Monday, 21 November 2011

The War on Socks

I’ve never liked socks, all my life I’ve been locked in a constant struggle with survival, a war that can never be won against the sock-kind. Over the years the nature of sock-warfare has evolved and changed as new technologies have been developed and new frontiers have opened up, but at all times I’ve been engaged in a War with Socks. I just don’t like wearing them. I can just about tolerate wearing them at work or out shopping, whilst wearing shoes. But as anyone who’s ever lived me will be able to tell you, as soon as my shoes come off my socks are whipped off faster than the average I’m A Celebrity... contestant whips off their dignity.

I just can’t see the point, you wouldn’t wear gloves indoors, so why socks? Admittedly you’re lumbered with the unpleasant side effect as you travel around the house and your feet pick up all kind of debris that collects on the carpet like dust, pepper seeds, bits of tissue and the odd homeless person. It’s like my feet are like some kind of super kitchen roll dredging the carpet, but surely this is a small price to pay for the freedom of toe-based flexibility (they’re not battery hens after all). If it’s cold I put on a pair of slippers, ok they’re less sexy than a Midsomer Murders DVD Box Set but if comfort, warmth, rights for toes and victory over socks are what you’re after they’re the way forward. Though you will have to get machine washable ones as a few weeks of sockless slipper wearing and they end up smelling like nuclear Armageddon in a Babybel factory.

Socks are intrinsically evil. Not convinced? Well consider is the seam that joins the toe of the sock to the main body. Is it just me or is there something inherently annoying about the fact this seam is in exactly the same point as where toe-nail and toe join? And I find this very uncomfortable, admittedly not in every pair of socks, but if I buy a pack of seven pairs for some reason at least one pair will have a particularly annoying seem making them unwearable. Why does this happen randomly? Are these faulty? Can they be sold in special cheap packs like broken biscuits? Who knows? Either way I don’t want them. And itchy seems are just one of the weapons socks use. As it is you can’t even trust socks, their numbers are constantly changing, you put an even number of socks in the wash, and an odd number come out. What’s happened? Has a sock gone undercover in the T-shirt drawer to spy on your every move and report to sock command? Or have the socks been breeding, increasing their foul numbers to take over the world?

At this point you may be thinking that I’m a child, and I should just shut up and wear socks as things will never get better. Well you’d be wrong. In recent years a great victory in my battle with sock-kind was secured, I finally broke through enemy lines with only the deaths of 25,000 innocent civilians.  This first big break through came in the discovery of coloured-toe socks. You know the kind, that all the big department stores sell in large multi-packs?

Up to now the biggest bane of my domestic chore life (other than the daily trip to the bottle bank to deal with my drinking habit) was the pairing up of plain black and navy socks. Over time the various pairs bought across a number of years had all slightly faded by differing amounts. This turned the task of the correct pairing up of them whilst removing from the clothes dryer’ into a Krypton Factor-esque challenge, but without the excitement of Gordon Burns or an obstacle to course to finish with. Coloured toe socks have changed all this, they can be paired up quicker than E-list celebrities in the Big Brother compound. And when out and about wearing a shoe, (typically two) no one need know about your eccentric behaviour of wearing mad coloured socks with crazy coloured toes, unless you’re wearing sandals that is. This victory alone has saved about half an hour off my weekly chores.

However, while I may have won the battle, I certainly haven’t won the war, for with new socks came new problems. Now I do realise by even opening up this can of worms, I sound older than Peter Stringfellow’s hair cut, but is it me or has the quality of socks got worse? Either that or my feet are slowly turning into talons and I’ve not realised. Rarely a week goes by when I haven’t manage to shred the toe of one of my socks on my barbed, cheese-grater like feet. I’d be happy, it’s the destruction of socks, but sadly I need socks – society forces me into a symbiotic relationship with them.

Thank god I never shed a bed with another human or, judging by the state of my socks, my toes would slice their feet off like a scythe ploughing through wheat. Which on the plus side would mean if I did ever convince someone to get in bed with me, they’d find it hard to run away.

All this has lead to a new frontline with the socks, I need new socks, I’m losing them faster than Adrian Childs is losing jobs. Obviously I could get more socks. But through reasons more tedious than Louis Walsh, I’ve been gifted an unwanted set of socks with the days of the week embroidered on them:

We all know the type, quirky socks with the days of the week printed on them, that want to be quirky and friendly when really they’re evil. On the one hand these sound perfect, they are easy to pair up and no one need know I am wearing anything other than plain black socks. But am I ready to accept that my life has reached the point where it’s tragic enough to have the day printed on your sock? It seems a ridiculous level of organisation, even for my anal standards, to have my socks already designated to a specific day. What does that say about individuality, surely it means the socks are controlling me – they’ve won? I mean I could wear the socks on the wrong day, to spite them, but introducing an additional level of complexity to my already worrisome existence doesn’t seem healthy. Also if I was going to have a calendar based system printed on my footwear, days of the week aren’t that helpful, (except on holiday and at Christmas – where socks have no chance of being worn) I generally know what day of the week it is. The date would be more useful, and let’s face it a pack of 31 socks is likely to fit better with the average lazy person washing schedule that a pack of 7. Though that would mean letting 62 socks in my house, that sounds dangerous.

As it stands, with my social life being about as exciting as a meeting of the Keith Chegwin fan club, I never leave the house at the weekend. Thus if I take up the offer of these free socks the Saturday and Sunday pairs will stay shop fresh whereas Monday to Friday will be ripped apart like the body of a small child fed to a pack of hungry wolves. And what if Wednesday’s socks have the dodgy seam, and are unwearable? What am I supposed to do? Introduce a midweek barefoot office day? I don’t think it will catch on. Oh the dilemmas! Will there ever be simplicity in my life.

As you can see The War on Socks is never won, there are always new battles to be fought. Constant vigilance is required, I’ll see you on the front line.


Anonymous said...

You know what I *hate* about socks? It's when you put a perfectly good pair in the washing machine and, on the rare occasion when they both make their way out again at the end of the wash, they've MYSTERIOUSLY BECOME DIFFERENT SIZES!

Argh! I have a pile of at least 20 differently odd socks here.

...and that thing with the seam. That's just the worst thing. It can spoil an otherwise nice morning with toe-flicking and then all the muscles in one's big toe wear out.

jonabuft said...

I love days of the week thought required in the morning! Sadly I'm down to just Sunday now, the rest have bitten the dust..

Matt said...

@Blur-blur-code-numbber-blur: Oh I haven't come across the problem of socks resizing in the wash, but yes seems are evil! Evil I tell you!!

@jonabuft: That is my fear for the Sunday pair, a set of socks that will never be destroyed!!