Thursday, June 07, 2012

In Which I Find A Soulmate In ConFic, Analyze Myself, And Engage You In My Quest

One day during a long ago (circa 1990s) Creative Writing II class, I overheard one of my writers say, "When they get that big, they're just anymore!"

Immediately, the entire room was blanketed in that sort of unified silence that occurs unexpectedly, and every single student stared at little Jennifer Lewis, who was not even five feet tall and happened to be wearing her cheerleader uniform, thus rendering her even more adorable.  She got very, very pink and quickly said, "Feet!  Feet!  I was talking about feet!"

Ah, Jennifer!  It was wisdom like that--and your startling talent--that got you all A's in CW.

For now, much to my great dismay, it is The Season Of Feet.  They are Everywhere.  I cannot escape them.  No matter the venue, be it grocery store, bank, pet supply shop, department store, or restaurant, feet are all over the place.  At least I am no longer in my classroom, where I would have had to be confined with as many as twenty pairs of feet in various stages of undress every forty-five minutes, five times a day.  Highschool students, especially this unseasonably warm year, would have started wearing The Dreaded Flipflops as early as March.

Ugh.  When did Flipflops (Called THONGS back in my childhood, that term means something entirely different now.) become appropriate Public Footwear for middle class adults?  Who first broke this Societal/Class Barrier?  Bring her to me!  Off with her head!  Honestly, I thought I was alone in this discomfort with and dismay over flipflops (Arrgh! The name alone is irritating, juvenile, and Seussian!) until I read Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom.  In it, the character and sometimes-narrator Patty bitterly muses about young people:

"I have some issues with their flipflops.  It's like the world is their bedroom.  And they can't even hear their own flap-flap-flapping, because they've all got their gadgets, they've all got their earbuds in.  Every time I start hating my neighbors around here, I run into some...kid on the sidewalk, and suddenly forgive the neighbors because at least they're adults.  At least they're not running around in flipflops, advertising how much more laid-back and reasonable they are than us adults. Than uptight me, who would prefer not to look at people's bare feet on the subway. Because, really, who could object to seeing such beautiful toes? Such perfect toenails? Only a person who's too unluckily middle-aged to inflict the spectacle of her own toes on the world."

Once I read that, I stopped to consider:  Am I against that footwear because I merely hate my own feet, or because I hate feet in general?  Or is it a symptom, like Patty's, of a deep dislike of teenagers and/or twentysomethings?  I concluded thusly:
1.  I do dislike my own feet.
2.  I hate all feet in general, excepting baby and toddler feet. (The Jennifer Lewis Rule)
3.  I like teenagers as a rule; always did.
4.  I am routinely annoyed by twentysomethings as a group, but don't often dislike them individually.

Look, adult feet are ugly.  Even if you tan them up, grease the cracked heels, grate off the skin rinds, and polish the nails (but lay off the greens and blues--urk), they still spend time hanging out at ground level in public.  Those are the facts.  They do a utilitarian job for about sixteen hours a day and look it. Multiply that over the span of years a person's been walking. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE GREAT-LOOKING SHOES AVAILABLE. 

And, hey, all that Maintenance Stuff up there?  That is Pedicure Business, which I'm not having.  Even if you call it the cutesy "pedi."  Do. Not. Touch. The. Feet.  I don't even like to recognize the fact that I have feet. Except for the purpose of owning the aforementioned GREAT-LOOKING SHOES.  Which leads me to...

My Brown Sandal Dilemma.  Briefly touched upon in comments in my previous post, I am locked in a years-long search for the perfect brown sandal which, should I find it, I will buy all pairs of it in my size (8.5), thus forestalling another quest for as long as possible.  Here are my

1.  Flat, but some arch support
2.  Nothing between my toes
3.  No ankle strap
4.  Show as few of my toes as possible
5.  No flowers or flowery decoration
6.  No gladiator styling
7.  Reasonably priced

Why is this so hard?  Where is it, this Brown Sandal Of Nance-Nirvana?  It is gone, too, the way of Mars Bars and Sane Republicans.  Heavy Sigh.

Instead, I suffer daily with Flipflops and...well, you know the rest.  On the upside, two of my nieces are expecting this fall.  Soon enough, there will be four little Democrat baby feet to play with. 


  1. Maybe Birkenstocks? However you spell them.
    It's the sound of the flipping and flopping that I hate most.
    That and older adult toenails, however adorned, including my own.

  2. I'm anti flip flop, unless one is serving one's duty timing at the swim meet, because decent shoes get ruined when teens and tots splash water all over them. I have also been known to wear them when getting to and from the pool myself. And, alas, in my misspent youth. But to me, they have a certain poor and slatternly look about them.

    Sandals do tend to show quite a bit of toe, though, (except your perfect pair, of course), so I suspect that summers are generally Difficult for you.

  3. Try the New Balance website. They may have what you're looking for. Congratulations on the new Dems!

  4. Rose--Thank you for the salutation. I did look at NB. They have a total of 6 pairs of sandals, and only one pair meets 4 of my qualifications. Alas, that pair is over 100 dollars and shows way too much toe. But thanks for helping.

    J@jj--I have two pairs of ff's. I wear them in my yard and home ONLY. I buy cheapos at a craft store or at the Dollar Spot at Target and they last me for years. One, because I only wear them IN SUMMER, and two, because I know how to pick up my feet when I walk in them. KUDOS TO YOU for your spare wearing of ff's also.

    They DO look "slatternly"--that is ideal word choice. I remember back in 2003 when my son had his homecoming date from a different school show me that she was wearing ff's to the formal dance with her long gown. I was appalled and chagrined. She said all the girls at her (rural) school did that for HER homecoming earlier that month. It took all my manners and restraint not to say, SOMETHING. Tell Maya to look into podiatry, audiology, or spinal medicine for a future career. That is where the $$$ will be after this generation starts to suffer for ff's, earbuds, and those backpacks. Poor things.

    Mary G--How nice to see you here. Birks show too much toe, and they hurt my feet to walk in. They are like Dr. Scholls. All that contouring is irksome to me.

    I once had a pair of basketweave, airy, brown clogs from Clarks that I wore as sandal-type shoes for about eleventy years. So comfy. One year I went to get them out for summer and they simply fell apart in my hand. Disintegrated. I almost wept. Sigh...

  5. Well Nance, you're probably not going to want to be friends with me after this.

    I am, at this moment, wearing flip flops. Additionally, I paid $20 so that I could wear flip flips to work during the month of June. It's part of our June Charity Drive - for a homeless women's shelter.

    The only saving grace here is that they're not just plain old flip flops - they're crocs for which I paid $30 yesterday (
    - I got them in black). But, still, they have the thong (the shoe-type, not the undergarment) & each & every unvarnished toenail is exposed.

    I'll still keep my eye out for your dream sandal, though.

  6. Here you go:

  7. Nance,

    This is the advice that was given by a well known Etiquette Advisor when asked if one may wear flip flops to a wedding.

    "We don't care how casual the wedding is and how laid-back the bride in question might be, attending in jeans and a T-shirt is not an option.

    It doesn't matter if it's on the beach, in your mom's backyard, or even if you don't know the couple very well. If you're bothering to show up, the least you can do is throw on a dress or a pair of khakis and a button-up shirt -- again, assuming it's a casual ceremony. Also, just to be clear, don't even think about slipping on a pair of flip-flops. Pumps, heels, flats, loafers and sandals are a go, but plastic footwear is a huge wedding no-no. (Possible exception: If the wedding invite explicitly states that it's a "flip-flop casual" beach event, you may wear them.)"

    Oh,and just to be even more clear, the khakis and button up shirt are suggested for the Minister or Justice of The Peace who will be officiating.

    I have to admit, I choked up as I read this. Did this tug at your heart strings,too?

  8. Nancy--I cannot get too choked up by any Etiquette Maven's decree because--trust me on this--no one listens to them anyway unless said Maven says something the hearer wants to listen to. I have seen PLENTY of people in ff's at weddings, including the presiding acolyte at my niece's wedding last year, who also was wearing bluejeans. I almost got up, interrupted the Processional, yanked that girl's sloppy ponytail, and carried the crucifix myself except that I knew A) it would burn my hands off and B)the priest would immediately turn around and start an exorcism.

    But, hell, we can certainly continue to Dream and Hope for the Return Of Class to American Society.

    Bug--It has always been my Policy to overlook the teensy idiosyncrasies, however trying they may be, of my friends in light of their overwhelming positive qualities. The fact that you paid what I think is a gargantuan and ridiculous sum of money for glorified ff's does trouble me, but I find it generous and gallant of you to have paid for the privilege of wearing said ff's in order to donate the cash to such a worthy cause.

    Thank you very much for researching a pair of brown sandals for me, and while they meet several of my stringent criteria, alas! there is the dreaded strap across the back. I hate that because I cannot just slide into them or out of them easily. It also invites the Dreaded Breaking-In Period Blister, and I am just not willing to do that. The search, therefore, must continue.

  9. The only thing more barbaric than flip-flops at a formal event is that anyone could pay $50 or more for something made of RUBBER with some cheap plastic bling on it. The profit margin on flip-flops has to be enormous.

    I sympathize with your search for the perfect sandal, brown or otherwise. In my particular case, however, I have been willing to settle for a lot less than what I wanted because... nobody stocks shoes of any description in my size: 5 1/2. I happily forego the half part of it, and will willing buy (and often have to buy) a size 6, but even that is very, very elusive. So style, while very important, often runs a very close second to just getting a blasted pair of shoes at all. I have considered purchasing online, but I do not trust buying shoes that I cannot try on and stomp around in for a bit. Can't tell you how many "comfortable-looking" shoes have turned out to be torturous to walk in. *sigh* It didn't use to be this hard. (And in case you're wondering, my feet are not glamorous, but they are somewhat more attractive than the podgy ones in the post, lol.)

  10. Ortizzle--THOSE ARE BABY FEET! Nothing is cuter than baby feet. I could look at and play with baby feet or cat or puppy paws for a long time. SO cute.

    I get advice all the time, and from people I trust, to try ordering shoes from etc., but I'm with you. I cannot do it. I have to try stuff on. Sometimes I wear an 8, and every once in a while, I've gotten a 9. I don't want to have to go to the post office or repackage something and arrange for pickup.

    You have very petite feet, and it seems to me that you could shop in the kids' dept. and find some nice sandals that don't have Dora or Big Bird or some other Kid Hero on them. Or is your size right on the cusp of Adulthood, rendering your Quest even more difficult? Sigh.

    Not too long ago, I was faced with the task of Folding Linens, so I had to turn on the TV during the day. Dr Oz was on and he was dealing with some Young Thing's ff addiction. He went on a Dire Diatribe about the Horrid Consequences of FF Wearing, plantar fasciitis being the primary one. I could tell the girl was pretty much unfazed, and that the Sensible FF he recommended (like the one Bug bought) made her want to throw up. I knew she'd take her hamper full of cutesy ff's and risk it for Looking Cute. After all, she was about 19, and what else is there?

    (Trust me, I'd do the same for shoes to some extent, even now. But not for ff's, which are HIDEOUS.)

  11. By the way - apparently our facilities manager was out of town when the charity email went out (about buying the right to wear flip flops & jeans - & SHORTS! which you will never see me wear to work) & was appalled because of the safety risk of wearing FF in our stairwell. So I'm pretty sure we won't be doing that again.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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