Posted by Pamela on July 06, 2007
In Reply to: Twinkletoes posted by R. Berg on July 05, 2007
: : : : : : : : : : : What does 'twinkle toes' mean? Can I call someone 'twinkle toes' without offending them?
: : : : : : : : : : My guess: I think it means someone light on his/her feet. And referring to a man as "twinkle toes" might be an insulting term for homosexual. "Light in the loafers." But if it's, for example, a little girl in a tutu, it would be a good thing.
: : : : : : : : : "Light on your feet" means you are a good dancer. If you equate dancing well with effeteness, then that's your problem.
: : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : : I don't equate dancing well with effeteness, but I find "twinkle-toes" offensive, being at once dismissive and cutesy. Even a little girl in a tutu might well feel insulted by it.
: : : : : : : Not, probably, the first use, but the use that likely inspired virtually all the others, is the movie, "Twinkletoes" , starring Colleen Moore as an aspiring dancer. From IMDB: "An example of an improbable genre, this silent musical, released for Christmas 1926, makes an agreeable light entertainment, at least until it collapses into a subplot of virginity threatened." It's not heard much nowadays as a cheerful monicker for a dancer, but I've never heard of it having any offensive connotation, and certainly not because of any "effeteness." (Is this a code word?)
: : : : : : : SS
: : : : : : If you equate effeteness with homosexuality, that's your problem - uh, I mean go to a nice dictionary and look up "effete." ~rb
: : : : : It was just a feet joke - don't forget to breathe.
: : : : Does the "twinkle" in twinkletoes come from sequins on THOSE type of shoes? Or am I being influenced by the shoes of Fairy Twinkletoes (loved by millions). The urban dictionary has an entry for twinkle toes as "gay. An effiminate homosexual, a fairy". On the other hand, the "twinkle" might refer to the rapid flicker of stars, which explains why my (not at all effeminate) workmate says that if I called him "twinkletoes" he would think it meant "fast on his feet and good at dancing ... nothing to do with gay". Mind you, I can't imagine anyone turning to an adult and calling them twinkletoes, except humorously. Would a 12-year-old girl be offended? Not if she were a "princess girly-girl" (an insult that I heard issued with absolute scorn by a young girl on the train). Pamela
: : Here we are deep in colloquial connotations. I'm pretty sure that "twinkletoes" comes from sequinned dance shoes, including but not limited to tap shoes. And, of course, stars twinkle, too, and lend their quality of changing scintillations to the sequins. You certainly know of someone besides Santa Claus, with a twinkle in his eye.
: : I believe that the Fairy Twinkletoes busines, party toys for boys and especially girls, is the source of "Fairy Twinkletoes," but perhaps just borrowed the name. I imagine it is possible the the application of the appellation to homosexuals is because "fairies" used to be the favorite word denoting gays, sometime between queers and gays. And the males in dance troupes or a corps de ballet would supply the twinkletoes aspect, perhaps. I am still uncertain if the movie borrowed the word because of a previous connection with dancing. I suspect that it did.
: : SS
: "Twinkletoes" might allude to fast and agile movements of a dancer's feet rather than to sparkly shoes. Most dance shoes don't bear sequins. ~rb
And just to show that the colloquial connotations haven't been around that long, here's Roy ...
Roy Orbison / Bill Dees
Well, a soul band's wailin' behind the beat,
and they c ook when you walk in.
You're a "Go-go girl" now,
you work it out, now.
Work while the blue light spin,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ev'rybody knows when you start to dance,
now you're Twinkle T oes.
Twinkle Toes, you move and you go,
and you know you do it right.
Up and down, now you dance around, now.
You're lookin' good tonight,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Come on, come on, now
Twinkle Toes, dance on and on, now.
Yeah, but Twinkle Toes, I know you're trying
to hide your broken heart, you act so gay.
Yeah, behind the smile, I know you're crying.
Your great big lonely eyes give you away,
hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Twinkle Toes you know you must hang on, girl.
Hang on tight, don't let your feelings show.
Twinkle Toes, you know you must dance on, girl.
If you work it right, they'll never know.
Twinkle Toes, it's tough to forget,
but ev'rything's all right.
Yeah, Twinkle Toes, get set,
'cause I bet I take you home tonight
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
©1965 (Renewed 1994) Barbara Orbison Music Company / Orbi-Lee Music / R-Key Darkus / Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. (BMI)