Saturday, October 15, 2005

No Equivocation on Flip-flops!

Slap-slap-slap-slap-slap… What’s that? Why, it’s the sound of a grown man ambling down the hallway of your office in his flip-flops. How did anybody come to the conclusion that the chintzy plastic shoes your sister wore when she was eight years old should be reborn as urban wear for any adult, least of all men? Tragically, I am inspired to write this after seeing a man walking up to my building from the subway wearing a suit with flip-flops. He was carrying a pair of proper shoes in one hand, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around his mindset. He seemed to have a vague understanding that the flip-flops were inappropriate as he had sensible footwear at the ready, but I really got the impression that if he could get away with wearing the flip-flops to meetings he would. Sadly, if he worked at my agency he could.
Allow me to proffer an advance apology to those inelegant souls who so obviously and passionately disagree with my opinion in this statement: Flip-flops must go!
Outlaw those vile almost-sandals! Restrict their use at the very least. If an illegal act may be decriminalised rather than made legal, I propose that flip-flops be semi-criminalised.
Certainly it would be an exercise in tax money well-spent to post by-law enforcement officers at the periphery of beaches and other areas devoted to overly-casual recreational dress. Those who attempt to leave such flip-flop containment zone still sporting the repulsive footwear will be sternly warned. Those who refuse to comply will be Tasered or, where municipal budgets cannot provide the Taser, simply clubbed about the head until compliance or unconsciousness results (if, dear reader, this seems a tad harsh, rest assured that the skull of the flip-flop wearer is the most impact resistant part of their body and the beating will have no appreciable long term effect).
Please know that my opinion is not some irrational, visceral, snap reaction to a disagreeable fashion trend. My revulsion has been building steadily through this long, warm season; my apathy eroding in inverse proportion to the degree of social acceptance of adults shuffling about in children’s footwear. ItÂ’s not about fashion. If it were, I would be equally perturbed over the popularity of those peculiar sneakers that look as though they are engineered for rock-climbing. It is unfortunate that men seem to have embraced that particular fashion this season but no more vexing than the millions of schmucks that shell out the bucks for basketball sneakers to tour the mall. That is their prerogative and does nothing to intrude on the lives of others.
No, it is not about fashion. It is about a greater cultural aesthetic that exists on a higher plane than the ebb and flow of the dictates of popular culture. This universal constant is the force that sees the blue-haired grannies tut-tutting the latest in youth clothing trends far in advance of the mass abandonment of those same unfortunate fashion choices by all but the most committed adherents. Skinny ties, platform shoes, leisure suits – soon to be joined by the graceless flip-flop in the vast and insatiable dustbin of history.
But not soon enough.
Flip-flops must be eradicated for a more germane reason than simple poor taste. It is just that feet are ugly. Offensive, really. Most of them. Despite what fetishists might have you believe, very few people have attractive feet and this applies especially to men. Those that do have probably already landed employment as catalogue foot models and aren’t displaying the goods for free on the subway. Or so it seems because the majority of those who have been flim-flammed into the flip-flop fashion faux pas have lumpy, gangly, scaly feet with crookedly disproportionate toes capped by crusty yellow toenails. They have been suckered into the trend just like a pudgy girl in the low-rise pants and a belly shirt; neither has the native sense of self-assessment to realize the absurdity of their appearance. Some might say that itÂ’s about body acceptance or self-confidence but it is just plain old-fashioned ignorance.
I don’t know how this or any trend gets started. There is a kind of a trend pyramid with the Innovator (or perhaps the Instigator) at the top, a range of influential Propegators in the middle and at the base of the pyramid a writhing host of Imitators to latch on to the trend of the moment. Sadly, the bottom of the pyramid is rarely able to really pull of even the interesting or attractive trends that the top of the heap so glamourised and by the time they even try, the Innovator has moved on to the next big thing. Perpetually shifting, I guess I just need to wait it out.
As for the flip-flops, I think I can look forward to the sweet cleansing cold of the relentless Canadian winter to put an end to that. At least until the Spring thaw…