There is a shop in the Edinburgh Old Town filled with various bits and bobs: earrings, scarves, souvenirs. But when you walk past the multitude of stands and turn to your left, you are overcome by a wall – about a metre in height and width – of SOCKS.
An odd-sockers dream.
Contrary to the common perception that peeps who wear odd socks are just lazy, odd-socking for me is a creative process affected by my mood. I would even go as far as to say that it takes some reflection. Just as you might wonder what a top or a pair of shoes will go with before you purchase it, I think about my socks. I love combining one ‘plain’ sock with a vibrant patterned one. This way I can also be more sure that they will be noticed too.
Yet, one parent on Mumsnet expressed profound concern for her child, who has been wearing odd socks. She describes her problem as an unfolding saga with “it started” in him wearing two character socks but “it has developed” and he now mixes animals, stripes, different coloured stripes – and the list become more and more hysterical. Well, according to the Daily Mail, it is all gloom and doom as her son is now un-dateable and un-hirable.
But what is it with this prejudice against people who wear odd socks? Most of my friends look at my feet and stare. But don’t say anything. Because that’s rude. So just stare. Those that do comment it’s with a patronising headshake accompanied by a tired “you still wear odd socks, you haven’t grown out of it?”
Admittedly odd socks is a trend usually associated with young children, or men going through a mid-life crisis who just don’t care. Yet I propose that there is a third category, of folk who see it as an expression of creativity. Some schools even had an odds socks initiative to promote diversity. If you’re feeling low you can just look down and TA DA! Dinosaurs and daisies! Big happy face.
There is a common misconception that odd sockers are disorganised: can’t we find two matching socks or are we too lazy? This simply isn’t true, as most people resort to black socks which save them any faff. Hard core odd-sockers (by this I mean people who take odd-socking seriously and don’t just put on whatever) take a moment to think about what left foot and right foot are going to where today. This by definition takes more effort and time than wearing the same socks.
Richard Dawkins supports the odd sockers cause and argues against being a “slavish sock puppet”. At least while you’re a student and you don’t have to wear a suit a tie (though even then…) give odd socks a go. Though there mightn’t be any turning back, as socks begin to mix up of their own accord…