Vail Valley Voices: Slipping from grace |

Vail Valley Voices: Slipping from grace

David Dillon
Vail, CO, Colorado

Flip-flops are just the end of civilization as we once knew it.

It’s true. Scoff or write your hate mail. You won’t change my mind.

They are ugly, annoying, filthy, unhealthy and, frankly, call to mind the most stereotypical Jerry Springer guests as fashion statements.

Flip-flops were designed to be worn at the beach, and they should have stayed there. But they have infiltrated life everywhere.

First, apart from foot fetishists (gross), no one wants to look at a bunch of dirty, nasty feet all day long. No one. Especially on you men. If flip-flops were only worn by the 0.001 percent of people they looked OK on, I might not have a complaint. But like Spandex, they are worn by those who simply should never be seen in them in public.

Second, while one would never think of consistently exposing other parts of their body to the dirt, bacteria and germs on the ground, people think nothing of their bare feet hovering a quarter of an inch above and mingling with those exact disgusting things. That boggles my mind.

What results is visually foul and a sanitary nightmare. I don’t care how clean you were when you left your house. In flip flops, your feet get filthy … and fast. This is the mountains … there is dirt everywhere. Every time I see someone shopping in a grocery store or dining in a restaurant while wearing them, I want to hork. Really. It is revolting.

Third, they are not good for you. Now, I am no podiatrist and will stand corrected if proven wrong by competent medical authorities, but from all I have ever heard, they can cause medical problems and they offer no support or protection against injury should you step on or have something sharp fall on you.

Fourth, as their name implies (a perfect example of onomatopoeia, by the way), they make an irritating sound audible to everyone within earshot, which is an annoyance to others their wearers seemingly couldn’t care less about.

Fifth, they are inappropriate dress for 98 percent of the situations in which they are worn. While I witnessed a minor growing proliferation of the god-awful things when living in the big city, I’ve seen scores of people here wearing them in finer restaurants, at the theater, in offices, in church and even at funerals and memorial services, which I never saw anywhere before. Does no one have respect for anything anymore? It seems obvious to me that if you wouldn’t show up somewhere in your bare feet, you shouldn’t show up in flip-flops. No brainer.

So people who wear them endlessly every day and everywhere should be shot. Not fatally … that would be an overreaction … but just enough to smack some sense into them.

OK … so I am prone to hyperbole. Shoot me, too.

People like them because they are “comfortable,” “cool” and “easy” to put on.

So laziness trumps etiquette, common sense, looks, sanitation, health and appropriate, respectful behavior? Wow. That’s really kind of sad.

I remember fondly a more civilized time when people dressed for work, dressed up to go out to dinner or a show and certainly got all dressed up for church, temple, weddings and funerals. I loved that. There was an elegance about how people looked. And I don’t mean formal. People just looked nice and clean, and that in and of itself was elegant in its own simple way.

We cared about etiquette and took pride in our appearance and our dress showed respect for ourselves, for others, for the workplace, for our customers, for religion and for life’s occasions. Men wore suits, women always dressed nicely, and kids would never be allowed in school wearing what they get away with today. It took a little more effort, sure, but I think it was worth it.

And while I do not suggest that we have to return to all of those customs all of the time, I cannot believe that simply wearing shoes and covering your dirty feet is too much to ask.

David Dillon is an Eagle resident.

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