I’m throwing my hands up; we need to talk about feet. On a gradually increasing basis the general public is being afflicted by feet, and afflicted is the right word: to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously.
I can’t put my finger on the exact moment, but somewhere along the line it became OK to just let your feet hang out there – in all their glory, or grotesqueness - in public. Case in point the attached photograph; I was graced with these little beauties at the gate of a major US airport (the thought of this individual sitting next to me on a sealed aluminum tube for a few hours makes me throw up in my mouth a little). Note the (not-so-white) bandage around the right big toe and the manky (Google it, it’s a word) Birkenstock sandals that he tossed off in my direction. This is not OK. I don’t want to see your Barney Rubble feet, and I certainly don’t need to know about your podiatric medical issues. Put a sock “on” it, literally!
And if you think this is strictly an issue with men, let us not forget the Northwestern University’s national championship women’s lacrosse team whose 2005 visit to the White House had four of the nine team members pictured in the front row wearing flip flops. Politics aside, flip flops to the White House? It was widely reported that family members (mothers in particular) were horrified. Is this something that we’re going to have to add to “and remember to wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident”? “Don’t leave for Washington in flip flops; you might get invited to the White House”.
Airplanes seem to generate a strange sense of privacy in people; I can’t remember a flight where someone seated near me has not slipped off their shoes, exposed their bare feet and rolled them around on the carpet for a while. Nice visual, huh? Or even worse, those seated in the bulked row putting their bare feet on the wall for everyone in the 10 rows behind them to view! A girlfriend had what was, up until last week, the worst (or best, if you’re grading on a curve) foot story; mid-flight, a man sitting next to her took out a bottle of lotion, slipped his feet out of his sandals, and proceeded to lather them up. For her, this topped even the lady who clipped her (finger) nails on a flight (yeah, I can’t even go there on that one, those suckers fly everywhere!). See, I told you, people do things on airplanes that should strictly be reserved for your bathroom at home, and NOT in front of your spouse!
But the worst/best foot story position is now occupied by the man who sat next to my husband on an international flight last week. Every seat on the airplane was equipped with a personal video screen on the seat-back in front of you. The screens are touch-sensitive. You know what’s coming, don’t you? Yep, the guy reclined his seat, took his shoes and socks off, and navigated the touch screen with his big toe. They just don’t clean aircraft well enough for that.