Flip-flops are on my mind this morning because I spent part of the weekend trying to find a pair of semi-toe-covering summer sandals that are not flip-flops but still look feminine instead of like Clarks. I know what I'm looking for in my head, but my search came up empty. No matter where I looked, it was flip-flops or some other version of flip-flops. I couldn't get away from these synthetic little strips of podiatric purgatory that I've had it in for ever since I was 10 years old and wore thongs* too long one summer day and rubbed away the skin between my big toe and second toe. It was painful and seemed to take forever to heal, as foot injuries often do.
That's one of the reasons I've set a rule with my own kids: flip-flops are fine for the pool, the beach or the locker room. They are not fine, well, pretty much everywhere else. My kids know if they start thwacking their way to the car en route to a non-approved destination, then I will make them change their shoes. It's not just comfort that I have in mind, though. I want them to start seeing a few distinctions in appropriate dress, because someday they will start going to a job. I want to feel like I'm doing their future managers (and customers) a favor by teaching them what not to wear.
Besides the physical pain, agonized walking patterns and lack of arch support, there's just something about flip-flops that grosses me out. It's not just the sound, it's looking down to see someone's scaly, dry feet spilling over the sides of a .99 pair of rubbery, barely-there soles. Let's make that $17.99 barely-there soles, since these trendy slices of comfort food for the sole have been going upscale with their rhinestones, beading and tassels. Maybe I'm weird, but I don't particularly enjoy seeing a total stranger's toes. I don't even know your name, but I already know that you have a bunion and need to apply aloe vera. I know, I know ladies: you just shelled out for an expensive mani-pedi and you want to show off your sparkling bipedal paws, but it doesn't mean that other people necessarily want to see them. Sorry if the truth isn't a walk in the park.
Actually, I don't think I'm the only one footing a disdain for flip-flops, since a summer 2011 Adecco survey found flip-flops top summer's workplace fashion no-no list. A full 80% of the 1,000 Americans Adecco surveyed last summer said that flip-flops do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- belong at work. Ever. Even on casual Friday in August.
Flip-flops are still a big no-no at work this summer, too. So if you're thinking about wearing them (I'm looking at you, Millennials) think twice -- especially if you're an intern or already have one foot in the door toward a promotion. Flip-flops are not professional. They're just not.
And department stores: I'll be waiting for that shipment of cute, semi-closed-toe sandals. You know what I'm talking about, even if I don't.
*The old-timie word for flip-flops. Rocking chair not included.