Monday, May 24, 2010

If the Shoe Fits . . . For Goodness Sake, Keep it on!

We’ve all seen it a hundred times before: girls at their homecoming dance with their high heels tossed under the banquet table so they can dance with their friends without twisting an ankle, a chick who has had one too many Rum Runners and walks down the street holding her stilettos in her hand so she can keep her balance, or any number of reasons that women take off their shoes in public and parade around barefoot because their shoes hurt too much or restrict them in some way.

You will never EVER see me do this.

No offense to those of you who wish to toss those shoes off in public if you didn’t have the time to break them in or underestimated the height of those heels, but that happens to be one of those quirky little things that I simply cannot bring myself to do. It’s for a combination of reasons.

If you know me, as many of you who read this do, you will know that I have a slight germaphobia, so sauntering down the street barefoot is not high up on my list of sanitary activities. Mostly, though, I think it stems from my girly side of liking to look put together and being fully dressed up with no shoes just kind of ruins that effect. It just screams, “SOMETHING WENT WRONG HERE!” I love high heels, and even when I lived in New York City and had to walk up and down stairs to the subway, hop across subway grates and run through the pouring rain on the slick city streets, I never stopped wearing them. And I can assure you, I never took them off if they hurt and carried them with me while I trapsed around barefoot. If my foot was broken, bleeding and blistered, I would soldier on (and incidentally, I have).

In contrast, here in Singapore, I have found that not only are the locals completely comfortable being seen shoe-less, they like to take the opportunity where ever they happen to be sitting, to perform a full pedicure if the mood strikes them. I cannot explain how many times in seven months I have witnessed men clipping their toenails on the MRT.

The gentleman (the term “gentleman” used loosely here) pictured below was so enthralled with his own feet on the train ride that he had no idea I was just snapping picture after picture of him as he removed his shoes, itched and scratched his feet, rearranged his socks and massaging his toes.

Women, for the most part, keep their shoes on, which is a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. But seriously, the men just go at it with no inhibition. If there is a place to sit, Singaporean men seem to take that as the opportunity to tend to any and all foot irritants. And frankly, it doesn’t stop there. I was walking off set the other day as Betty Boop and a man was actually changing his pants next to a bench in the park as hundreds of people wandered the streets. He was just standing in his tighty whities changing his pants like it was the most natural place in the world to accomplish that.

Oh Singapore, if you are reading this, I just want you to know that there is at least one person in this country that would greatly appreciate if you kept your feet to yourself. By all means, when you get home, go to town on those bad boys, but on the MRT . . . keep your socks on. I promise you, I will return the favor, and I’ll be in some snazzy Betsy Johnson four-inch heels, so if I can do it, you can do it.


  1. You Tube "auntie, feet, mrt, uncle, Singapore, and any combination thereof" for supporting evidence.

  2. oh my god! Great visuals! yeah, the idea of public decency here is ridiculous!

  3. What a great blog... I need to clip my toenails now... mmmm.

  4. ICK ICK ICK. Such an asian thing to do.

  5. When I taught in China I had to add no picking your toe nails in class to the classroom rules. And it wasn't just the boys.

  6. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。......................................................................

  7. I wish I knew what the comments in another language said!!! Blogspot needs a translation feature!

  8. The first one is pure spam.

    The second one says "If one person's mind can have two conflicting things, it makes this person become valuable". But the elipses at the end look like spam.

    The third is an idiom, "If you depend on the mountain, the mountain will collapse. If you depend on people, people become old. Depending on yourself is best". Meaning don't depend on anybody. Just do it yourself. But it's also spam.

  9. Thank you Mia. Good to know I have an avid Mandarin spam following. lol