All this swanning about in New York does make one fantasise. Yet I find that a pied-à-terre in New York is presently out of my reach, so to keep my feet on the floor I’m thinking about earthly mundanities, namely socks. I apologise for titillating with my titular allusions, but I am of the opinion that the male ankle is sorely overlooked these days. The well-turned ankles of women used to make men swoon, and were to be kept concealed lest the stoic reserve of the robust sex be disquieted in public. The male ankle was once thought a critical indicator of a man’s character. Properly considered, a fine figure of a man with the exception of portly ankles was not a fine figure of a man at all. We can rarely discern this crucial sign of moral rectitude today, as ankles remain covered by the superfluous folds of ill-fitting trousers, and are further concealed by the saggy whatever-I-put-my-hands-on-first-in-the-dark garments that go under the misnomer of ‘socks’.
Men rarely buy their own socks. I cannot think why. They are perhaps deemed unimportant, but necessary, and therefore something to be put up with, like paying the gas bill. Men rely on Christmas and birthdays for their annual quota of socks to arrive courtesy of the ill-taste of well-meaning mothers, wives and children. This being the case, an opportunity to portray one’s individuality is missed, in favour of the slouched anonymity of dark-coloured conformity. Worse still, these nylon nasties are typically ill-fitting. Heels protrude rudely from the backs of shoes, and bare skin can often be seen peeping from between the sock and trouser hem of a seated male. If you are going to flash your pins at people, why bother to get dressed at all? Worst of all, the sports sock with shoes is still seen in abundance (as terrible a crime as the sports shoe with trousers, which is lamentably even more common). It’s time men took their ankles in hand!
Review: Sander Gilman, Illness & Image (2014) in Visual Studies - So happy that my review of Sander Gilman’s new book Illness & Image. Case Studies in the Medical Humanities is now available in Visual Studies! http://www....
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