Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Imperfect Hero or Heroine

An incident at work actually got me to thinking about this the other day. It all started with a warm day. The first day of spring that was balmy enough to ditch the closed toe shoes and go with sandals.

Now my husband says hairy toes are a sign of good circulation. I beg to differ. Hairy toes are a sign of being comfortable in one’s marriage or relationship. No, seriously, hear me out here. When I was in the Army, I’d forget to shave the top of my toes. Usually this always happened when I wasn’t dating. I mean, you wear shorts for physical training so you never forgot to shave your legs, but your toes, they were always crammed into a pair of combat boots, rarely seeing the light of day. Nobody saw them, well almost nobody.

It wasn’t until after a brutal road march, leaving my feet covered with blisters, that I began to pay attention to my toes. When Doc, our medic, and a particularly handsome black man (I think every unit has a medic nicknamed Doc) looked at my feet and saw my toes, commenting on the length of the hair on their tops and leaving me to feel like Bilbo Baggins, did I pay more attention to this part of my anatomy.

So for years and years I didn’t forget to shave my toes. The horror of the moment played fresh through my mind.

Flash forward twenty years to my office cubicle that I share with my cubby-mate Pam. Now when you first start dating, or are a newlywed, there are things that you just won’t do in front of your significant other. You don’t pee in front of them. You always shave your legs and toes, and never would you consider filing the calluses off your feet while in their presence. You don’t wear sweats and old tee shirts to bed, or walk around with foil on your hair in front of them while your friend works her magic highlighting from a Blonde Bombshell kit you bought at Wal-Mart. (I got that comment about aliens sucking my brains from my hubbs.) You don’t belch. You don’t fart. You wear sexy lingerie. (Circulation-destroying thongs and those thigh stocking that if you try to put on now, make your legs look like a couple of Polish sausages trying to bust free from their casings.)
You stupidly try to cook bacon naked, and find that some delicate areas should be protected from popping grease. And though it sounds sexy at first, it really isn’t when you find yourself in the emergency room trying to explain to the cute young doctor how you got second degree burns on your nipples. (Not that I’m speaking from experience here, just saying.) The point is, there are a lot of things you just don’t do.

After twenty years of marriage, trust me in this, you do them all. And it’s not just the ladies. Men get comfortable too. They powder their balls with baby talcum to prevent chaffing and take on a feminine smell they’d never get caught dead with while dating. Nor do they pass gas while they are driving down the highway, roll the windows up and lock them, so you can’t roll them down. (This goes for that little trick in bed called the gas chamber too.) They don’t use your Midol for back aches or go out to the front yard to retrieve the paper while in their underpants, robe and work boots, scratching their ass while they wave to the other guy across the street doing the same thing.

Marriage has a way of destroying sexy. Now, I can just see all those newlyweds out there shaking their heads, saying that will never be them. Trust me, it sneaks up on you.

Ah, I digress.

Back to hairy toes and imperfect heroines. So, I decided to wear sandals the other day and when I got to work, realized I hadn’t shaved my toes since my pedicure last summer. To say I looked like a Hobbit, was an understatement. After an Army flashback, I realized I couldn’t go the whole day with my co-workers possibly seeing my hairy toes. My husband yes, co-workers—no. I grabbed the scissors out of my drawer and began to trim the suckers over my trashcan. Yes, at work, at my desk, before my cubby mate was due to come in. My timing was awful of course. My cubby mate walks in and sees me with the scissors and instead of asking what I’m doing, begins to reprimand me for using scissors to trim the hair from my toes, reminding me of the last disaster and stitches I had to have after handling scissors. Then she glanced down at her own feet.

She’s been married a while too.

So, the moral of this story is this. Do I have a moral, no, not really, but I think I do have a point somewhere here. Ah yes. There seems to be a rash of “perfect” heroes and heroines in the stories I’ve read lately, and I just wanted to point out that it’s okay for them to have flaws. We the reader can relate to that. We understand when our heroes use baby powder to prevent ball chaffing, and we know that sometimes our girls forget to shave their toes. It makes them human. Don’t be surprised to see some humanity in the next story about Gunny and his wife Lissa, I’m having a ball developing these characters, bored with their marriage.

   Until next week, remember to shave your toes. Scissors over a trashcan can be dangerous.

Have a great weekend!



Jessica Subject said...

LOL to the shaving toes (just did that) and the ball powder. Yep, happens in my household.

In one of my books, the heroine has hairy legs when her one leg is in a cast, and also stretch marks from having a child. While women may be perfect from a guys POV, I think most can find something they'd want to change about themselves.

Great post, and can't wait to read more about Gunny and Lissa! :)

Kate Richards said...

As your editor, I'm terrified. As an author, I'm reminded. You're right! Those flawa are what makes the heroines charming and relatable! But I'm still a little scared.
Oh...and my husband's doc uses toe hair to make sure his diabetic patients have good circulation, I always wonder if he tells the women not to shave it off...

D L Jackson said...

Have I ever let you down, Kate?

Anonymous said...

OMG, this is so funny. And TRUE!!!
I love you, Dawn Jackson, thanks for making me laugh today.

Krystal Shannan said...

ROFL! I so needed to laugh and this was great. So true. *running off to shave my toes* I've been married nearly ten years. :-)

Zee Monodee said...

I'm late, but here! Love this post. Toe hair... reminds me when I'm coming out of hibernation here and sandals and peep-toes call in summer. To get peace, I just zap the Silk-Epil over them too; peace of mind for weeks!

Agree about imperfect heroes and heroines though... which reminds me, I need to give mine flaws... :)