This is just a silly little comic strip. But it is still fun.
It is from Saturday’s Cul de Sac.
I’m afraid that this joke has always been on my repertoire of humor. And my kids have perfected the blank stare.
But there’s a bit of truth in it. Feet do not naturally smell; that is entirely a result of wearing shoes. As I’ve said so many times before, yeasts and bacteria and fungi really, really like the warm, warm moist insides of shoes, so those are what you are smelling when people take their shoes off.
We have sweat glands all over our bodies, but they are denser on our foreheads, palms, and soles. So, yes, our feet do sweat more than most other parts of our bodies.
But don’t let that allow anybody to dump on you that you are leaving contaminated sweat on their floors. If you regularly go barefoot, it’s just uncontaminated sweat, just like the stuff coming off your hands. And nobody ever complains when you touch things with your hands. Additionally, if you wore gloves all the time, your hands would stink just as badly as feet that wear shoes all the time.
And while they sweat more than other parts of our bodies, it’s not that much more. Similarly, we never hear people complaining when our bare arms or shorted legs touch furniture. (And to get gross about it, those bare arms and legs are also leaving little flecks of dead skin around. Again, nobody complains.)
[In the above I'm talking eccrine sweat glands, the ones for cooling. There is another set, the apocrine sweat glands, in our pubes and armpits that only really develop after puberty. Those have another purpose . . . (and people should complain if you are rubbing them on their floors).]
I also want to mention that I really like Cul de Sac. Very unfortunately, the author, Richard Thompson, announced in 2009 that he had Parkinson’s disease, and he had to stop drawing the strip in September of 2012. You can catch his blog here.
One final related note on two of our favorite fictional barefooters: Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
You of course know that the lived at Bag End in the Shire. But do you also know what a cul de sac is? In French, sac is just a “bag”, and the cul is the “ass”. Or the “bottom” (“bottom of the bag”), or the “end”. A cul de sac is just the “Bag End”. So Tolkien has Bilbo and Frodo living, translatively, on a cul de sac.
And you can be sure, master linguist that he was, he was fully aware of that (and assuredly did it on purpose).