Read this Freshly Pressed blog from The Understander, and was mildly disappointed. Not because of the content–it was a well-written and engaging piece. The problem is that not too long before I found it, I read this blog from ramblingsandrumblings following the divorce announcement from Kim Kardashian. One of the best takes on the situation I’ve read–and believe me, I have largely ignored the entire media circus concerning the engagement, wedding, etc. of young Kim. So when I saw the title of The Understander’s piece, it brought the Kardashian Khaos to mind. My sense of dejection at the realization that it was really only about the psychology of slippers cannot be put into words.
Addressing the primary motivators for slipper wearing that The Understander puts forth as I applied them to the Kardashian Khaos (a trip into my thought processes you may or may not want to take—proceed with caution), here’s my take on things:
Temperature control is an important factor here—the slipper, especially the fleece-lined booties or cozy rubber-treaded socks, provide toasty warmth to cold-natured feet. Likewise, the climate of public attention has to be just right for a stunt or event to achieve maximum coverage and saturation. As a result one can look at this whole media circus as a bid for buzz—good or bad, the temperature of the audience is the driving force behind keeping your visibility, or “staying hot.”
Where I live, there are more and more people who feel that the slipper has become footwear for the public eye–an action that would be unheard of with people of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations. Slippers outside of the home would be the height of immodesty. Yet I have seen many a soul wearing classic mule slides and even plush cartoon character inspired booties out in public as if they were actually shoes. I’m sure you could find a whole slew of Homer Simpson clad feet on peopleofwalmart.com.
There was also no expense spared for the sake of high fashion. One particularly well-known brand of shippers is Daniel Green—a staple in any black household as both footwear and childhood disciplinary tool. Anyone could get the $3 fuzzy terrycloth jobs, but THESE were top of the line as far as slippers went and in a wide array of styles, colors and heel heights. Many attempted to fancy them up further by putting taps on the soles, which is where I assume someone got the mistaken notion that this action turned these slippers into outdoor footwear. Anyone seen outside of their homes in a pair of Daniel Green slippers to do more than fetch the mail, newspaper or trash can from the curb was seen as uncouth and tacky (read: ghetto) and were silently clucked at by those watching them ruin their “house shoes.” And of course, they were then verbally chastised for “tracking dirt in the house” and foolishly wearing their slippers out in the dirty unknown in the first place.
So if you think about it, had Kim K. refrained from metaphorically wearing her slippers in public for the sake of fashion, there might be a little less dirt and sludge tracked into her home right now.
The slipper is designed to make the wearer and his feet feel good—from warmth to cleanliness to just feeling stylish—and at such makes the wearer both physically and culturally comfortable. For the participants, the large amounts of attention make them feel more secure about their popularity and social standing. This also works for the watchers as well—more often than not, being in the know and up to date with the latest happenings gives that “catbird’s seat” feeling, and with The Event being one of the more talked about media events of the year, the ability to chat about it with an air of expertise equals a certain smugness that makes people feel at ease.
As stated earlier, one has the responsibility of protecting one’s feet from the elements; likewise, there are some feet in the world that one should be responsible for protecting the elements from them. Those who have chosen the spotlight as a career move feel almost a duty to provide the public with something to look at or talk about that involves them and their antics.
I began to think of those slippers–typically house shoes, content to stay inside to be used conservatively and judiciously, having no need to air its business “out in the street.” Not a very flashy, attention-grabbing shoe at all….but it certainly performs its given tasks with [pride and dignity]. Putting on an air of class to distract from the spectacle of events is a frequent tactic employed by those who use attention (particularly outlandish, over-the-top antics) to propel and keep their names and images in the public consciousness.
Wearing a certain type or brand of slipper for status (or even wearing them for an extended period of time to break a world’s record) is an attention-focused activity; some way to stand out and be recognized as a unique and special individual worthy of notice.
Clearly, all of these over-the-top stunts are way outside the realm of “respectable ways of becoming famous”–focusing more on broadcasting the wedding for profit than the solemnity and sacredness of the ceremony and resulting commitment, and then tossing that commitment away in less than three months.
I realize that I put WAY too much thought into that (and time—I think I started this piece at least a month ago), and in doing so I’m probably providing more fodder for the water cooler. At least writing this has been therapeutic in replacing some of the darker Daniel Green flashbacks of my youth…and possibly provided a chuckle or two…..?