I bare a secret that is often too embarrassing to share.
It is something that I’m not proud of, but it’s a part of who I am, dammit. It is one of my physical imperfections that, over the years, I mostly forget about until that awkward moment arises during intimacy with a boyfriend or yoga with a friend.
“Excuse me, do you have a toe ring?”
I nervously snort, “Oh, that ol’ thing! Heck, I forgot it was even there!” I throw a dismissive gesture with my hand, but deep down I’m sweating like a pig on an elliptical.
They saw it. The saw my secret.
The truth of the matter is, yes, I do often forget that it’s been on my right toe since 1997, when I was fourteen years old and toe rings, in addition to nose rings and eyebrow rings, seemed like a wise fashion choice for the pubescent teenager. Since I had nightmares of infections and permanent scarring from nose and eyebrow jewelry, a toe ring was the edgiest I would go. And much like an ass tattoo, my toe ring was not for everyone’s eyes. I knew it was there and no one else (because I didn’t have a boyfriend at 14; I wore suits and fantasized about getting it on with a young Elton John).
What I don’t share with people curious about my toe ring is that I’ll probably never take off.
It’s been adorning my toe for 17 years, so why shed it now? WHY?!
To me, my toe ring has become a symbol luck. I feel that the past 17 years of my life have been above average, and maybe it has something to do with the toe ring. If I discard it now, I’ll be doomed to a lifetime of chin hairs, IBS and bad breath.
Don’t you have something you feel the same way about? Don’t you have some Vegas tchotchke your grandmother gave you when you were eight that you’ve carried with you through life, and even after you’ve moved eleven times between major U.S. cities because you had no freaking clue who you were or what you wanted out of life, you knew that stupid, smiling ceramic kitten wearing a “I LOVE VEGAS!” sweatshirt is what got you through your “lost years.” You later named that kitten Frank and it now sits on your desk in your home office, a daily reminder of your grandma, her special powers and how this little tchotchke saved you from a life of escorting and truck driving.
That what my toe ring is. It’s your Frank.
And much like your Frank, it isn’t high-end. I have no gold or diamonds wrapped around my tiny toe. I probably bought this piece of shit at Claire’s with money I saved from babysitting, and it was probably the greatest thing I had purchased up until I was 14.
Once in awhile my boyfriend will point out my ring.
“You have a toe ring,” he says as though seeing it for the first time.
I nod my head in agreement.
“Is it cutting circulation off to your toe? What if your toe falls off?”
I’m not particularly concerned with my toe falling off. It’s a healthy shade of pink; however, much like the ancient Chinese art of foot binding, my toe is now misshapen. At the base exists an indent that makes my toe look bulimic from the knuckle down.
But I’m ok with a bulimic toe if it means I will not suffer a fate of consistent diarrhea.
If you see me in the future, and I’m shoeless with my toe ring shining up at you, please be nice to me. Yes, I know I have a toe ring, and I know it’s not 1997. But she has been good to me, dammit. She has been good.