Rushed off my feet

As anyone who is well acquainted with me will tell you, I have a bit of a problem with feet. However gloriously pedicured or preened your feet are, I’m guaranteed to recoil in horror at the mere sight of them. And don’t even think about asking me to touch them.

In fact, feet are probably the only good supporting argument that creationists have on their side, as clearly they were invented on a Friday afternoon, shortly after a higher being had invented the pub, lager, and a means of turning sand into something which could conceivably hold a pint of ice cold liquid. Faced with such temptation, it’s not surprising that he/she didn’t attain the levels of achievement involved in – say – the lungs, and instead used bits of material left over from fashioning the hands and elbows, and decided it was ‘good enough for the moment’.

As anyone who has ever done interim repairs to their home will readily testify, botch jobs have a tendency to become permanent if they work – hence us being stuck with feet, a body part so ugly that it makes the scrotum look like a design classic. And all because of the pressing need for a cold beer and a packet of cheese’n’onion flavour crisps.

My perception is admittedly clouded by the two ingrowing toenails I had to have removed when I was at university. If there is to be a male equivalent to the pain of childbirth (short of using rusty shears to slice off the aforementioned scrotum to exhibit it in the V&A or MOMA), it’s the agony you experience when you’ve had both big toenails sliced off with a scalpel, and the anaesthetic starts to wear off.

Aside from the ‘Nam style flashbacks to the pain (‘you don’t know, you weren’t there, man’), the procedure left a lasting mark on me – one perfectly normal toenail, and another that grew back stronger, harder and more determined than ever never to be vanquished; the superhero of toenails, if you will.

Watch in horror as Meganail blunts your standard nail clippers! Look aghast as files are broken with one blow from Meganail!! Shudder with disbelief as you realise that Meganail might be the single living organism to survive all out nuclear attack!!!

Suffice to say that feet don’t do it for me, and I’m more likely to donate my design icon ballsack to ‘the people’ after my death than I am to subscribe to Peep Toe Monthly or whatever the shoe fetishist’s recognised trade publication is.

All of which makes my recent purchase of a pair of flip flops a little concerning. It’s a gross generalisation, but British men don’t really do flip flops. After all, they don’t accessorise particularly well with our bowler hats and tweed jackets. And given that a recent study showed that men from the UK have more hair per square inch of toe than any other nation on earth, feet are predominantly kept covered. And rightly so.

This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that I am becoming A Little More American Than I Am Strictly Comfortable With. Suddenly I’m wandering to the store on the corner with my feet on show for all to see, or eschewing my normal brogues-on-the-beach look for a little thong of leather between my big toe and curiously bigger, erm, toe-next-to-my-big-toe (my index toe?). It feels curiously freeing yet unmistakably wrong.

Fortunately, life has its way of restoring the natural order. Casting caution to the wind last week, I walked too far in my flip flops, and caused three inch blistered welts to appear on both feet. They’re still prone to bleeding now, and I can barely walk in normal shoes, let alone embrace my evil footwear demons.

Each time I look at my feet, I’m forced to acknowledge that I am British. May my oozing stigmata always remind me never to lose touch with my roots.

13 thoughts on “Rushed off my feet

  1. Silverback

    The mention of thong and beach in the same sentence had me really worried…..much more than the mental images of your nether regions now in my mind. Thanks for that.

    Yes I’ve never got on with flip flops either but have found a compromise with velcro ‘laced’ sandal type footwear. These have the double benefits of an open toe design but with a firm grip on my feet for dashing away from gators.

    Of course this isn’t something I need to think about with our summer weather anyway.

  2. IanB

    I too am with you on this: the Never-Look-Down club.

    Feet. Just no.

    Foot massage? REALLY no. I don’t care if you’ve just trekked single-handed across the Nepalese mountains giving piggy-back rides to starving war-victim orphans. I’m not going to touch your feet. Ever.

    Also, it’s not a “sign of love” to fight the rising tide of biliousness and rub the scabulous talon-laden hunks of cheese flesh, it’s a sign of weakness. I stay strong in the face of the fetid of foot.

    Of course your feet smell beautiful and look lovely just like you but that is a bit like saying Jeffrey Dahmer wasn’t all that bad because he always volunteered to do the cooking.

    Ugh, now I have the smell of Gorgonzola in my head.

  3. Milo

    “Men’s feet, in particular, make me squirm and gag: the mottled colouring, the sparse hair, the little toe that has been crushed into the one next to it over the years so that it has turned and bent and cuddles up against it now, sadly, as if trying to spoon an unwilling lover, the yellowed, cracked toenails, and the fully blackened one on the right biggy from toe-punting a goalpost 14 years ago. How can bringing these out in public be considered acceptable?”

    You and this columnist have a lot in common I think. Read the rest here:

  4. Expat Mum

    OMG, this is your funniest yet!
    I am the only female I know who has never had a pedicure and I intend to keep it that way.
    But silly boy for walking any length in new flip flops. I would go for the velcro sandals instead, but for god’s sake take your socks off.

  5. Apsidal

    What an aptly named article is the flip-flop. Warn by people who’ve flipped to make a fashion statement that flopped. Very droll writing, Dylan. You clearly put your best (or should it be better?) foot forward!

  6. Brooklyn

    Your post calls to mind two things:

    The lunatics (immediate family included) who wear flip flops on the streets of New York (or other big city) despite the fact that it’s always dicey regarding what you will step into when wearing footwear that totally covers your feet (despite the relative success in NYC of the pooper scooper law).

    As for your flip flop phobia as towearing flip flops in proper locations (like the beach), I too cannot tolerate intra-digital footwear. Try Teva’s or a similar sandle that wraps around the foot.

  7. Almost American

    What Expat Mum said!

    I remember being in agony as a child at the beginning of every summer when I got a new pair of flip flops, having not worn any since the previous summer. Eventually the skin between my toes seemed to harden up and the blisters were no longer an annual ritual.I’m now a flip flop snob. I am fussy about the ones I buy. There are all kinds of subtle differences between the ones that will be comfortable and the ones that never will be.

    I too have become “A Little More American Than I Am Strictly Comfortable With” as this year for the first time I went to work wearing flip flops. Expensive leather ones I’ll have you know, but flip flops all the same. It didn’t make it right though, even though half my colleagues were wearing the same kind of footwear. I still felt as though I was doing something wrong.

  8. Toni

    Loved this post Dylan – despite being forced to think about your ‘bits’. Can’t say I agree though. I like my feet and love getting foot massages and pedicures (especially the bit in the latter that involves tending to the dead skin around your heals!). As for flip flops, or jandals as we call ’em in New Zealand, you’ve got to break them and your feet in – then I reckon you won’t look back!

  9. Expat Mum

    My little guy decided he needed to start wearing the flip flops that actually fit him rather than last year’s. Took him to Target and half way round the store he decided he was in too much agony. On top of that, he somehow has blisters from his expensive Geo sandals, so now I have to make him wear his sneakers/trainers in 90 degree weather till his feet heal. Sigh.
    Got to love little 6 year olds in shorts and flip flops tho’.

  10. NFAH

    You are so wrong, the young men in Britain right now not only do flip-flops but do them with capri/mid-shin length trousers (usually linen). It’s an abomination, I tell you.

  11. Alasdair

    Dylan – to paraphrase a quote to an orphan – “To lose one toenail due to ingrowth is unfortunate; to lose two is simply carelessness!” …

    Been there, done that, wore the shoes which protected the re-growing big toe nail !

    Expat Mum – can’t you see Dylan wearing flipflops and tabi ?

    I will admit that even I will draw the line if someone tries to wear flipflops with the Kilt !

  12. Karen

    Expat Mum, I too have avoided the pedicure, but that is mainly as I am still a little confused as to what is involved with one. I think someone fed me some wrong information as a child that scared the bejaysus out of me!

    I know so many people who have flip flop phobias! They cannot stand the feeling of something between their toes!

    I do love a good foot rub though, having a boyfriend who hates feet means the foot rubs are few and far between! So I was happy when he bought me a foot massage bath last xmas.

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