Saturday, May 9, 2009

Black Men Don't Wear Flip-Flops

Or do they? I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I've totally lost it to be writing a post about flip flops but bear with me. It's amazing the thoughts that crosses one's mind when you just let the ideas flow! Actually, I was inspired to write this as I was having lunch at a diner. I observed a group of young Asian men and every last one of them had on some variation of this sandal. So I wondered if I could recall one instance where I’ve seen a BM wearing them.

Where’s Chappelle when we need him to "Ask A Black Dude"? I’ve made numerous such observations during my time as a California resident. I don’t recall seeing anyone in New York City wearing them either - except maybe in August at Central Park but I’m not sure. Of course women can wear anything on their feet without getting much scrutiny. I imagine if you lived on one of the Hawaiian islands you could conceivably wear what I like to call "shoes of leisure" a lot. I'm certain our President has worn them and will continue to do so.

Whether it's a matter of style or substance I’ve tended to categorize the primary wearer of flip-flops as college-age white men who happen to frequent frat houses or even your suburban dad working on the garden on weekends. Wearing on the beach, or in a public pool area or the change area at a gym is ok but walking down the street in San Francisco? No way! We’re talking over the age of say 12…okay how about 15? 

Would a man refuse to wear them because of the tough image some seek to present? Is it because it impedes mobility and this is simply an issue about class/race and how they manifest themselves? Could it also be a matter of comfort? You know I keep thinking about that imagined life of “leisure” I think about when I see certain people wearing them. The privilege of being able to walk down the street casually without having to steel yourself to a possible intrusion.'re a stoner. When is a situation surrounding a shoe not really about shoes? 

My biggest pet peeve is that if you’re going to unleash your feet for all the world to see make sure you’ve had a pedicure. Nobody wants to see crusty feet with ingrown toenails! My second one are those that wear flips flops during times of inclement weather. I think someone must be so oblivious to the realities of actual work or the expense of getting sick. Can you have a job if you’re strolling down the street in the middle of a rainy day? You either have great health insurance or somebody else (i.e. a parent) is covering your medical expenses in case you come down with pneumonia form walking around with wet feet knowing you have a dry warm place to go to.

In the article The Danger of Flip Flops, writer Vicki Salemi goes on to say:
They're adorable, fun and the definition of summer, but they're definitely not user-friendly. Flip-flops are fine for frolicking at the beach, picnicing with friends or lounging around the pool. Danger lurks, however, when they're worn all day, every day. Even a stylish pair of flip-flops can lead to a variety of foot infections, injuries and pain, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Wear them at your own risk.
Ooh who knew that footwear could be so gangsta! In fact this article goes on to list how easily one's foot can slip while driving, the potential unsanitary exposure and lack of arch support as reasons to avoid wearing them period.

Check out the Zappos website for a variety of the shoes.
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Unknown said...

I have been wearing flip flops for years now. I will admit that my feet aren't the prettiest thing (my present for being in the Navy and playing capoeira against people with shoes on while I am barefoot) but it feels good to air them out.

Being a capoeirista, i am used to walking down the street with a gang of brothers who wear flip flops.

an FYI, out of the major urban centers, a large amount of brothers of all ages wear flip flops.

but you are right, they are NOT user friendly.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Omi: As we have had these conversations it has appeared time and time again that you are one of the exceptions to many situations. So keep on keeping on!

Unknown said...

the next time me and my thieves from Grupo Unidade Capoeira are out, i will take a pic of our feet, just so that you know..



heck might make a poster out of it for you...

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Brother OMi: Ok I want to see and I WILL post them!! Hahaha!