Cut feet loose, keep on your Sunday shoes

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Cut feet loose, keep on your Sunday shoes

Darcy Fracolli, Managing Editor

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Some people say they look like aliens.

Some people like them dripping with honey or all bundled up in a stocking.

Some people find them wholly repugnant.

Some people think they’re hairy or greasy or smelly; peculiar and ludicrous and blemished and bowed and buckled, contorted and queer and comic; all wrapped up for your pleasure or horror in a neat little terrycloth, cotton, nylon, polyester, wool or argyle bow.

One thing is certain: everyone has an opinion about feet.

For the first half of your life, no one really gave a Tom or Dick about your hairy feet. But there comes a time in every young man’s life when the topic of feet invariably provokes mixed reactions.

Feet are like your hands’ weird cousins. They live in the basement and only see the light every few days, and most of the people who idolize them could be considered eccentric.

On the surface, feet seem simple enough. We ought to like them. They keep us firmly perched on every rock and hill, slippery slope and tile floor. They allow us to trip the light fantastic and dance the can-can on the edge of a cliff. But aside from the odd foot fetishist, it often seems like they’re treated with little respect.

The first adjectives that come to mind at the word ‘feet’ are often smelly and sweaty. We think of discarded gym socks and rancid bar shoes. We think of bunions and calluses and corns and athlete’s foot.

Feet are awash in so much bad press that we often forget just how institutionalized our love for our tender pedestals really is.

We’ve invented so many hothouses for our hooves that they now come encased in any manner of sock, slipper or shoe imaginable. Shoehounds cross cultural, political, racial, genderal and religious lines. There are dress shoes, running shoes, tennis shoes, bowling shoes, tap shoes and snow shoes; shoes for ballet, golf and rock climbing. Hell, there are even ice shoes.

Clearly we’ve invented so many creams, ointments, cases, adornments and protections for our feet that surely we must care.

We’ve fetishized everything surrounding the foot, so why are we still so surprised when people fetishize the foot itself?

The list of foot fetishists throughout history includes such literary luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

And yet I’ve personally never been particularly fond of feet. In fact, I find them downright repugnant. I take care of them, but grudgingly, for my own self-interest, making sure that they know every step of the way just how reluctantly it is that I soothe their dryness.

I resent their alien appearance, the way they chafe when I walk and the way their stench eventually reduces my favorite pair of shoes to a smoldering, stewing cauldron of odor so foul my roommates refuse to allow them in the house anymore.

So then my love of everything stocking, sandal and stiletto is surely born of the gratitude that they make my favorite necessary evil so much more pleasant to look at.

All I know is, as soon as we find a way to replace feet with rockets, I’m dropping those bastards like napalm in Vietnam.

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