Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gibbs & Toes


It was a freakishly warm 73 degrees in the Nation's Capital today. More fresh water spilling from the Greenland glaciers and Antarctic ice sheets...but that's all liberal hoakum anyway, right Fox News? The unworldiness of the sun and swoon truly fixed in my brain at the occurence of two events today: the re-appearance of flip-flops, and the resignation of Redskins coach Joe "Holy Ghost" Gibbs.

To the feet: first, I am NOT a Quentin Tarantino-level foot fetishist. yeah, I love the wamr weather and I love to shrimp, but I am not obessed with all things pedal. Second, as you fanboys and girls know, I teach at Georgetown and today all the lil' Hoyas and Hoya-ettes were crawling out of cabs or Mom's soon-to-be gas guzzled out of existence Toyota Tundras. Spring semester starts Wednesday. Well, on-campus the flop-flops, the shower sandals, the genuine and knock-off Birkies all materialized, like those first buds of dogwood in March. OK, so maybe I do notice piggies--on females of course. Nat Turner is straight (unlike my namesake in the William Styron book, giving handjobs to fellow bondsmen in between killing whitey and seeing the Angel Gabriel in the cumulus clouds). Most of these piggies are on younger chicks but a few in my age group shod themselves with the open toe to greet the sunshine. Most of these piggies haven't seen pumice or pedicure since before Halloween, however, so it was a bit like barefoot Dawn of the Dead. Same with the dudes: in the Leavey Center, whilst getting my personal pizza and Coke my superhero nose noted that the cheese wasn't coming from the Pizza Hut ovens...

That said, when did the flip-flop (mostly for girls) and sandals in general become de rigeur for college students and the whole damn American public? Is it a function of what Washingtonian Tim Gunn calls the "slobification of America?" When I was a tot, flip-flops were for surfers and the Viet Cong. Sandals were sort of silly things you only saw in horrendous old Polariods of backyard BBQs and family Reunions. Men hardly everwore them...African American wore them only if they also wore dashikis or some such other 70s attire...and even in my family which is half-West Indian and on Jamaica all you really saw on males were those sandals that looked like sawed-off bedroom slippers!
In college in the warm weather the preppies wore Topsiders and Bass Weejuns. I guess it was around the late 80s when things started to change. Was it the Teva invasion? Please, tell me?
I have nothing but sandals in my closet, and if you'd have asked me when I was 19 that I would, I would have laughed and said, "What, did I become a fag by age 40?" [I was crass back then]. I have two vintage pairs of Birkenstocks upon which I STILL get compliments--from dudes!!! I have flip-flops. I get pedicures. Pedicures! Two a year, but that's more than most men got in a lifetime. My wife has one pair of flip flops but says the demand for pedicures monthly in the summer has dented her wallet. My 8 and 10 year old nieces and my wife's 19 and 24 year old nieces have about 30 pairs of flop flops among them and get pedicures all the damn time!
Now, a few feet on campus did look OK. Young women these days seem to keep their toes painted even if their hair and make-up are jacked. And indeed some Georgetown students do spend Christmas in Palm Beach, or Harbour Island Bahamas, or Maui and thus have the blush to go along with the pampered feet. But day-um...it's 70 degrees but it's still January. Keep your UGG boots on!
At the Hoya bookstore, checking to see how much students gripe about the cost of my texts, I ran into a student taking one of my classes and yeah, she had on the uniform of jeans, a mini tee and a scarf wrapped around her neck. Now, she's an "older" grad student but still part of their generation, not mine. After a battery I'm not a freak precusory putting at ease statements I asked her why people wear these things, even in January. The answer shocked me. Oh yeah, there was the notion of comfort, convenience, etc.--but then came the graveman, the thesis, the gist: "They seem to embody informality...like I'm not all into myself or stuffy, and I'm comfortable with others." Hmmm. VERY interesting. Comments?

From flip-flops to stable boots, can Joe Gibbs be any more out of touch with the carnival monster pro football has become? Not just the players, but the business. This is the era of vapid white pretty boys like Brady, thugs like Pacman, and owners like Dan Snyder. If Gibbs weren't a wingnut Christian and thus dependent on the Jews to trigger events leading to rapture of he and Mike Huckabee and Janet Parschall et al, he'd have nothing to do with someone like Napoleon Danny. His coming was heralded even by George W. Bush, and you see the irony that the years of hidnsight entails. Now he's kaput, accepting the usual consultant position that only middle aged white men seem to get when they are canned or can themselves, and Little Lord Fauntleroy's free to rip-off and rape the fans without an icon like Gibbs as a foil. Of course, who needs a foil? The average cracker from Spottsylvania who comes up for the tailgates in Landover whilst cursing the Section 8 negroes beyond the fence is getting raped by Bushism, and gellfully takes it. Why should that change now vis. the Redskins? Gibbs is likely relieved. Now he can go back to a town that truly revels in his suburban hayseed/urban redneck "Let's pray on it" persona--Charlotte (don't let the skyscrapers and Bob Johnson fool you, folks...)

Who will the Skins hire should Greg Williams not prove to be a decent stop-gap? Danny might go after Bill Cowher, but Cowher's better suited for my Ravens. Jimmy Johnson? Yeah you heard it. This is the era where American Gladiator is the NUMBER ONE rated TV show so while whe intelligent folk watch The Wire, so why not? We are, after all--especially among the young--a bunch of folk who'll break out the flip-flops in January. Smell the cheese?

16 comments:

Lisa said...

I'm not a football fan so I don't know why Joe Gibbs is so important, but yes, ALL people under 25 over-use flip flops and will wear them even if it isn't 70 degrees outside. That is the only difference between these young white girls and sisters. Sisters will have them leather boots with the four inch spike heels on as soon as the temp. dips below 55. They will be hot and hurt like hell, but we won't look like we're homeless. Have you seen these little white girls feet turn red as apples in the cold?

I think the trend started in the 90s because of the dotcom people generally loosening standards of dress. But maybe you are right that the Teva sandals made the breakthrough?

IndispensableDestiny said...

When you were 19 you were wearing Sperry Topsiders, Docksiders or some other boat shoe. We all did.

Sandals are very Euro. They've worn them since the Romans were roughing up the place.

BloggersDelight said...

Thank you, Mr. Chambers for taking the time to visit our corner of the blog-world and taking the time to leave a comment. We would be Delighted if you accept our invitation to be a contributor.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Sandals might be Euro but beach shoes/flip flops 24/7 are not.

I live in So. California but I'm moving to Rome in a few months. I know I will have to step my game up. I am so used to dressing like a slop here. I wear things to work, like flip flops, that I would never wear when I lived in NYC.

I agree with Mr. Gunn. I am all for comfort but come on. Out here it's okay to roll up into a nice restaurant for dinner in shorts and a baseball cap. Remember that girls championship team that went to the White House wearing flip-flops? WTF? The White House had to issue a dress code for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Agreed regarding flip flops. I am tired of seeing these teenagers wearing pajamas and flip flops to movies and the mall. Where are the parents?

Perhaps this started in the 80s but not due to the DOT.COM revolution. I think it was California and Florida culture undercutting the big hair of the 80s and then the Seattle grunge thing mixing with it. However you are right, before that no one really wore sandals. Your comment about surfers and the Viet Cong was very funny!

lance williams, sr said...

Bruh, Cowher's not going to the Ravens. While the Skins are a bad mix for him, the one thing the Skins have that the Ravens don't is Sndyer's cash. The Redskin name and tradition don't mean shee-it anymore on account of this Mighty Midget, but money talks! The Ravens are going to have to grab some bigtime college coach because Snyder will snatch any meaningful pro coach up first.

Ditto on the flip flops. Try looking at couple billion gay men also wearing these things despite the raw weather! That's life in the Bay Area.

Lola Gets said...

Part of me wants to say that this flip-flop phenemonon is due to the rise in personal hygene - ie EVERYbody gets pedis now, and EVERYbody wants to show them off! Back when I was young (late 80s-90s) we didnt do the flip flop thing this hard, and we also didnt get pedis on the regular either! But now foot adornment is de rigeur (as is crotch horticulture, but thats for another time), I guess footwear has to fall in step (hehe).

L

Anonymous said...

Your wife must be usd to your humor. If were married to you I would keep you on lock-down because all I can see in my mind is you imagining the toes of every little co-ed on that campus! The fact that you used the term "shrimping" tipped me off! Freak alert! Freak alert! However you wife is also lucky, because it's tough to find a man who can do them piggies justice!

Chicama Vineyard said...

What is shrimping? I suppose that is NOT what we do on Gulf Coast?

Black Forest Booty said...

Thanks for the clarification anonymous! I guess Chambers is a FREAK. I thought shrimping meant that you add mayo and some chopped onions and make a salad! :-)

Seriously, I attended an HBCU some time ago, but we only wore sandals in the summer and we did our toes ourselves or went to get a pedi. However, you would never see anyone in sandals in the winter (even it was warm). I have been on the Georgetown campus, the Princeton campus and at even at the malls when it is cold outside or unseasonably warm and these kids toes look horrid at times. Very sloppy and way too casual.

Good post Chris

Anonymous said...

"crotch horticulture" -- hahaha. I love that phrase, Lola. I will have to use it.

I don't have a problem with flip flops year round, but certainly, there is a time and place. I get pedicures bi-weekly, year round, so a handy pair of flip flops is helpful on the way home any time of year. What I do have a problem with is socks with sandals on adults. Now that's tacky.

Erica C. said...

It's like clock work here in S.C.. Eventhough it's cold as hell,the least bit of sun peaking through, you'll see a sea of white girls wearing flip flops and shorts!

Never understood it!

Tchaka said...

Oh enough with the bullshit responses about sandals and flipflops. If you want to wear flips, then do so. There's no MF law prohibiting it. I was raised in West Africa where flips are worn even by chiefs. Fancy, sometimes adorned with gold. Ever seen an Ashanti chief in full gear?

I have many pairs myself - mostly by Banana and I wear them when I please. I'm even wearing a pair right now. I don't meet clients in that manner because a first impression is important but if people are in a casual mode at school, at picnics or lounging around, so be it. Casual is fine.

Imagine where our country would be if we spent the time dressing up on doing productive things. Hmmm...

Gunfighter said...

"When I was a tot, flip-flops were for surfers and the Viet Cong."

Wewll-said, sir!

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