The Soft Touch

by Rigby Taylor

'What do you think, Dad?'

Ivan Coax looked up from his book and scrutinised his fifteen year-old son. The lack of resemblance between them was remarkable. He'd often wondered how he, a stringy, somewhat hirsute man with a permanent tan could have sired such a pale, smooth, almost succulent youth. His son wasn't soft, though. Far from it. Karate, good food, plenty of sleep and exercise had ensured he was never called baby-face more than once.

'What do I think about what, Felix?'

'What I'm wearing.'

Ivan frowned in exaggerated concentration. 'Ahh… How extraordinary.' He looked up at his son in genuine surprise. 'You've decided to have a sex change and become a girl?'


'Not that? Okay then…' He pulled a thinking face. 'You have cold knees and calves? Unsurprising considering the lack of clothing elsewhere.'

'Dad! Be serious.'

'Ah yes, I remember now…you're going dancing tonight with Leo, to…' He shook his head. 'Remind me…'

'A fancy dress dance at The Purple Onion.'

'Is that the youth club run by the Baptist Church?'

'Hardly! It's the top floor of that old office block next to St John's Ambulance. It's a private club for gays. Males only, safe and clean.'

'What does that mean… safe and clean?'

'No alcohol or other drugs; no smoking.'

'So it is a sort of youth club?'

'No. There're guys of all ages—teenagers to septuagenarians. There's a large room with a stage for concerts and dancing and badminton on Wednesdays; several small rooms for playing cards and stuff, a small library—even a restaurant on weekends.… It's friendly and I'm going to join as soon as I save the hundred bucks membership fee.'

'Sounds too good to be true.'

'Nevertheless it is true. Leo and I went there last Saturday and it was great.'

'I don't recall giving you permission.'

'When I asked if I could go out, you said okay, as long as I stuck with Leo. You didn't ask where I was going.'

'Remiss of me. I'm at risk of failing as a father. So how did you get in if you're not members?'

'Leo's neighbour, Elbert, is on the committee and he signed us in as his guests.'

'I like Leo. He's a good lad. But isn't it rather unusual for a School Prefect to be dating a boy two classes below him?'

'Yes, but he says age doesn't matter, it's character.'

'A sensible lad.' Ivan nodded quiet agreement with his own statement, then smiled vaguely. 'So… the fancy dress thingy is the reason for your minimalist clothing?'


'If the place is so respectable, won't they be shocked by the amount of bare flesh you're exposing?'

'No way. It's not the sort of place where people are shocked. There's a large sign above the stage that says; 'Diversity is Life'. I'm wearing this because the theme for tonight's dance is My Secret Self.'

'Goodness! Are you telling me that those rainbow leggings and skimpy scraps of cloth represent your secret self?'

'Well….. yes… I think so.'

'What'll Lionel be wearing?

'He won't tell me.'

'Of course not if it's his secret …although it's only going to be a secret till he get's here.'

'So… what do you think of my get-up?'

'Colourful,' Mr. Coax decided with an approving nod. 'Colourful and innocently sexy.'

His son looked down at himself and frowned. 'What makes me look innocent?'

'Perhaps androgynous would be a better word.'

'You mean I look like a girl?'

'The way you're dressed, you could be either.'

'That's crazy. I'm butch and tough. You know that.'

'Yes… I do, but other people don't, they judge you from how you present yourself.'

'So you don't think what I'm wearing is any good?'

'I can't give a useful opinion, Felix, until I know what this 'secret self' is, you're hoping to project.'

'Promise you won't laugh?'


'My secret wish is to be a vigorous, masculine, free spirit.'

'Vigorous and masculine…. Hmm…Then dump the off-the-shoulder T-shirt. Manly boys don't wear them like that.'

'But I want to show my shoulder development, I've worked hard on them.'

'You're only showing one, so take the purple rag off and show both shoulders, as well as your excellent abs and pecs. It's a warm night; you won't get cold.'

Felix removed his T-shirt. 'Better?'

'Getting there… but… if you want to demonstrate a free spirit, you shouldn't look so insecure.'

'I'm not! Hell, would I go to a party dressed like this if I was insecure?'

'Blatantly identifying yourself with a particular group or gang, indicates some measure of insecurity.'

'I'm not doing that!'

'Really? What do those garish leg warmers proclaim, apart from the fact that you must be stupid if you wear such things on a hot night?'

'That I'm out and proud.'

'Proud of what? That you're the same as every other queer?'

'No way! Most gays I know are… well… they're not like me.'

'Surely, a 'free spirit' would not parade under the banner of a group of people he doesn't particularly identify with?'

'Yeah… I suppose you're right.'

'Then jettison the silly socks.'

Visibly irritated, Felix ripped off the offending garments and tossed them aside. 'Better?'


'Oh for fuck's sake, Dad, what's wrong now?'

'Well…… to look butch and virile you need to emphasise your manhood. In those teensy weensy shorts—cute as they are, it looks as if you've no balls.'

Felix gazed down in despair. 'I have! The extra padding and zip makes a good bulge.'

'But not where it counts. It could be a sock. Men who've got the goods, prove it. Those who haven't, play coy and titillate with indeterminate bulges in scanty clothes—cock-teasing wankers.' He gazed thoughtfully at his son. 'Is that you?'

'Of course it isn't! But the way you're going on it seems you want me to go starkers!'

'Well, that would prove you've got balls, and are a healthy, fit and very free spirit.'

Felix dithered. The idea was tempting—very tempting. He knew from many happy minutes spent posing in front of his bedroom mirror that he looked good naked. His bum was firm and shapely, his waist narrow, his torso almost sculpted, and his genitals on the generous side of normal … but did he dare? 'I wonder…' he said nervously, 'what Leo would think?'

'My impression of the lad is that he'd think it was an eminently sensible idea.'

'But how would I get to the club?'

'In an overcoat that you take off when you arrive and leave on a chair close to the door in case you change your mind and discover your secret self is a raincoat wielding weirdo flashing his bits at innocents.'

'That would be tacky.'

'Yes... So go out, put on your school overcoat, then come back in acting as if you're joining a party. Take off your coat, hang it on the chair, go for a wander around, then introduce an imaginary Leo to me.'

'I'm nervous.'

'You've no need to be. You look superb.'

Felix went out, returned a minute later, gazed around as if entering a room full of people, nodded at imaginary friends, then almost nonchalantly removed the coat and draped it over the back of a chair. After smiling at an imaginary Leo, together they wandered around looking at things until, with less than perfect aplomb, Felix smiled nervously at his father and said, 'Dad, I want you to meet my boyfriend, Leo.'

Ivan offered his hand and Felix sagged onto a chair in nervous despair. 'I can't do it.'

'Of course you can! You look great. Practise walking around the room until you feel completely comfortable and realise that everyone else is over dressed, constantly remembering that you must never look down to check if your bits are hanging correctly or you will look insecure and silly. As long as you look confident, you'll be taken seriously and admired. An air of relaxed nonchalance is what you're aiming for. Go on, walk around for a bit then come and sit next to me and talk.'

It wasn't long before Felix felt excitement building along with the pleasure of cool air caressing parts of the body that were usually covered and sweaty. 'This is amazing, Dad! It feels more natural than wearing clothes—especially those ridiculously tight shorts and stupid socks! I can't believe I was intending to wear them! Being naked actually feels more natural than wearing clothes!'

'Because it is more natural.'

The doorbell rang.

With a nervous shake of his head, Felix donned his overcoat, strode manfully to the front door and opened it wide; only to step back in alarm as a tall, menacing figure draped from head to foot in a long, black, hooded cloak drifted silently in. With the face in shadow it was impossible to see who it was.

Felix closed the door nervously. 'Leo? Is that you? You look creepy. Like a mad monk.'

'Madness is the gift of the gods to sufferers of intolerable sadness,' intoned a sepulchral voice from the shadowy hood as he drifted along the hallway, and entered the now empty drawing room, where he turned and extended his arms. 'Come. Embrace me and know the extent of my agony.'

Giggling nervously, Felix approached; still not sure it really was Leo.

'Closer, young man. Closer… let me smell and taste your innocence.'

Felix shuffled closer, then shrieked in delight as Leo let the cloak fall, and wrapped bare arms tightly around his boyfriend before kissing him sexily.

'You're naked!' Felix laughed, stepping back to take a breath. 'You look wonderful! Now let me smell your innocence.' He too threw his arms wide letting the coat slip to the floor.

When his father returned with mugs of coffee, it appeared that the two naked youths' lips, chests arms thighs and legs had become inextricably glued together.

A few minutes later, still giggling, they sipped their coffees.

'You did it, Ivan! That's amazing.'

'What did you do, Dad?'

'He talked you into also wearing your bare skin. You see, yesterday I came round to see if you'd be okay with me in my birthday suit. But you were out so I told Ivan and he said not to worry, you were a soft touch and he'd easily convince you to do the same.'

'Am I really a soft touch? Makes me sound weak.'

'Of course not, son of mine. You are a supremely rational creature who, when faced with reason and logic, always makes the best choice.'

'Mmm… that sounds better. So I'll forgive you. Now, Leo the magnificent, if your sadness has been sufficiently assuaged, let's go and dance the night away.


This story is part of the 2021 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: of Books and Covers". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 30 July to 20 August 2021 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

2021 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - of Books and Covers

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The Soft Touch

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