LIPSTICK by Margaux Dunbar Hession

I am trying to type this on my laptop with only my left hand, as my right arm is being adoringly humped by a King Charles Cavalier. I am a pet-sitter and today, while his owners are away, I work for furry little Ferdinand. Yes, this toy dog is my client, and judging from my current predicament, it appears that I am his bitch. He stands on his hind legs, his front paws locked over my upright arm, his gyrating body set on frappe. Wispy white fetlocks sweep my blushing wrist. Ferdinand’s brown bulbous eyes widen with glee and his iris’s roll back, their white rims gleaming. Spit splatters from his salivating tongue. Each synchronized hack-pant rises in a disturbing crescendo.

I know my arms are hairy, but seriously, Ferd, this is so wrong on so many levels. Look at your humpee, doggie. She is not a red-light district poodle tart, nor an S&M Shih-Tzu.She is a human arm. My arm.

If it were a dog, your trophy arm candy would landslide the ugliest pooch contest. Sparse hairs over age-spotted, scaly, wrinkled skin? Do you think my wrist is her neck, my fingers her spiky hairdo, my gold watch her collar?

Surely, Mr. Ferdinand, you need to raise your standards.

You are not a Dead End Kids’ mutt, or a mongrel Artful Dodger knocking over dog treat carts under the wharf of a Dickens poorhouse. You are a goddamn Cavalier. A purebred from British royalty.

In the 1600’s, your namesake, King Charles the First, chose scooping your poop over matters of state. A royal preoccupation with your great, great grand pappy’s bowels led to treason, your King’s execution, and the fall of a monarchy. Ferdinand, your family’s shit really is the shit. You can do better than my arm.

Your image has been captured by the brushes of Van Dyk, Gainsborough, and Disney. You are the only dog still allowed into Parliament –— of the canine species, I mean. The Duke of Marlborough pitched you for his first cigarette ads. Your vet cone is a Renaissance collar.
Yet, what are you now, nine years old? Nearing sixty in dog years?

Well, that accounts for something. Is my arm-dog available? Yes. Does she resist? No. Can she see or hear? No. Sadly, perhaps, that is the attraction.

Ferdinand, what if I’m like you and still single at sixty? Who will I hump? Will he be battery-operated? Will the only ones to knead my breasts at night be one of my nineteen cats? As a pet sitter, will the only cock I ever see again….
Good God Ferd! I can see your emerging chubbie. Retract!

And in three more canine hip thrusts, there it is —– the thing I can never unsee:

His lipstick.

Could the similarities in shape, size and color really all be a coincidence? Or were modern day lipsticks fashioned after various pooches pee-pees?

What went on in underground labs of the Victorian cosmetic industries?

Lip color used to be sold in little round compacts, fashioned from an artist palette. A woman would remove her white glove, dip her finger into the rosiest color, and paint her lips; hoping to subliminally project a humma-humma-humma image into a man’s mind: Her flushed red lips during climax.

One day at the Coco Chanel perfumery, did Henri, the horny hound dog, trot into the lab, and induce an epiphany? Did a shaft of light illuminate the doggie’s shaft, gleaning that deep rose hue the development team had been searching for?

Did they call out, “There—the perfect color! Do we call it DickLips? LipsDick? Or do we steal the shape and name it… Lipstick?”
Then, how did they name each color? Did the cosmetic copywriters parade male dogs into their brainstorming meeting, bring in a poodle fluffer, to elicit fitting color names?

Did a Pomeranian’s fairy pecker unleash the shade, “Pinkerbell?”
Was a Cairn Terrier’s wanker the copy-umpf behind the lusty red, “Surrender Dorothy?”

The sight of Ferdinand’s growing lipstick snaps me back to reality. The hair on my arm stands straight up, like a tiny follicle army forming a united front against an advancing phallic one.

This is my cue that I have clearly gone too far in getting my boss’s approval. I have let my client engage me in a Level Five Undignified Pet Encounter. Really, who’s the Lady and who’s the Tramp here?

This is where being treated like a Cavalier carnival ride pulls up full stop. As my employer continues to jackhammer me, I put down my laptop and peel back his double pawed deathgrip. Unlatch his entwined toes from around my elbow.

Sadly, I am about to peel him off his deep focus of true love for me, deep-six his vast momentary pleasure and completely ruin his day. I know it’s cruel, but some things are just not right. Sorry little buddy. I steer his bucking bronco torso onto a stuffed armadillo, and he…what? Ferdinand mounts a full frontal assault on the plush toy. He does not even break stride from me to his new ride.

My arm meant nothing to him.


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