I have never been a foot person. Not that I think it matters much in this particular case, but I thought I should be open about this fact. I’m not exactly grossed out by them or anything, I’m just not a fan of how stinky and sweaty and, well, ok, gross they can be. My husband (and my ex before him) has been known to launch his dirty socks at me in an attempt to make me squeal in terror and run from the room. He, of course, thinks it’s funny as hell.
Now, I realize some people keep their feet perfectly clean. I’m usually one of those people. But then again, I’m the sort of person who has to take a shower the second I wake up in order to avoid feeling all oogie, even when I haven’t sweated at all during the previous 24 hours. But I also know that not everyone is as concerned with hygiene as I am. I also know that while feet get “washed” every day, for most people I’m pretty sure that means just standing in the shower with water brushing the tops and bottoms as they shower.
Most people don’t scrub their feet on a daily basis the same way they do their arms and legs. And feet get a lot more wear and tear then arms and legs. Especially in the summer when people are in sandals, Crocs and flip flops. After all, while regular shoes and socks make your feet sweat an awful lot (and therefore smell an awful lot), sandals and the like not only mean feet sweat, but that sweat is also mixed in with dirt and other unsavory bits.
Feet carry icky fungi like athlete’s foot, ring worm and nasty toenail goop. Not that other body parts don’t carry their share of diseases, but feet infected by fungus spread that nasty stuff all over every place they walk. One of the first memories I have of college was going through orientation and being told by multiple student leaders to make sure I always wore flip flops in the shower to avoid such nastyness. I had images of fungus ingrained in my brain, so I pretty much wore my flip flops every second I was in the dorm.
I bring all this up because the summer seems to breed more than just fungus. It breeds an absolute lack of good hygiene and good sense in people. Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a disgustingly large number of people participating in a variety of public activities without their shoes on.
Now, I’m all for going barefoot in your own backyard. Heck, I don’t even mind it so much when you are in a public park, having a picnic on a blanket, surrounded by an ocean of grass. But there is a reason businesses put up signs that say things like, “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” It’s because going barefoot in 99% of public places is an actual public health issue and shouldn’t happen.
But for some reason once the temperature rises a few degrees, there are certain people in this world who feel the need to strip their feet naked and run amongst us normal, shoe wearin’ folk. And I don’t like it one bit.
A few weeks ago while sitting at my favorite cafe, I noticed a couple at one of the outside tables. The reason they were so memorable was because the man had his shoes completely off and propped up on the woman’s chair. This turned my stomach. Granted, I never eat at the tables outside (they only have two chairs and I never get to the cafe without at least one child in tow), but other people do. And here was this guy rubbing his feet, which could be carrying any degree of ick, all over the arm of the chair that someone not related to him was going to not only be sitting in later, but also eating lunch in. That is just wrong.
I wanted to ask the man what in the world possessed him to think it was ok to disrobe his nasty, naked feet where people eat. Of all the places in the world feet probably shouldn’t be let out to breathe, I’m thinking anywhere with food is bad.
To make matters worse, a few nights ago I went out to see a movie with friends. The theater was packed, so everyone was crammed in together. A couple decided to squeeze in to the empty seats next to me and while the girl went off to the concession stand, I noticed the guy slowly pulling his shoes out of his Crocs. I just wanted to scream at him. I mean, they are Crocs…they are full of holes. There is no way his feet could have been that hot.
Just as I was noticing his feet rubbing against the ground near me, my BFF was pointing out the two guys next to him, both of whom had their shoes off too. Only these guys had their naked feet up on the rails in front of them. Rails that a great multitude of people would no doubt touch later on that evening. I just imagined all the possible diseases people could be picking up and transferring to their mouths as they grabbed the rail for support and then put popcorn into their mouths. I shudder thinking about it.
Even worse was that I saw something moving behind my head and when I turned to look at the back row, there was yet another naked foot dangling. I was surrounded on all but one side. Thank God my BFF has the sense to keep her shoes on in social situations. Not only to keep them on, but to be thoroughly grossed out by the people around us.
Just when I thought I was at my feet breaking point, today while at the children’s museum, I saw a kid, who was no doubt about 10 years old running all around the new exhibit without any shoes on at all. His mother was just sitting there, watching, not thinking anything was wrong with the situation. I was sort of amazed she had hers on. Either way though, I was grossed out.
I don’t know what is going on out there, but put your shoes back on people. It’s not only gross, but a health hazard. There are health codes for a reason, please observe them.