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.