We’ve been running a house ad in the newspaper promoting the Newspapers in Education program. This particular NIE ad tells readers how, if they go on vacation and need to stop their newspaper delivery for a week or two — or, if they’re really lucky/rich, for a full winter while they’re off somewhere warm! — they can, instead, donate those papers to the local schools through the NIE program.

The newest NIE house ad reminds me of those Corona commercials. You know the ones: White sand and blue sky and pale blue-green water, the sound of ocean breezes, a couple of bottles of Corona on a little table on the beach. This particular ad has a picture with two sets of legs and feet in the foreground, crossed and entwined, with the sand and the sky and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the background. (I’m sure the colors would be just like those in the Corona commercials, but the photo is black & white. Still: You get the picture.)

Two of the feet have painted toenails; the right leg in that “set” has on an anklet, and the left foot has some sand on the toes. The other set of feet have no distinguishing characteristics; they appear to be just feet.

A woman called the newspaper office yesterday, all in a snit because the feet appeared to be “lesbian feet.”

That bothered her, she told our office manager, because she doesn’t want her granddaughter looking at pictures like that.

Like that! Of feet!

The true irony here is that the actual feet in question — or, rather, in the photo — belong to Sheila’s niece and her niece’s boyfriend. From one of the many photos taken while the two of them were on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. True, the boyfriend doesn’t have overly hairy legs and feet like many guys, but they are definitely a man’s feet. Crossed and entwined with a woman’s feet. No lesbian feet to be found, anywhere … not on that stretch of beach, anyway.

Now I’m wondering, though. Maybe that woman who called the office is onto something … like the way Becky used to say that she could detect a gay man by his ears (and no, it has nothing to do with which lobe has an earring), or the way you can (almost) always tell a lesbian by her eyes (except, of course, when you can’t). Now I’m going to take special note of the actual feet — and not just the footwear! — of every woman I see.

(For the record: My feet are kinda short and wide — pretty much in keeping with the theme of the rest of me — and sometimes I have to shave a little bit of hair off the top of my big toes. Aside from that, I’m not certain there’s anything that really sets them apart from any other woman’s feet; perhaps I should let the irate caller take a peek at them, just to be sure!)