Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bare Feet

I recently discovered something about women that was new to me: their famous affection for shoes does not require that they always wear them. Sandra at Miss Fluffy Ruffles wrote a post showing and telling her delight with all things froo-froo and frilly, then suddenly shifted gears to say that she equally enjoys being barefoot. One of her readers, Connie at Living Beautifully, offered a comment on Sandra’s post with the same paradoxical passion: a fondness for fancy, but at any given moment she too is unshod and loving it.

Recently, Nancy and I were reminiscing about friends from our college choir. “What was the name of the girl with the short hair? I think she was an alto.”

“Hmm,” I mused, unable to picture her, “was she kind of tall?”

“No, about my height. You know, dark hair, nice smile.”

“Don’t remember,” I shrugged, then suddenly recalled one young lady with a unique trait that she displayed year round, indoors and out: “You mean the barefoot one?”

“That’s her,” Nancy stated.

And despite our own cold hardwood floors, I know Nancy’s up when I hear the soft pad-padding that can only be made by bare feet. I’ll frequently arrive home from work to see her busy-day shoes off to one side of the entry, and hear the same pad-padding coming to greet me.

I’m intrigued by this discovery for one reason: I have total wuss feet. With shoes on, I can run around non-stop from dawn to dusk, on hardwood or concrete, with no issues. I can even dance for 8 straight hours (at least I could 25 years ago in college). But these days, a barefoot walk from the front door to the bedroom closet for my slippers renders my feet cold as ice and aching with agony. I can practically hear them asking, “It was such a good day. What did we do to deserve this?”

As a result, my “slippers” are really not at all. They’re actually an old pair of Ecco’s that served long ago as my Good Shoes. Back then, their famous sole support was attractive. Today, it’s vital.

I don’t understand the logic behind (or under) so-called slippers. How can anyone be expected to walk around on a piece of cardboard and not have cold, achy feet?

I’ve tried to just go barefoot anyway, to get over it, to be a man. I’ll kick off my Ecco’s and carry on with my day. But after a while, I find myself cranky and irritable, feeling that somehow the whole world has turned sour on me, like a black cloud that slowly sneaks over you until it’s darkened the whole sky. Then I realize the truth. It’s not the world, it’s me: I’ve been barefoot for nearly 10 minutes.

I did run around barefoot as a kid. It was different then, but not much. I could race through the grass with the best of them, feeling my toes digging into the soft turf, getting traction like a mountain lion on the attack. But as soon as we hit pavement or that one neighbor’s lawn full of overgrown prickly weeds, I’d switch into the humiliating Tippy-toe Tango. I’d transform from a smooth sprinter into a gawky marionette being worked by a novice, who quickly gives up on attempts at finesse and just shakes the thing.

But somehow, living from indoor shoes to outdoor shoes and back again makes me feel like I’m missing out on something. It seems to me that those who are barefoot enjoy a unique experience of simplicity and carefree-ness, a liberating sense of tossing it all aside for a while, that I don’t. Then I realize that I can. Since reading that blog post the other day, I’ve decided I want to try once again to go barefoot. Maybe I’ll find that I get used to it, like first jumping into a cold swimming pool. After the initial misery, you adjust, and then you wonder why you didn’t get in sooner. Or perhaps my feet will still be cold and achy, but I’ll discover that, like with camping in the woods, the unpleasantries are more than made up for by the experience.

So I’m going to kick off my shoes and give it another shot. I’m going to jump into that pool, head off into the woods, live a little.

With my faithful Ecco’s waiting by the door, just in case.

(A special thanks to my dear barefoot beauty for my new blog banner. I hope you all like it. [I love it!])


  1. ...hee hee....you and my husband are 2 peas in a pod.
    If he doesnt at the very least have his socks or slippers on he cant stand it!
    Ive tried to reason with him that some feel that going barefoot has healthy holistic purposes especially walking in the grass, it has to do with reflexology and pressure points.
    But he still wont come over to the other side. Thats ok opposites sometimes do attract!

  2. Do I mind if you mention me on your blog????? Nuuuuuu, my lovely little cherub, I'm delighted. A special man for sure, but you're like my hubby. He cannot walk barefoot to save his life! In Puerto Vallarta it was quite embarrassing to have him walk beside me on the sand, sweets. I almost put a paper bag over my head so I wouldn't be noticed! Gotta love that man since he's put up with me for almost 50 years of wedded bliss. I hope you and your dream girl make it that many and more. But truly, toughen up those tootsies, honey.
    Smooches to you and the barefoot chick,

  3. I LOVE this story...

    I too am a BAREFOOT BABY!!!!

    Though I cant do it right now due to my surgery there is nothing I love more than to walk barefoot through the grass... squish my toes in the mud ... and simply enjoy the freedom of no shoes

    I find them to be confining at times... though I love a little pretty to cover my toes..... I cant wait to throw them off at the end of the day ...

    I think you nailed it .... I believe that those who go barefoot are free spirits ... a bit bohemian...

    I am full blood Italian ... passionate... creative... casual .... however I can be elegant when I wish...

    Thank you for bringing back childhood memories of running through the clover with bare feet... lemonade .... and child like abandonment



  4. Your banner is absolutely stunning!

    Wishing you the best of luck with your barefoot goals...there really is nothing like it!


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