Miracles do happen. On occasion, an old dog can be taught a new trick. I’m living proof. Or, better … my feet are living proof.

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Here’s something very few of you know about me. Startling writer confession, are you ready? Intimate and personal. Here you go–

I was a fifty-one-year old flip-flip virgin. 

It’s true. The first time my feet ever wore flip-flops happened this July, three months after my fifty-first birthday. This summer during our month in the sun, I purposed myself to man-up … or … toe-up. And although it was difficult at first, I’m happy to tell you I’ve learned to love my flip-flops. I’m a convert.

You may think this confession of mine ridiculous. You most certainly think my reluctance is even more ridiculous. Doesn’t EVERYONE wear flip-flops?

Something else you didn’t know about me: I am very protective of my feet. I don’t know how or why this is the case. It just is. What does this look like? I’ll tell you.

  • My feet never go outside unshod. I wear shoes every time I step out of my house. Always have. Never have I gone outside barefoot. A simple task like running out to the driveway to get something out of the car, or stepping out to put something in the mailbox, or even stepping out in the yard to walk the dog … ‘Let me grab my shoes’ is always my first thought.
  • My feet are incredibly sensitive. As you might imagine, my heretofore virgin feet are soft and not calloused. Walking to the car in the driveway would be painful for me barefoot. I’d feel every little pebble or imperfection I stepped on as if I were walking on nails.
  • My feet are most often socked. See the photo above? That’s my feet … right now … as I’m typing this blog post. See? Socks! Why let my feet get dirty or dusty walking on floors? Slip on socks … perfect. Comfy. Cozy. Clean.

Recognizing that this really was an unknown to me–the convenience of wearing flip-flops–I purposed myself to experiment this summer in Florida. I wanted to become a flip-flopper.

Those of you who lost your flip-flop virginity young, be grateful.

I faced three challenges. (1) Getting used to having something between my toes. OUCH! Let me just tell you, those of you who lost your flip-flop virginity young, be grateful. Trying to convince fifty-one year old toes which have always snuggled together in bliss that a big rubber or leather strap needs to poke into their sacred space … daunting. And (2), trying to educate your toes to flex just enough to hold on to the flip-flop as it flips and flops–for fear that if you don’t grip it you’ll flip out of your flops and DANGER! DANGER! … it was stressful, I tell you. ‘Step … grip … step … grip.’ I quite literally had to think about what you thong-wearing veterans do without so much as a thought. Finally (3), learning to keep the flip-flops from falling off your feet when you sit down on a barstool … oh my! This is of particular importance to me, because I sit on a lot of barstools. I am a writer. I’ll confess: I’m still learning this. I need more practice. Hehe. Help me out? Invite this old boy out for a pint. I’ll just grab my flip-flops and be on my way.

Seriously, I’m pretty proud of this milestone in my life. I conquered a fear. O, HELL NO! I won’t be walking out to the mailbox barefoot! But I will slip on my flip-flops and make the trek. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?