Yenta Fashion Footwear Rant

When my mother first whispered to me that only courvas let their brastraps show, I didn’t judge the sudden legions of women with elastic bands playing peek-a-boo (even though personally, I wouldn’t leave the house in a tank top without my trusty racerback.)

I’ve learned to accept “bitch” as a term of endearmeant between straight men who aren’t in prison.

But there is one trend that I will never, ever, EVER get behind, and that is the acceptance of flip-flops as footwear for all occasions.

I work in the financial district in San Francisco, and y’know, I make an effort every day to look like … well, like I’m going to work. Not tubing down the Yuba River for Senior Ditch Day. Not on my way to a pedicure. Not avoiding touching the floor of the group shower stalls at summer camp where the scum was so thick that the soap was lost forever if you dropped it.

Some have argued with me that it’s a carefree look, evoking a “I’m going to the beach right after this meeting” kind of capriciousness. “And they’re so comfortable!” whined a friend of mine uneducated in the ways of refinement.

If my momma taught me anything, it’s that thin rubber slabs on the feet equals low � oh wait, sorry � NO class.

Even the Manolo agrees, and he’s the most superfantastic of all shoe experts.

They’re not even really shoes, for heaven’s sake � can you run in them? Do they provide any sort of arch support? Can you prevent yourself from faceplanting if someone accidently steps on the back? Will they protect your soles from searing pavement? They melt, people � I grew up in Arizona and I’ve seen it happen.

But really, my objection is aesthetic. This morning there was a young(er than me) woman in the elevator wearing a smart mini blazer over a darling flowery frock � and carrying a Coach purse, mind you � with Old Navy thongs on her feet. I’m not saying the bag absolutely match the shoes, but if she worked for me, she’d be fired. But she got out on the second floor, so she’s probably a lawyer. (A lazy one, too; she couldn’t make it up one flight of stairs in her “comfy” shoes?)

Oh, and the ones all dolled-up with glued-on sequins with a rubber heel, like something Zsa Zsa Gabor would wear to your grandpa’s pool party? F*in hideous, do you hear me?

Not suprisingly, I inherited my disdain of flip-flops from my mother, much like my hatred of pastels. But I had to learn the lesson. I was forbidden from even owning a pair, not even for the pool. So in third grade I traded my neighbor my hot dog-sized, Dr. Pepper-flavored Bonne Bell lip gloss on a string for her older brother’s brown pair. I hid them outside that night, wore my same old red sandals out of the house and changed by the hose, prepared to impress the playground with my whimsical new style.

By the time I made it to school, a half hour late, my feet were criss-crossed with pussing blisters. I had to go to the nurse, who emptied a box of band-aids on me and called my mother, who took those ugly brown flip-flops and threw them in the giant green dumpster next to the school where they belonged.

My feet healed, but obviously, my sensibilities did not.

Fortunately, El Yenta feels the same way. We may bicker about everything from who mopped last to why he insists upon getting his hair cut as if he’s enlisting tomorrow (honestly, hon, go to the fagele with the highlights next time!), we are united in our abhorrence of toe-splitters. It was his grandpa who instilled in him that they are for the beach, no exceptions, because anywhere else was “strictly for the goyim.” (Grandpa Fred died before we got engaged, but I know I would have loved him.)

Anyway, with two parents totally solid in their vehemence, it doesn’t take a genius (or even another parent) to guess what kind of shoes our son keeps begging for. El Yenta Man keeps refusing, but I think we should buy him a pair two sizes too large and teach him a lesson once and for all.

18 thoughts on “Yenta Fashion Footwear Rant

  1. Wow.
    I haven’t seen ‘courvas’ in print since my dad died. (I’m humming ‘Memories’ right now)

    I’m totally with you on the flip flops thing.
    I just spent the weekend in Chicago where women were wearing them with winter coats.

  2. I simply can’t wear flip flops. I might make the stretch for a pair of japanese geta, but otherwise if they have no ankle strap, they have no cling. No cling = can’t run in them.

    You can actually run in heels (you just stand on tiptoe to take the heel off the ground until you stop moving), but merely walking in flip flops is an exercise in making ‘slap-slap’ sounds while moving at a snails pace.

  3. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets blisters from the damn things. They’re ugly, they’re uncomfortable and they HURT! I’ve never seen the attraction of wearing them with everything.

  4. Having recently purchased a pair of five dollar flip flops in a pathetic attemmpt to look cool, and wearing said footwear for one day, I can state without hesitation that my IQ sank by 10% while wearing them.

  5. Flipflops are for spa and pool, and nowhere else. They’re simply not comfortable, they encourage bad walking habits, and I don’t understand why they’re such a fashion statement with my teenage daughter.

    However, I don’t ban them from their wardrobe lest she rebel. I figure she’ll eventually come to her senses.

  6. Thank you! I thought the husband and I were the only ones who felt that way!

    A new high in low, this past winter we saw them worn in the Oregon snow.

  7. Oh, someone sensible. I have one pair of solid black don’t-call-attention-to-themselves thongs (the only appropriate name for them, per my Florida Grandmama) that I wear to the spa on a once-monthly basis. I have a beautiful pair of red sandals with a slight heel that are just lovely, but which I never wear, because they feel too much like well-made, arch-supporting flip flops, making that hideous slappity-slap noise on the sidewalk. Argh.

  8. I’m waiting for this trend to go away. Waiting, waiting….

    Back in the fall of 2004, I taught a college course at a New Jersey college that is nowhere near a shoreline. EVERY FRICKIN STUDENT, male and female, wore flip-flops to every class as long as the weather permitted, and this just about drove me nuts. Yes, I’m old, and fashions were different when I was in college. Yes, I know students are very casual on campus. But there’s “casual” and there’s “acceptable only for the beach,” and that line seems to be gone now.

    I think I would die if I saw someone in a corporate setting wearing them.

  9. I, too, work in Downtown SF, one block up from The Gap World HQ. I have seen more well-dressed women wearing cheap zoris (what we called ’em out here when I was growing up!) than I care to see.

    The latest fashion look, if you can believe, is long-length, closely-fitted madras shorts…with high heels. No stockings, of course. How do these women get to and from BART without huge blisters? And were the lights out when they got dressed in the morning?

  10. I’m simply astounded at the amount of people who have come out of the woodwork to comment on this post – who knew flip-flop hating would galvanize the Yo,Yenta! lurkers?
    Thanks to all who have agreed that rubber shoes suck; funny how no one has defended them, nu?

  11. Your mother was smarter than you thought!
    I remeber when the orthopods went crazy and said they were ruining women’s feet (only gay guys would wear them then)because they were shifting the bone btwn the 2 toes. You are rt. on on this one. They’re tacky esp. because of the rhinestones!

  12. Flip-flops are a fashion travesty, and I commend you for having the courage to point this out. Especially in San Francisco, The Town That Taste Forgot.

  13. I had to laugh out loud when I read the content on this website, because I completely agree with all of it! I live in Metro Atlanta, and since it’s warm eight months of the year, that means more visual torture for people like me who cringe at seeing 99% of the population carelessly donning flip-flops. This trashy footwear has completely replaced sandals.
    The only way to kill this abuse of fashion is to fine every person wearing them (well, unless the person is at the beach or the pool, which is what the dang things were designed for in the first place).

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