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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Happy Space

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Originally published September 19, 2008

Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group – East Bay.

It’s hard to believe what I talk about as a mother. Frequently, I talk about flip-flops. I’m referring to the backless, flat sandal with the strap that goes between your toes. It’s not something I choose to talk about, but something I get stuck talking about – the same way the strap gets stuck to your toes on steamy summer days.

I talk about flip-flops a lot because my kids wear them a lot. Whatever the season, outing or occasion, I can count on my daughters to show-up in flip-flops, giving me the occasion to talk about them.

“You need something better than flip-flops to wear out to dinner,” I advise. “With all the walking you’ll be doing in the city, you shouldn’t wear flip-flops,” I assert. “You can’t wear flip-flops in the rain,” I argue.

Now, I have nothing personal against the flip-flop. In certain circumstances, it’s the ideal footwear. Nothing’s easier to slip off, before you slip into the pool. For walking across hot sand, it’s the cool choice. I can also think of no better way to show off your latest toe ring.

As shoes go, however, flip-flops are definitely lacking. Most noticeably, they are lacking tops, sides and backs. Without these basics, flip-flops are not cut-out for the normal rigors of life. If you’ve ever tried chasing a runaway dog while wearing flip-flops or climbing a kitchen stool to reach the Bundt pan while wearing flip-flops, you know what I mean.

You also can’t overlook the noise factor — the unmistakable slapping sound of the sole of the flip-flop hitting your heel as you walk. It can’t be called rhythmic and soothing like the sound of waves slapping against the shore. It’s more like the sound of your hand slapping your arm while swatting mosquitoes on a hot summer night.

And, I just don’t see the fashion appeal of flip-flops. My daughters wear them so much, because they like the way flip-flops look. But, all I see is a lackluster design – flat, shapeless soles with a couple of straps – that shows-off people’s feet, arguably not everyone’s best feature.

Sure, flip-flops have a wide variety of looks. They come with sequins for the diva. For the preppy, they have alligators on them. Some have stripes on the straps for a nautical look. If you’re into high fashion with cash to spare, they even come festooned with grosgrain bows and gold charms.

But, no matter how you dress-up it up, a flip-flop can let you down. It’s like a great bikini I used to wear summers long ago. As good as it looked, it wasn’t dependable — I could never be sure I’d still be wearing the top after diving to the bottom of the pool. Now, that was something to talk about.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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