Thursday, June 14, 2012

Team Muther vs Team Kaufman: Flip-flopping on the Issue

Boston Globe writer Christopher Muther has unwittingly sparked another round of heated debate amongst my circle of friends today. No, it's not about the unemployment rate or the high cost of housing. It's not about the way the Catholic church still treats women and it's not about Netanyahu or Chavez, or even Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman.

Some of you pro-floppers may want to click away from Low Budget Superhero now, because yes, dear reader, Mr. Muther's divisive write-up is about flip flops. 

Mr. Muther is talking to all you pro-floppers -- and you know who you are -- you who dream of going barefoot, yet you need to participate in society, and so you attempt to go as bare as possible, and so you have chosen to thwack to and fro, noble and confident, perched proudly upon your smelly polyethylene rubber and plastic coasters, your head held high and your awful, exposed toes dangling in warm rat juice and PBR puke. At least in Allston Rock City.

Of course the same moment I posted Chris Muther's piece, my buddy Amy (who was supposed to stop reading two paragraphs ago) countered with another Boston Globe article, penned by Haley Kaufman, entitled "Why Not Flip Flops?" To this I responded that we need to go toe to toe on this issue. We can even get shirts and hats proclaiming "Team Muther" and "Team Kaufman" and compete for supremacy.

I propose a footrace in the rain from Porter Square station to Central Kitchen in Central Square. It's an easy win, fellow anti-floppers. Half of Team Kaufman won't even make it out of Porter with both "things" on their feet, and they'll get delayed due to arguing over who is going to have to stay behind to explain to the MBTA why the escalator got broken again because another flip flop flew off and jammed the machinery. Even if some of Team Kaufman makes it fully shod, such as it is, through the petri dish that is Central Square station, they can't get into Central Kitchen anyway because that's a classy place and they want you to wear some goddamn shoes.

Get outta here in those things. Go to the beach.

To clarify, yet again, two things.

1. There IS a time and place for your flip flops. Public showers, the beach, picnics, barbecues, around the yard, around the house.

2. We flag-wavers of the anti-flop brigade are not talking about thong sandals, which have the same basic elements as a flip flop. We are talking about FLIP FLOPS. Get it straight, because part of the problem contributing to the great divide between pro- and anti-floppers is that some of you apply the term "flip flop" to any and all summer footwear and you burn hours of my time because I have to explain it for the eleventy-ninth time:

This is a style of sandal called a thong. Legitimate footwear manufacturers make these sandals, and they also make other, quality footwear. You'll find this type of thong sandal in many styles and colors by such brands as Merrell, Hi-Tec, Nike, Oofa, Sole. These are shoes, if you can please try to understand. They cost between $25 and $85, and they offer terms such as "arch support" and "cushion" and "stability" and "durability. The strap is wide, set far back so this one doesn't make that infuriating schlappy, thwacky sound as you shuffle down the sidewalks looking like you just gave up on life. You probably shouldn't wear these to work unless you work at the beach, but at least they're sort of a somewhat respectable summer accessory.
 By stark contrast, THIS is a flip flop.

This is not a shoe. This is not made for walking. You won't be able to even walk when you're old because you're ruining your feet and legs in this shit. This is a cheap flap of some sort of unholy rubbery, plasticky stuff that makes an annoying sound when you flop around trying to keep them on your feet by squeezing your toes together. It costs about $2.99 and is meant for public showers, the beach, picnics, barbecues, around the yard, around the house.

At this point, Team Kaufman and Team Muther are clearly never going to prevail over the other; you will flop around, and I will not. I will laugh at you, you will flex your stinky toes in summery freedom, and the world will continue to turn. To each his own, but you look like a ass.

The last words I will say on matter (for this summer at least) are below. And they are quotes, and they are from me. Old blog entries from eight years ago, so those of you who remember this happened don't have to go hunting for ancient writings of mine.

Not To Mention The Sound They Make
April 22, 2004

We've only had three or four days of warm weather and I'm already insane.

It's the flip flops.

I hate them. I just...I can't even formulate in words how ridiculously stupid these "shoes" are. Who is the person that declared as "footwear" this cheap sweaty rubber mat with plastic toe floss? It's just dumb apparel. And it's not even "dumb apparel" the way, say, low hanging jeans are dumb apparel, wherein it's a fad or symptom of the folly of youth.

The flip flop crosses age, race, culture and situation. All dressed up to go out and see a band? Sure, stick your foot on this coaster, you won't fall down the stairs. Heading for the greasy muck of the subway? Hey, there's a quarter inch of foam rubber between you and a million commuters' worth of crud, and don't worry about your toes falling off the edge, it's fashionable.

I'm sick of looking at gnarly old lady toenails. I'm tired of worked-in grime on hard heels. I don't want to see another set of chipped baby pink teenager toe polish. I'm done with hairy man insteps.

This is how the fervor of religion gets started. I don't want to "save" anyone or change the world. I just want you to go back home and put on some fucking shoes!

That's About Right
August 30, 2004

Oh my GOD I saw THE BEST THING in the Davis Square T-stop about a week ago.

You know my seething hatred of that fucking stupid piece of so-called footwear known as the FLIP-FLOP? You know how I think the look of the damn things, as dumb as THAT is, isn't even as bad as the offensive onomatopoetic fucking SOUND they make when the idiots who wear these .99 cent beach & shower shoes all day, every day, try to run for the train, climb stairs or in fact keep their shoes on their actual feet?

Well if you didn't know, now you do. They're everywhere, these people. They're falling downstairs, they're thwacking down the street, they're slipping on manholes, they're walking home with one bare foot as they lose one on the train tracks, one through the slats in a bridge overpass, one out the window of the car.

Well, there was quite a back-up on the stairs at the Davis T-stop and, getting closer, I could see that the sole problem (no pun intended) was the closure of one of the escalators. As I neared the bottom of the stairs, I saw something that made me LAUGH and LAUGH and LAUGH LAUGH LAUGH.

Goddamn flip-flop wedged into the works of the down-escalator. Some idiot crammed stuck their flip-flop and actually broke a whole entire escalator.

When will it end?

Oh yeah. Fall. Summer's almost over. Thank christ, get them out of my sight.

Until next summer.

Dammit Amy, I knew you would read this whole thing. Sorry dear. Everyone, Amy works out every day and I look like I am made of marshmallows; we aren't even in the same species, you gotta see this woman. I couldn't outrace Amy if she were encased in bubble-wrap and blindfolded, so the whole "footrace to Central" thing was purely for entertainment. Amy likes her floppies, and that's okay.  My opinion only. Rebuttals in the comments, go ahead, have fun.


  1. I've actually fallen down in Harvard square on the cobbles in my flip flops when a surprise rain shower came up. The only thing I can liken it to is imagine a sidewalk made entirely of hot Teflon coated pan, and you're wearing shoes made of butter. Flip flops were not meant for rain on smooth surfaces, I'll give you that. In a footrace, I would abandon my flops and run barefoot through the rat feces infested streets because my skin is a protective barrier against the world. As it's meant to be.

    You're right about wanting to be as close to barefoot as possible. It is my ultimate goal because I hate wearing shoes. To me there is nothing worse than a hot smelly sneaker. I will worship the flip flop untilthe day I die but get those fucking Crocs out of my face.

  2. I almost forgot about the time I fell off a boat in Costa Rica when I was trying to step out and my flops hit a wet rock. I came very close to tearing my body in half at the pelvis. I think at this point I'm arguing your side, but the moral of the story is that I still love flip flops even though they've almost killed me many times. I guess the trade off is free feet all the rest of the time when I'm not falling. I think they help me with my balance.

  3. I'm in love with both of those comments ten different ways! You are a wild one, Missuz.