I love my flip-flops. For years I couldn’t wear them because for whatever reason, I couldn’t find any that didn’t hurt the tender skin between my first and second toes. But now that I’m older, I guess my skin is thicker. Literally. So now I go around in flip-flops quite a bit during the summer. In fact, even when I’m doing chores around the house, particularly working in the kitchen, I like to wear my flip-flops.
When I was younger, I called them “thongs.” That was before the titular underpants became ubiquitous, and now I can’t use that word without thinking of that little lacy string that appears above the waistline of some women’s pants, usually at inappropriate moments. According to Wikipedia, these shoes are also known as jandals, pluggers, go-aheads, slaps, slides,step-ins, and chankla, among others (most of which, incidentally, I’ve never heard).
When I first thought of putting something about this beloved footwear on my blog, my question was going to be, “who invented the flip-flop?” But of course, because they are among the simplest possible garments, along with loincloths and cloaks, they have been around forever, and their invention couldn’t possibly be attributed to a single person, or even a culture.
The CBC radio program Head to Toe recently aired an episode in which the host asked people whether flip-flops are appropriate work attire. Sadly, as a librarian, even a solo cataloguer such as myself, I do not think flip-flops are appropriate footwear for my workplace. I do wear an open-toed sandal when the weather allows, but not my favourite bright blue rubber variety.