Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: First Footing

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  • Carolyn Skelton,

    Some people in NZ also associate bare feet with poverty. One winter when was in primary school, I resisted my mother's intensive pleas for me to wear shoes to school. I was getting too much pleasure from the barefoot experience, but I think for most folks around me, the Kiwi barefoot thing was for summer.

    Eventually my concerned teacher took me aside and asked me if my parents could afford to buy me shoes. I think somehow the message was conveyed to my parents and, not surprisingly, my mother was mortified that we were considered so impoverished, and her so uncaring.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    Phew. I've thought for a long time that perhaps my dislike of shoes/footwear in general was weird...glad I'm not alone!

    I just don't get the need for mountains of shoes...you can only wear one pair at a time! I have a strict '2 pairs max' policy; one pair for work/formal occasions, and another pair for casual which normally only see concerts etc. 50 pairs? That's craaaaazy (and expensive?)

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Shoeless Thoughts:

    1. When my kids were much younger we had friends visiting, one was from England and he visibly winced at our kids running up and down our gravel drive in bare feet. He couldn't believe that they could do it.

    2. In Spain earlier this year. Shoeless is very very bad and our almost constantly shoeless kids got a lot of laughter and pointing from the local kids who were all immaculately dressed, including shoes.

    3. Also in Spain. The young kids and teens on the metro looking for gullible tourists to rip off would always start with a shoe check. Fancy, shiny shoes, especially shiny white ones beloved of a certain type of tourist meant sure money. Beat up Converse sneakers with ripped jeans, not so much.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    50 pairs? That's craaaaazy (and expensive?)

    Crazy it may well be, but expensive it is not. I am also a secondhand and sales-hound. My last pair of shoes cost $10!

    (It should be noted that a lot of my shoes are vintage and aren't actually worn very much. I just like the fact of them. It's like all the handbags, or all the stuff in the china cabinet. They're pretty. Those black patent leather 70s boots with the three buckles at the back? Swoon.)

    the sort of walk Jessica Rabbit would have after joining the Wermacht

    Descriptive phrase of the week!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    2nd hand shoes? Ewwwww...

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Karen White,

    I'll see Danielle's 50 pairs & raise by 30. Yep - at least 80 pairs at last count, summer & winter. I Love Shoes. New shoes. 2nd Hand shoes. And boots. Sandals. Espadrilles. Jandals. You name it - I have one (or three).
    However, also being a Mt Maunganui beach kid, (there's a bit of a swag of us here it seems) I like nothing better than feeling the grass under my feet & the sand between my toes. Supermarket vinyl is lovely & cool on barefeet in summer, after walking there on th ehot pavement.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    2nd hand shoes? Ewwwww...

    Women's feet always smell like flowers. It's genetic.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    Women's feet always smell like flowers

    Hahaha judging by personal experience there must be some pretty...ummm, how to put this nicely...fragrant flowers around!

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Ah Emma, what a nostalgic nerve you've hit.

    Such freedom brings risk of course.

    I used to work for DOC and once had the pleasure of doing some hut maintenance at Masons Bay on Stewart Island. After hours we used to build a driftwood bonfire and frolic on the beach till dark. Unfortunately one evening the frolicking turned feral when I stepped on a buried boning knife and sliced a good inch and a half into my very sole. I didn't notice until the next step when it opened up and swallowed a mountain of sand. Cue minor panic (we were two days walk from any medical assistance) and a quick application of water and bandage on the outside, and whisky and panadol on the inside. Colleague raced off to get within radio distance of help.

    Next afternoon a plane landed on the beach to whisk me off to the good doctors at Halfmoon Bay who proceeded to insert dozens and dozens of internal stitches and 10 big fat ones to close the impressive gash.

    Even got my name in the paper.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    2nd hand shoes? Ewwwww...

    Think of them as well-priced loot from the battlefield of life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I just don't get the need for mountains of shoes...you can only wear one pair at a time!

    How many pairs of pants do you own? :)

    Now Hadyn, that can't be true

    My owning heaps of shoes or me not wanting to do things if barefoot?

    It's totally true. I can't even vacuum the house unless I put on shoes first. :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Lauredhel Hoyden's Shoes / Not Shoes post seems apropos.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    How many pairs of pants do you own? :)

    I wash my pants way more often than I wash my shoes.

    I have a graduated scale with my shoes.

    1. New and fairly tidy, good to wear to work, out for dinner etc.
    2. Starting to get a bit rough, good for weekends and going out any place not nice.
    3. Holes. Can't throw these away until they fall off my feet, good for walking the dogs and mucking around in the garden.

    My problem is that I've got about 6 pairs of shoes at stage 3, and it's taking ages to completely break them. I'm completely fundamentally opposed to throwing them away until I have gotten every last step out of them. As more shoes move into that stage, I'm less able to focus on one and wear it out completely.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Jacob Powell,

    Wow, who would have thought there could be this level of solidarity formed around an aversion to footwear?! But I find myself thinking of you as a kindred spirit Emma, though I am in shoes more often than not nowadays. I share a number of your stories:

    I've also had to sign waivers on occasion, declaring that I won't sue the movie theatre should I slash open my delicate little bare sole on a particularly vicious piece of popcorn

    Check: I've had to sign a waiver or two in my time; one particular cinema flatly refused to let me in and the manager wasn't available to discuss the matter. I've had similar issues in the past with taking my skateboard into movie theatres too even though it was, at the time, my primary mode of transport.

    That's not even slightly weird compared to the apparent requirement for me to wear shoes while flying.

    Check again: I also discovered this upon trying to enter an aeroplane a number of years back. Luckily purchasing a pair of 'flight socks' (?!?) were enough to get me onboard that time. Keeping them on during the flight and while exiting, however, were apparently not a requirement - though I suspect my bare feet may have had a role in the drug search/questioning at the other end of the journey. I also find that bare feet help to bolster my interest factor with instore security people, though an off-white complexion may exacerbate this level of special attention...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    or me not wanting to do things if barefoot?

    that bit.

    Lauredhel Hoyden's Shoes / Not Shoes post seems apropos.

    that's scary. Some of those shoes, I would wager, go against the Geneva Convention.Or something. I don't know if there is any correlation between my having ugly feet that don't fit many sorts of shoes and my dislike of shoes, but it wouldn't take a genius to say that that wouldn't be too far from accurate. Why, then, has no-one made the link between women hating their feet and loving those huge high stiletto-y things? God, it makes my bunions ache just to think of wearing them!

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Check: I've had to sign a waiver or two in my time; one particular cinema flatly refused to let me in and the manager wasn't available to discuss the matter.

    I also discovered this upon trying to enter an aeroplane a number of years back. Luckily purchasing a pair of 'flight socks' (?!?) were enough to get me onboard that time

    I'd be interested to hear from someone in the know about the legal status of this. If I've PAID to fly, can they really refuse to deliver that service on the basis of my feet?

    According to the barefooters site, this kind of thing isn't legal in the States:

    Having bare feet in public or in a place of business open to the public (including restaurants) is not against any law. (It is also not against the law to drive barefoot anywhere in the United States)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    It's totally true. I can't even vacuum the house unless I put on shoes first. :)

    dude, that's a level of weird i'm not prepared to accept. i'm going to suggest to your other half she hide or your shoes and muss the place up to see if it'll drive you into some kind of existential crisis.

    me otoh? three-ish pairs. work, good, not. oh, and jandals.

    i'm currently cycling two pairs through the "good" part of the wardrobe on account of the "not good" pair seeming (like kyles') to take forever to fall to bits.

    adidas, ftw.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    I too am a big fan of bare feet and in my younger unemployed years could go several weeks without wearing shoes. The only down side would be walking from Grey Lynn to the Gluepot for a gig only to be turned away at the door as I had forgotten to put shoes on.

    My party trick was stubbing out cigarettes or holding lighter flames to the bottom of my feet. I forgot the basic rules of physics after a while (that heat can conduct) and held a lighter flame for a length of time till I could just feel the heat. I then spent several painful minutes as more heat continued to conduct through my non nerved callous into my sensitive dermis.

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Does anyone have, or know anyone who has, tattoos on their feet?

    I've always had a hankering...

    I tried once in Lombok but they told me only girls did that.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I tried once in Lombok but they told me only girls did that.

    On the feet is one of the most painful places to get a tattoo, like hands and neck. You catch me in the middle of ghost-writing a tattooing e-book. I'm actually planning next week's column to be about getting a tattoo.

    But not on my feet.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    On the feet is one of the most painful places to get a tattoo

    which would be painful, because along the spine was *agony*.

    but to answer michael's question. the only person i know with a foot tattoo is a woman. so there's 100% from a representative sample.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    There was a wonderful line on the Simpsons last night.
    Marge, searchiong through a closet. "Three pairs of shoes? That's some fetish"

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    " searchiong" ? hmm, wonder what that means?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    which would be painful, because along the spine was *agony*.

    *blushes* and the spine.

    And that takes us to four! Four glorious PA writers* with tattoos. That I know of...

    Anyway. Tattoos next week. Feet, people, feet.

    *Once a PA writer, etc.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    On a Logistics Exercise in Samoa heaps of guys got bands tattooed on their arms. One however got a unicorn on his ankle, which he found to be a mistake and the rest of us thought very odd.

    The standard wasn't high and they quickly became known as tire-treads.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

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