I've got a toe whose medical history includes being stomped on during a merciless game of tug-o-war in grade school, being stomped on again with a stiletto heel near a dinosaur skeleton at a winter formal, and being recently stubbed while taking some steps two at a time in slides (not advised). But because it is a warmish day and ankle-tie sandals were the most flattering option with double-wide culottes, my poor, wounded, painted-over subungual hematoma (do not Google) is out and about.
Until recently, I did not think about how this might cause offense. (It's not like it's spurting blood or pus or anything.) But then I read the horrifically petty comments on a seemingly innocuous photo of Leandra Medine's feet wearing her ace PVC Carrie Bradshaw mules.
People suck! But it's not just trolling under cover of the internet—it comes from within too. Like, how many times have you complimented a girl on her Liudmila platforms (with their own Vegas showgirl headdresses!) only to have her go,"Ugh, don't look at my feet! They're so gross!" And what about in other pics—of FINGERS—in which the poster, with a SINGLE chip on the corner of a digit you can't even SEE—writes "'excuse the nails" in the caption.
Something is very weird.
Most of us could probably agree that, unless your feet look like the crusty, untrimmed "befores" in those videos Instagram keeps wanting me to discover—that if you met the barest minimum of personal care—you'd be fine. There are feet whose nails have grown out until they've spiraled, and there are all other feet. But with runaway foot-shaming and personal essays on how going unpolished is an act of rebellion, apparently not. And this is dumb, especially in a day and age where we're trudging toward body acceptance and expanding our views of beauty. But not of feet, which, I would like to remind you, are barely visible yet the hardest-working 26 bones in your whole body.
In the end, it all comes down to the classic bully psychology of projecting one's self-consciousness onto others. Repeat after me: I do not have Dobby hooves. Nobody's looking anyway. But if they are, it doesn't matter if you're fresh from the salon's squishy chair and milk-and-flower-filled basin or all scuffed up because you're a distance runner. Both are okay. Nothing is okay.