Barefoot Brian has a rather interesting blog entry I thought I’d point you folks to, entitled . . . and your mind will follow.
It is a nice compilation of various thoughts on going barefoot.
It starts with a list of questions, and then goes on to address them (rather like a FAQ).
Go read it. I’ll wait, and I’ll be right here when you get back.
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I thought I’d riff a bit on one of his items:
Do I look silly? Does it really matter?
and his answer:
I do look silly sometimes – even I think so. Does it really matter? Not in the least. Why should I care what anyone else thinks of me? I’m comfortable with myself, even enough to like myself when even I think I look silly.
I also somehow think that going barefoot can look a bit silly. Or maybe I should say a bit odd.
Whenever I catch sight of myself in a store window, the barefoot thing does look a bit odd to me. I also find that I’m extremely conscious about the way I am placing my feet, noticing any bit of pronation, and even the ways I lift and put down my toes.
The gait thing may just be self-criticism, because when I closely watch other people walk I see the same sorts of quirks, and they look perfectly fine.
But even other barefoot people look a bit odd to me.
I suspect that’s a cultural thing. It’s merely a case of something we don’t see every day, and our minds are geared to notice, accept, and embrace a certain level of conformity. What I am saying is that going barefoot just is not the style. After all, not that long ago, we thought this was stylish:
And back then an older man in shorts and sandals would have looked ridiculous, while these days it is pretty unremarkable.
Though, there are still those who critizice it. For instance, here is Ann Althouse going off on John Boehner for playing golf in shorts:
and then there is P. J. O’Rourke explaining Why Adults Should Ditch The Shorts, Wear Suits. (I disagree with him, by the way—it’s the same “Who the hell is he?” to tell me what to wear, and it applies both to shorts . . . and bare feet.)
It is just a cultural thing of what we are familiar with, and it also highlights another of Barefoot Brian’s points:
A simple action, like going barefoot, can be interpreted as anti-social or rude by those whose idea of society is uniformity and conformity.
Actually, there are a few others on Brian’s list that apply.
Just like Brian doesn’t let what others think bother him (well, not much, anyways), neither do I. For one thing, I don’t have to look at myself much. :-) But I also realize that looking silly is just a mental abstract, and reflects on them way more than it reflects on me.
Besides, I’ve always said that if we really wanted to improve the way I appear to other people, we wouldn’t put shoes on my feet, we’d put a bag over my head. ;-)