We’ve just had a blissful long weekend here in Chicago. The sun shone, the sidewalks sizzled, and the feet were freed. Allowing your tootsies to feel their first breath of summer air is like letting dairy cows out into the fields after a winter cooped up in the barn. Across the city, you could almost hear thousands of little phalanges squealing with delight, as they finally got to stretch out fully. They were flipping while we were flopping. And it felt good.
Until a couple of hours or so into the day, when you glanced down to check if your 10 little strippers were still tripping. They were still having a ball, but looked as if they’d decided to enter a mud wrestling competition. Or start a new career as a chimney brush. Or worst of all, compete for the ‘Outstanding Citizen of the Year’ award by picking up unclaimed dog poop – even if they didn’t have a bag to hand.
You couldn’t be angry as they looked so proud of themselves. You could of course put them back ‘inside’ but they’d only work up a huge sweat, and raise a stink. Besides, everyone else’s are out and about – yours would look strange, hidden away. You’d be seen as very callous. Or very callused.
And it’s not just your feet. Flip-flops flip drops, drops of everything – dirty street water from the last thundery downpour, black sticky mud hidden in the grass that hasn’t dried yet, unmentionable liquids from the overflowing porta potty at the summer festival.
You can’t see them initially, but you can feel them – the gentle, upward shower of droplets that are synced with each step. It’s like there’s a whole team of wee fellas riding on the back of your flip-flops, loading up as you touch base, taking aim, waiting for the order to fire, and then bombarding you with the moisture of the moment. The result is the equivalent of the flip-flop walk of shame – shiny and clean from the front, bespattered and streaked from the back. This is where you guys should be extremely thankful for all that splatter-hiding leg hair.
This summer I’m determined to be done with the dust, dirt and doop. I want to look down at my 10 little foot fingers, and be dazzled by their cleanliness. I want my legs to look as lily-white from behind as they do from the front (I’m Irish – the ’40 shades’ thing happens to me if I try to get a tan). So here are a few suggestions as to how to keep flip-flop feet fresh, not filthy.
* Have a wet wipe to hand (or foot) at all times. I’ve been carrying these around anyway now for more than 21 years – I just don’t call them baby wipes any more, out of sensitivity to my men.
* Buy a travel toothbrush. This is for the more determined little cling-ons. More compact than a nailbrush and comes with its own travel case. Perfect for use in public restrooms – although expect a few funny looks if you’re not alone. Especially if you pretend to clean your teeth with it afterwards.
* Use black toe nail polish. Great for hiding the dirt – and the black toe-nails you’ll inevitably get wandering around in flip-flops.
* Have a discrete in-office spa session. All you need is a foldable dog’s water bowl, a large bottle of water, a drop of foot wash. Perfect when you have that hot date straight after work. And much easier than trying to wash your feet in the restroom sink.
* Avoid open sewers. You’d think this one might be obvious, but I’ve fallen for it (and in it) twice.
* The flip-flop freshie. This one hasn’t been invented yet, but I’m working on it. A disposable cleansing and moisturizing pad that sticks on to your flip-flop and absorbs all dirt, while keeping your feet shiny and soft. Would need to be black for obvious reasons. But then that would tone in nicely with your black toe nail polish.
* And when all else fails, wear dark sun-glasses at all times. At least, you won’t see the dirt, even if everyone else does.
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