T-shirts, cargo pants and flip-flops seem to dominate the wardrobe of many young (and not so young) people these days. Rather than be judgmental, I try to adopt a philosophical attitude toward the big C, which for me is not Cancer, but Casual.
I’m not sure what I can do about the T-shirts and cargo pants phenomenon, but I tell myself that most people simply do not understand the rich historical relationship that exists between God, feet, and shoes. If they did, they would certainly wear proper shoes.
So, in order to clarify this rich and vital history and hopefully enlighten and encourage everyone out there to embrace credible footwear, I’ll share the following story.
When God first set out to design man and woman, He started at the top, enthusiastically, with the head. He put an enormous amount of thought into the functionality and form of it.
Our brain, which houses our (alleged) intelligence, is located here. Our vision, hearing, taste, and smell come from our eyes, ears, mouth, and nose, all located in our head. Our mouth also provides us the ability to speak. Our nose and mouth allow us to breathe. It is a true miracle of efficiency. Inspired.
God then designed our torso. The lungs and the heart, critical for life-giving oxygen to be processed and blood flow. The digestive processes carried out by our stomach and intestines, again, vital. Kidneys, pancreas, liver, check. The sex organs we don’t really need to discuss, but their significance requires mention. God knew how important these things were, and He was masterful in their craftsmanship.
Then, He went to the arms. Shoulders that rotate…perfect. Elbows bend…very handy. Wrists that rotate…again perfect. Thumb and fingers that provide key grip…separates us from other primates. So that’s important. So far, so good.
Now, to the lower body. Hips, so the legs can rotate…love it. Knees bend, okay, just like the elbows, not very original, but symmetrical, which is good. Ankles that rotate…and by now, God is, in my humble opinion, growing just a little weary of His own creative genius, or He’s distracted, or maybe He’s had a vision about all the trouble we as humans are going to create in the world and He’s having second thoughts. I don’t pretend to know His thoughts. I just know this history, which I’m sharing with you.
He gets down to the feet, and He just says something like, “Okay, we got ten fingers, so we’ll go with ten toes and be done with it.” And he kind of slaps them on and sends us on our merry way.
And that’s why most people’s feet are ugly. That’s why, almost immediately, shoes were created. Of course, it was cold and the ground was rocky and hard to walk on, but, mostly, shoes were an aesthetic consideration born out of no one wanting to really see another person’s feet.
There are, of course, exceptions. One in a hundred thousand women have pretty feet. They are foot models, and you see their feet in magazine ads. The woman you fall in love with has pretty feet, but they may only be pretty to you. I don’t know why. It’s simply true. There are no men. Anywhere on earth. With pretty feet. Not that I’ve looked. But sometimes they’re just right there and it’s awful.
This is why wearing flip-flops is simply contrary to all spiritual, natural, and man-made laws. We can see your feet. Another perfectly logical reason, presented to me by a niece of mine, is that flip-flops dramatically reduce one’s ability to fight or escape during a Zombie Apocalypse. Which I’d never thought of.
So, now that the history of God, feet, and shoes has been articulated and shared, I think we can all get on board with wearing real, grown-up shoes.
I hope you’ll pass this information on to your friends, family, and even perfect strangers who are in need of it. We desperately need to shoe the planet.
25 thoughts on “A Brief History of God, Feet, and Shoes”
Well said! I prefer a good pair of loafers myself. I believe Quoddy makes some of the best.
Thanks, Jane. Loafers are perfect. – BGT
And here I thought that my husband and I were the only ones in the world who felt this way about men in flip-flops. Each and every time my husband gets off of a flight, he remarks at how many grown men there were on his flight in flip-flops. I am especially not a fan. We have strict rules in our home in regards to what our kids and I wear; flip-flops (the rubber kind) are never okay, sandals are to wear to the pool or to the beach, and neither are ever appropriate for my husband! He wears his worn-in Tretorns for those two occasions!
Thank you, Melissa. I’m always glad to know I’m not alone with these opinions. – BGT
What is this anti-feet prejudice? Being properly dressed, above or below the ankles, is about wearing what’s appropriate for the situation. You wouldn’t wear flip flops to a business meeting anymore than you would wear dress shoes to the beach. If you have toenail fungus or some other unsightly condition, have some consideration for other people and keep your feet covered. But I do not find healthy, normal, clean and well tended feet to be ugly or offensive.
I also question what this has to do with old money. If anything, old money often feels freedom from, if not disdain for, oppressive middle class norms of senseless conformity and anxious, self-conscious prudishness. Cast off the chains of anti-feet oppression and let you feet be free!
Dissension in the ranks! I love it! – BGT
Amusing idea Byron, I like when you bring these topics using humor. And I feel the same way about men showing their hairy armpits for example. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with them, but it is uncomfortable seeing people’s bodies for some reason. I think feet covering is relevant to the Old Money theme because it is also a matter of respect for the other, as having to look at feet and hairy armpits probably bothers a lot of people. I just wonder why men’s bodies bother us more than women’s bodies, and why bodies bother us to begin with.
Art and literature present the ideals (Renaissance paintings and sculpture, Shakespeare’s sonnets) and then we get to face the reality. After writing, it makes one consider clothing as the second best innovation in history. (Wink, nod.) – BGT
A good point wrapped in humor. Most men’s feet should not be on public display since they’re rarely well-cared for. And let’s be honest, a man with weekly pedicure appointments is going to be met with a raised eyebrow. (A freshly waxed one, of course!)
I focus on men, because, generally,women’s bodies are more beautiful and bother us less in our culture. That’s a real complicated topic though.
In some cultures people are considered to be part of the landscape and are expected to be easy on eyes, so human eyesores are an insult . Also, when you present yourself in public you represent not just yourself, but your family, people and nation. It isn’t about personal freedom. I’m willing to bet that even the most eccentric OMG would draw the line at being seen with unshod feet.
I say let the shodding begin!
Good point on representing your family, people, and nation. Thanks, Mary. – BGT
Thank you, Byron. Birkenstocks are truly ugly and do esthetic advantage to no-one. Crocs as well. Nevertheless, my social worker friends in Southwest America have shared that Crocs actually do serve a very needful purpose in homeless shelters. Liquid detergent can be squeezed into the holes and then an individual can have their feet/’shoes’ hosed without removing the actual Croc from the foot. For hygiene, it seems to works quite well during times when the temperature is warm/hot. For your readers that reside in Southern/Southwestern American states, a gift of Crocs in various sizes and colours to a homeless shelter is a needful gift.
Thank you, Michael. Excellent information. Much appreciated. – BGT
Proper clothes for the occasion. I have no problem with flip-flops at the beach or a swimming pool, but I abhor it on an airplane. Why would someone do this? Close quarters, people stepping all over everything…just not a good idea. And people should take care of their feet and nails just like the rest of their body. They work hard for you, and what are you going to do when you can’t walk on them anymore. I take care of mine and make my husband do the same.
“Proper clothes for the occasion.” That pretty much sums it up. Thank you, Bev. – BGT
I found this post rather amusing and accurate. I have always had a disdain for seeing hideous men’s feet exposed. I understand wearing something appropriate for the pool and beach but it shouldn’t be men’s default shoe for the summer. Invest in some Sperry Topsiders or other quality boat shoe please. I cannot complain totally about the ladies, but I often find some ghastly foot tattoo or flashy toe ring/pedicure unappealing. Please let’s reserve our foot exposure to limited and necessary occasions.
Post Script. – I do not agree that God has been careless in crafting our feet. As a devout Christian I believe we are made in God’s image and likeness. So rather than blame God for mans negative view of feet, I will attribute it to the shame of man in the Fall in the garden of Eden. The necessary remedy for that shame proper covering through clothes (in this case shoes) as shown in the Bible.
Thanks, Dario. Don’t get me started on tattoos. – BGT
Let’s not forget the inherent danger of flip flops. One morning I was flip flopping around the house and realized I needed something downstairs so I hurried down the stairwell. I bet you can guess what happened next, it was flip…flop…splat at the bottom of the stairwell. Thankfully only my pride was hurt. 🙂
They are not built for looks, or speed apparently. Two strikes! – BGT
Bryon, your posts bring out my inner philosopher, thanks for making the brain cells wiggle!
Mike, what a wonderful use for some pretty hideous footwear. I’ll pass that one on.Thanks!
Thank you! – BGT
Hello there Bryon, please may I add a comment about the way tourists dress in general?
I live in Cape Town, South Africa, and we get hundreds of thousands of international tourists from spring through autumn every year, and every year their holiday clothes seem worse. One can spot them a a mile away; sloppy shorts, flip-flops and skimpy tee shirts, accompanied by blood-red sunburn. I know it’s very hot, but oh dear! Please put on some proper clothes and some sunscreen!
Hi MaryAnne, I share your pain. There seems to be less regard for simply ‘getting dressed’, not to mention ‘dressing up’. My recent experience has been that the Italians, French, and British still make an effort to wear tops that are not T-shirts, jeans or pants that are not cargo shorts, and shoes that are not flip-flops.
Sadly, I can spot my fellow Americans a mile away. It’s been said that dressing well is a gift you give others, as well as yourself. We can only hope that in the future those who travel will try to be more generous in their attire. In the interim, we’ll simply have to set an example and compliment those who make the effort. – BGT
That’s interesting, here the worst are generally the British. I’m trying hard not to be rude, but the number of overweight, flabby (bright red) Brits in gauze-thin tops with thin “spaghetti straps” is astonishing. And Britain is the only country in the world where I’ve seen women in the shops in their pyjamas. I promise you this is true, google it and you’ll see I’m not making it up. I realise my own experience is limited by world standards, but I’ve never seen this anywhere else. Here’s hoping this horrible trend doesn’t spread!
Thanks, Mary Anne. I haven’t seen much of the British issue you mention, but I know we Americans can really ‘take the cake’ with some outfits we dare to wear in public. We’ll work to hold the line, maintain standards, and hope (some of) the rest of the world follows along. – BGT