was a great idea and even picked out a really shiny pink and painted my nails for me. It was fun! Here we were one evening; a straight couple having fun doing what others would say is gay or a cause of gender confusion.  I highly suggest others try this from time to time.

Because I was on vacation all of last week (which explains the lack of Sasquatch posts in that time, sorry!) and because in Florida that means sandals or bare feet, especially at the water parks, there was plenty of opportunity to show off my shiny pink nails! The reactions I got were fun and interesting to behold.

When I was with my lady holding hands people would look and their look of confusion was hilarious. Funny enough more than once it happened that she was blamed as the originator of the idea and that I was doing this to please her. The looks lost their confusion and became more judgmental when I was caught alone without her. Then I’m sure more than one person simply made the automatic assumption that I was gay. Because I live in the Orlando area and I was at Disney most of the time the reactions were only in stares and minimally invasive. Most of the questions came from our friends and once I explained my motives, to show that painting one’s nails does not make one gay or straight, most were on board.

This was a protest and experiment. I hope to be able to do it again not solely to provoke others, but to learn from their reactions and to hopefully open up some dialogue and perhaps to show that we need not fear a little nail polish. We are all people and embracing our differences makes us all stronger and makes the world a little better in the process.

This is love. No labels.

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