25 October 2011

Sox and the single man

A survey, solemnly produced by a company called Blacksock, has announced that French and Swiss men have the smelliest feet, and that British and German feet smell sweeter.


A survey, solemnly produced by a company called Blacksock, has announced that French and Swiss men are likely to have the smelliest feet, and that British and German feet probably smell sweeter.

It's not immediately clear what we should do about this, especially if we're not devoted to sniffing feet. As, admittedly, some fetishists are. Apparently only 66% of Frenchmen changed their socks daily, and only 7 out of 10 Swiss, compared with 78 % of Brits and Germans. The differences, of course, are not particularly large (unlike some of the feet). But without creating the sense of international competitiveness, their publicity gimmick would raise less news interest.

'Pre-marital Sox'

Overall, it says 77% of men and women changed their socks daily. Personally, I hardly know any women who wear socks, whether or not they swap them frequently. It conjures up memories, though, of the sort of large and jolly social Workers one used to encounter, with a fondness for awkward clothing, and indeed socks and sandals. Maybe they meant stockings? 

Anyhow, 11% change socks every 2 days, 4% every 3 days, and 1% once a week. But that only adds up to 93%. What, I ask, do the other 7% do? Wear their socks until they fall apart, or need to be carved off by a chiropodist ? Or do that many go barefoot? Enquiring minds really need to know this.

Actually, as a budding entrepreneur, when I was at University, I proposed the launch of some snazzy socks to be promoted as "Pre-Marital Sox". But never got the funding to launch the project, sadly.

Then they looked at how many socks men actually owned. We're all familiar with the tales of women's fetish for buying innumerable pairs of shoes, but socks have really not received due attention. Apparently German men own an average of 24 pairs, Austrians 23, and Swiss 22 (and yet they rarely change them - what on earth do they do with all those unused socks? Perhaps they keep them in secret sox accounts in a Swiss Bank?) The French were reported to have an average of 17 pairs.

I resolved to go straight home and do an inventory of my sock drawer.

Sockscription service

Checking online at, I found a Youtube video and the slogan: " sends you socks every couple of months so that you never need to go sock shopping!" There's a relief! You might have thought that we men had greater burdens in life, but these guys have guessed right. It's the dreaded sock-shopping that really gets us down. Now apparently these kind folks volunteer to send us a pack of fresh socks at frequent intervals. Why not daily, so we need only open the envelope that arrives in the morning post, and pop on a fresh pair. But here it is, a genuine sockscription service.

Though apparently the company is an ultimate niche, and sold only - guess - black socks. But now I gather that they also, daringly, offer navy and grey. So those of us who prefer a variety of colours and patterns are out of luck. It's $10 a pair, which at around R 80 is rather pricey, even if they do come from Zurich. Or $89 for an annual sockscription. There are "calf socks" and "Knee socks" (presumably long enough to reach your knee, rather than swaddling only the knee itself); cashmere silk socks for the truly hoity toity, wool socks, and sneaker socks. Are the latter those that kinda sneak up on you while you're getting dressed? I'd find that rather unsettling. Even just the idea of a furry pair lurking under the dresser, waiting to pounce.

Sadly, they don't seem to deal with that other great mystery of world science, namely where the missing socks go. You have surely noticed that whenever a bunch of socks are put into a washing machine, in pairs, they always come out with an odd number. At least one has disappeared, and somewhere in the cosmos is the Land of Missing Socks, forlornly waiting to be re-united with their mates.

Oh, while wandering the web, I discovered a highly relevant Boy Scout Song, which goes as follows: 

"Black socks they never get dirty
the longer you wear them the blacker they get.
Someday I think I shall launder them.
Something keeps telling me don't do it yet.
Not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet. "

I must discover the tune to this classic.

Check out the Blacksocks video :

(Professor M.A. Simpson, aka CyberShrink, October 2011)

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