There’s nothing like the topic of feet to divide any given room. I’m not clear on why, precisely, they’re so divisive. But I can tell you this from experience: should you ever want to cause a conversational stir, simply bring up the topic of feet, going into detail where possible. Better still, casually remove your shoes and invite your companions to compare arches. Honestly, you’d think feet were the last word in improper dinner table subjects.
Here’s an example. I was catching up with friends on the weekend and the conversation turned to various ailments in our families. I innocently brought up that my mother-in-law was seeking recommendations for podiatry around Melbourne, which seemed perfectly relevant to me, and all hell broke loose. One friend went as far as threatening to leave the call if I didn’t ‘cut it out immediately’, while another gleefully egged on the fray by wagging his own tootsies into the webcam.
Who knew? All I was going to say, anyway, was that my mother-in-law had a couple of ingrown toenails. Treatment near Cheltenham was proving difficult to come by, with her preferred local podiatrist temporarily on leave, so I was simply going to ask if anyone had a clinic they would recommend. It’s not like I was planning to verbally sketch said toenails in graphic detail. I mean, sheesh. You’d think I’d brought up the finer points of bowel function or something. Even then, it’s like… everyone has one. You know what I mean?
So, how did that conversation pan out? Well, the call quickly became too chaotic for me to feasibly defend myself or inquire as to the exact nature of the problem, so I tried changing the subject by asking if anyone was having anything interesting for dinner. Evidently, a couple of foot-sensitive friends read this as me deliberately trying to establish a connection between feet and food, and angrily left the call. The remainders were laughing so much I couldn’t get another sensible word out of them.