Open-Toe Season

10 May

Me, in No Shringking Violet

What marks the official beginning of spring for me is not the Vernal Equinox on March 20th/21st, but the first day I can wear open-toe shoes.  I am a free spirit who feels seriously restricted in closed-toe shoes, as if they represent all that is binding, constraining, and limiting about our society.  If I had my way (and it didn’t put me at risk for Tetanus), I would probably walk around barefoot all the time.  The second I get home, the shoes come off, and I feel free, liberated, and expansive once again.

I get really enthusiastic about opening the toe early on, often too early, which usually results in me being cold from early March until about June, when the warmth of summer evenings finally supports the bareness of my feet.  But this is a small price to pay for the freedom of running out to do a quick errand in a flip-flop, or the cuteness of perfectly manicured toes in a sassy open-toe pump.  Plus, I love my toes.  Some people have feet issues, and there is plenty that I am insecure about, but not my feet.  I pamper them year-round and keep them pretty and open-toe ready in colors like “Foot Loose,” “Fruit Sangria” and “Turning Heads Red.”  I am such an enthusiastic supporter of open-toe shoes that in some circles, I am even known for my trademark flippy-floppy sound as I walk/run (depending on the urgency of a given situation) down the halls at work, announcing my arrival. 

I pretty much thought that everyone was excited about the toe-opening that spring brings, but this season, I realized that there is an anti-open-toe faction, led by a male co-worker of mine, who I will hereafter refer to as MC for Male Co-Worker, and also because it has a rapper/dj vibe to it, and lastly to protect his identity in case he is not ready to go public with his strong anti-open-toe-footwear stance quite yet. 

One day, when I was feeling quite happy and satisfied with my footwear, MC remarked that he thinks open-toe shoes should not be allowed in New York City and that they are “disgusting.”  (I’ve since confronted him about this disgusting comment and he now claims to have said “disappointing,” but if something was only disappointing it barely seems worth mentioning and then bringing up many times subsequently, and is not nearly strong enough of a word to go with his strong feelings on the matter, and plus, I have a witness who can corroborate my story, and also heard him say “disgusting.”)

At which point a female co-worker (FC) countered, “I think they’re sexy, don’t you?” and then the crickets started to chirp and we all got back to work.

After further investigation into MC’s open-toe hatred, what it comes down to is not that he finds the sight of pedicured toes revolting per se, but that he doesn’t think open-toe shoes are the practical footware choice for the urban environment in which we live (his exact words: “Open-toe shoes are the scourge of our society,” which I wrote down immediately after he said it to avoid another You say disgusting/I say disappointing scenario), and that the more urban-appropriate, closed-toe shoe “protects (one) from the elements and the grime and plague that percolates from the streets of New York.”

I have to concede that I see his point, and when caught in an unexpected rainstorm while wearing flip-flops, I cringe if I accidentally step in a puddle pooling on a street corner, trying not to let my mind go to that place that wants to analyze the components of New York City street ickiness that could potentially be living in the run-off.  Just the other day, I was dashing across 49th Street in my delicate open-toe heels when I looked down to see a layer of dried sludge coating the pavement, and my right ring-finger toe dangling precariously off the sole of my shoe and grazing the muck. 

Behind the scenes, getting open-toe readyWhen I returned to work, I shared my experience with MC to let him know that I was open-minded enough to understand the reasoning behind his hatred/revulsion of my footwear, and he comforted me by suggesting that perhaps the dried sludge was “the Bubonic Plague.”

MC has said that if he had his own company, open-toe shoes would be forbidden, but “there would be other benefits of working at (his) company that would make up for this.”  Which would pretty much have to be an on-site spa and two-day workweek in my opinion, to even come close to making up for these restrictive footwear regulations.

I won’t be submitting my resume there anytime soon, and in the meantime, you can hear me coming, flipping and flopping from down halls and around corners, “Foot Loose” and fancy free.

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6 Responses to “Open-Toe Season”

  1. skelley1271 May 12, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    ummm… I thought most NYC women wore tennis shoes to work before putting on their OTS? To avoid the funk and to keep from falling on their face.

    Shoe Addict

  2. isa May 19, 2008 at 2:38 am #

    ummm…what are tennis shoes? oh! you mean sneakers? hahaha ;-p
    to all those looking for comfortable shoes you can wear to work, I recommend–please don’t laugh–Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI). They carry a range of shoes made by companies that traditionally purvey outdoor footwear (Merril, Teva, Keene, Vasque, etc.) and now offer somewhat stylish footwear that will actually last you a whole day in NYC. Keep in mind that this “somewhat stylish footwear” is best paired with the SATC Miranda type chick (oh, sorry, ‘woman’).

  3. parentsrpeople June 10, 2008 at 1:46 am #

    Wow! I thought I was the only one who started wearing flip flops in march…simply because it’s March… and then foolishly dealt with frigid toes until the weather actually got warm. I have this ritual.. I buy myself a new pair of flip flops every year for my birthday (in March of course) and then I wear them… rain or shine, because on some level I believe this means it will bring about warm weather sooner.

  4. JD May 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I absolutely love spring for this exact reason! When the women in my office, and at the grocery store, and at the mall (etc, etc, etc) start wearing open toed shoes (flip flops, slides, whatever) I am in hog heaven! I don’t know what it is, but I absolutely love the sight of soft pampered feet and perfectly manicured toes. Kudos to you for expressing yourself early and often with feet freely exposed! I love your toes too by the way!

  5. Shauna Fitzpatrick May 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    If only more people would read about this..

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is in Remission Until November « One Writeous Chick - April 19, 2009

    […] and restored to my spring/summer effervescence!  For the first time this year, I threw on my open-toe shoes and headed to work.  It was definitely one of those days that you hope the teacher will say, […]

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