Thursday, November 17, 2005

Flip Flops; the decline of Western Footwear

Flip Flops; the decline of Western Footwear

By Phil D. Ford

The sound is almost caustic. Especially when dragged across an apartment complex parking lot. The steady puffy plastic drag across smooth asphalt has all the charm of fingernails on a chalkboard. The coupe de grace is an accented punctuation to this excuse for footwear, the inevitable popping sound of the heel smacking the ball of the foot. We are of course talking about the invention known as the flip-flop which have now become the George Canstanza excuse for footwear in the United States and possibly beyond.

Once upon a visit to the mall, I have discovered that this phenomenon of foam rubber footwear has become quite the trend with the lack of tread setter. People will wear flip-flops with anything. I have seen young punk boys with a face full of piercing, sleeve-tattoos, offensively challenging mores t-shirt, and tight jeans, walking with a pair of them in the color of the German flag. I have seen beautiful twenty-something women in fully Gapped fashion-wear sporting dainty little flip-flops with gaudy pink plastic flowers on the strap. I have seen little girls, barely tweens, oversized by what I like to call “Kiss-Flops”; platform flip-flops that keep such rail-thin children from blowing over in strong winds. I have witnessed studly lads donned in Abercrombie and Fitch clothes, Fight Club glasses, and hundred dollar buzz cuts, dragging their feet in food courts in $45.00 (!) Nike streamlined glider-flops. On an average day of people watching at the mall, your odds are about two in four, that’s half the consumer population, that you are going to be seeing peoples gnarly toes exposed to the elements and restrained via the flip-flop.

As devoted as people are these days to looking good, especially at high-end outdoor malls, one could certainly put a little investment into a nice pair of shoes. It is almost as if people started from the top, applied all sorts of nifty and expensive hair products, worked their way all the way down with the latest trendy apparel, reached the lower calves and then just gave up. Or is this in some nightmarish way, supposed to be part of the outfit? Here people have spent all this time and money to achieve that certain special “look”, and have petered out below the ankles. Come on; finish that fashion thought you had. I know you can do it if you just apply yourself. You would think in this fear-driven age where terrorism or natural disaster could spark at any moment, that you would want to have a nice pair of shoes to avoid possible dangers in. If a levee breaks in your neighborhood, where are you going to be? That’s right, up flip-flop creek without a shoestring.

Flip-flops as regular footwear are, like reality television and rude cell-phone habits, signs of the decline of western civilization. They really say something about a person as far as I’m concerned. Now it’s one thing if you are making your way to a source of water for swimming, or in a public shower at a campground, or taking trash to the curb or even being a NCAA Woman’s Lacrosse Champion meeting the President of the United States. I’m not saying if you can’t wear them if you are say, Jimmy Buffet and you have a matching Cheeseburger in Paradise hula shirt, but if you are going to be attending anything public that requires lots of walking, there is no excuse for it. It has no merit as a shoe. By definition of purpose, it can’t. You can try and doll it up as much as you like, making them sporty brown with two sets of buckles like you would even attempt to hike with them, or decorate the plastic toe straps with butterflies or cubit zirconium jewels. It’s not attractive. There is no arch support, certainly no finesse, and absolutely no sex appeal. Flip-flops have all the social dignity of mononucleosis. It’s nearly Fall for flips sake. And if proper dress etiquette can pooh-pooh white after Labor Day, surely there is something to be said in the Hoyle’s Book of Fashion for these unsavory foot disasters. In this age of our concern about white teeth, toned bodies, implants, and clothes, we can't be bothered to put on a pair of real shoes?

Look, I don’t want to seem like a curmudgeon, I’m all for expressing yourself and looking like you just stepped off the fashion page, but let’s get something straight right now. Flip-Flops are not cool. They may be totally hip and nifty at water areas but when you are wearing them regularly as “your shoe”, then you need some one to come in and set you straight, a friend to tell you how wrong they are as a habitual footwear. I am that friend. I'm just looking out for the better interest of Americans, take your power of pride and get some sneakers or at least some loafers. Life is too short to still be acting like a 10 year old in a Wee Winks at the Outer Banks.

Surprisingly, this has yet to be published anywhere. Copyrighted though.


Anonymous said...

I like exposed toes, especially when I smell them with my nose.

GG said...

I hate flip flops as everyday shoe wear. But I think I'm starting to hate Crocs more. Maybe I'll get myself some good old fashioned Dr. Scholls.