Rebelling against the sock rebellion

What New York trend-setting genius came up with the idea of dispensing with those good old things we put on before we put on shoes? In other words, why are socks becoming obsolete? And why are so many folks joining the anti-sock rebellion?

Call me a relic from the past, but I wouldn’t dream of slipping into a pair of fancy shoes until I first slipped on hosiery. The way I see it, bare legs and high heels clash. It wouldn’t occur to me to attend a wedding or other formal event without shoes. It just wouldn’t be proper. So if I’m going to slip on footwear, I’m certainly going to wear nylons. Some things are just plain good grooming as well as common sense.

I understand why women shunned nylons with seams. If the black seam running up the back of hosiery was crooked, it looked ridiculous, so getting rid of seams makes good sense. Junking all nylons makes no sense whatsoever. Waist high hose is the perfect answer for us gals who need a little help keeping everything in place. But even some career women, who should know better, have emptied their stocking drawer.

And it’s not just women and young people rejecting socks, men are revolting, too. I don’t mean men are revolting, gosh no, I don’t mean that. I mean men are wadding up their socks and using them as oil rags. I have to agree, seeing grown men in argyle sox and summer sandals was a bit much, but God bless them, at least we didn’t have to look at their untrimmed toenails.

Maybe I’m not very style savvy because I live in the country and my daily summer routine includes cutting grass and stacking wood for my brother. When I’m working on these chores, I wear crew socks. I’m not going to take a chance on getting blisters when they can be avoided by a nice pair of “Motion Comfort, Superior Fit” Dockers’ socks from Penney’s. I like the cushiony soft feel of a cotton blend surrounding my feet as opposed to the rough interior of an athletic shoe or steel toe boot.

And I can’t imagine putting on my winter boots until first pulling on a pair of knee socks. I guess I’m showing my age, but with the arrival of snow I insist on wearing warm Sorel’s. I’ve noticed younger generations tend to wear the same shoes in December they wore in July. I prefer traction to style. And honestly, there’s nothing stylish about slipping and sliding on winter ice or wading through cold slush in sandals.

I’m baffled at what’s happening to footwear. Socks should be as mandatory as a fresh pocket handkerchief, but I guess that went out of fashion years ago. Many things that were important when I was young seem to have fallen by the wayside.

Sometimes I look back and remember all the things Mom taught me. Although she was born on a farm and lived on one most of her life, she had an impeccable sense of style and flawless manners. She might be milking cows in the morning, but when she went to town she was neat and tidy in her best suit. Her nylons had no runs and her flats were freshly polished. Slang language or a foul word never passed Mom’s lips. She instilled in my sister and me the importance of talking, dressing, and behaving like a lady.

Perhaps the passing of socks is like the passing of many other niceties. Good manners, respect for elders, hats and gloves worn to church, afternoon visits to older relatives, and polite conversation are waning. To my way of thinking, our society often resembles a disorganized circus.

Women in their sockless shoes head for the office and exciting careers while their babies are dropped off at daycare. Men are relegated to the kitchen and expected to find their “feminine” side. Little boys tend to prefer computer games to the outdoor fun of climbing trees or playing cowboys and Indians. Little girls fuss over their Barbie’s instead of mothering Betsy Wetsy and other figureless dolls. It’s the rare teenager who works in the fields baling hay or tending a garden. I guess all these things are signs of a modern society.

Maybe going sockless is just another fad like paper dresses, men’s plaid leisure suits, stretch pants, and kick pleats, but maybe not. After all, $100 jeans full of holes are still around so maybe the sock revolution is here to stay. That’s a shame because every day, feet take a beating.

We rarely give them a second thought until they hurt, then we complain about the misery our barking “dogs” are putting us through. It’s a chore getting out the Epsom salts and foot pan, so we usually don’t bother soaking them. Those foot massage rollers are a nuisance, too, as are pumice stones, foot masks, and gritty files. Oh, sure, we give feet a quick rub with a dab of lotion, but we wouldn’t dream of treating them to a liniment massage. Who wants to smell like grandpa?

In the overall scheme of things, nixing sox is minor. Feet have no say in the matter, which is probably a good thing. I have a feeling they would strike and refuse to walk until the sock rebellion was put down, and who could blame them?

Editor’s note: Sharon M. Kennedy of Brimley is a humorist who infuses her musings with a hardy dose of matriarchal common sense. She writes about everyday experiences most of us have encountered at one time or another on our journey through life. Her articles are a combination of present day observations and nostalgic glances of the past.