Unless I was dreaming, this morning I saw an item on BBC Breakfast about socks. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t dreaming, because I saw the same item about three times (I’m on a course this week and my morning timing is completely shot), but I can’t find any evidence of it anywhere online now apart from on the Daily Mail website.
Clearly, I have morals, taste and integrity, so I’m not going to link you to the Daily Mail website. If you really want to read the original article, let me google that for you.
The gist of the item, which featured an interview with an eager looking man, who may or may not have been blessed with a splendid beard and eyebrows to match (in my head he is, but I might have made that up) was that not wearing shoes in the classroom helps children learn. Apparently it makes them more relaxed and ‘it’s very hard to bully anyone when you’re not wearing shoes’.
Now, if I’m honest, I think that anyone with that attitude can’t possibly have been anywhere near the internet (much less the Daily Mail website), a place awash with faceless, argumentative, numpties who it must be assumed spend large parts of their day sitting in tracksuit bottoms looking for things online that they can vehemently disagree with. I can’t imagine many of these people are capable of dealing with velcro, let alone shoelaces, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.
Leaving aside this, and the obvious practicalities about fire drills and the point at which sharing a room with 20 odd shoeless, hormonal teenage boys becomes hazardous to health, I think this is a stroke of pure genius. It started me wondering what other activities could be improved by the absence of footwear…
When you’re about seven, there’s a well known window of opportunity at any wedding. It’s after the speeches, when the lights have gone down, and your parents have had just enough free table wine to stop noticing exactly what you’re doing, and before they’ve had so much that the lure of ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘YMCA’ becomes irresistible.
You’re over-dressed (come on, you’re seven, wearing ANYTHING feels like being over-dressed), probably a bit sweaty, and high on fizzy drinks and whatever confectionary you were bribed with to stay quiet during the service.
The dancefloor beckons, polished, shiny, and oh so slippery. You kick off your shoes (they’re probably new, so pleading blisters is absolutely feasible), edge away from your parents’ table (aim for the table full of inebriated friends of the groom, they’ll enjoy this) get a good run up, and…
You get the picture.
Weddings would be so much better without shoes. Then we could all join in.
2. Supermarket shopping
To put this into context, my nearest supermarket is a large Asda with a massive catchment area. I rarely go in if I can help it (the slogan for their click and collect service should be ‘Asda prices without the Asda people’). It’s always full of people with no spatial awareness whatsoever. That’s really all I can say about the clientele without being rude.
If, at the door, you were made to remove your shoes (possibly checking them in at some sort of kiosk, like when you go bowling), the whole thing would be much more civilised. People would be more careful with their trollies, because you’d be able to exact a retribution much more painful than a tut and a disapproving look. Supermarkets would be cleaner, quieter, and, on reflection, breeding grounds for verrucas and athlete’s foot.
Might need to rethink that one.
3: Televised sport
Admittedly I’m mainly thinking about football here, where the amount of pointless rolling around on the floor every time an opposing player so much as breathes in the same direction is, frankly, an embarrassment, but imagine the fun you could have with other sports. Professional basketball in socks would be a much more challenging endeavour, and there would be scope for the addition of many more Olympic events (see ‘Weddings’, above).
4. Job interviews
Take a look at the guy in the picture above. What are you thinking?* Me too. You can tell a lot about someone from their socks.
Imagine how much more effective job interviews would be if everyone took their shoes off. We could just walk in, do a quick sock comparison, realise that my George at Asda, £2.99 for 5 (with the days of the week on them) are never going to be compatible with your Joseph Turner, 89% wool, £16.99 a pair argyles, and save ourselves the bother.
5. Work in general
I’m probably not the best judge, because I will readily admit that my ideal job would be one where trousers are optional, but if it works for primary school children, why wouldn’t it work for adults? I mean obviously, if you’re a bricklayer or something, it’s not very practical. But I basically sit at a desk all day, with the occasional pause to secure more tea, more cake, or deal with the obvious after effects of the aforementioned tea. All of which I could happily (and safely) do in my socks. Except maybe for the last one. Although I’m sure providing those little blue overshoes that they sometimes make you wear at swimming pools would work in such unpleasant situations.
Right. Who do I need to write to to make this happen?
*If you’re thinking, ‘he looks a bit like someone I know’, then we probably used to work together, and I was thinking the same thing.